With the rise of network governance, and its concomitant fragmentation of public education systems across Europe, international studies have recommended teacher collaboration as a means to bring educational stakeholders together. Yet, despite some agreement over the potential benefits to student, professional and organisational learning, there is limited comparative research into the policy response of national governments to this recommendation and the discourses in which any initiatives might be embedded. Such inquiry is important during a time of decreased public investment in education when policymakers might seek to encourage ‘alternative’ forms of collaboration. Employing Fairclough’s three-dimensional framework to Critical Discourse Analysis, this article compares dominant policy discourses on collaboration in England, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. Our findings reveal restricted discourses on teacher collaboration in these national contexts. Rather, in line with a global modernisation agenda for education, organisational collaboration and private actor engagement support the shift towards network governance while developing new forms of hierarchical and market control. Future research might therefore consider the impact of these reforms on teachers’ individual and collective practices at the school level and on public education more generally.