All in this together? The reconstitution of policy discourses on teacher collaboration as governance in post-crisis Europe

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.