Anchoring schools in regions: guiding a sustainable relation between school and region

This project studies managerial repertoires that support schools on their way to become regional knowledge centres. Schools for secondary vocational education try to be more relevant to and embedded in society, especially into their close regional environment. In their attempts to become regional knowledge centres, schools face several strategic and operational issues. School management often lacks insights in effective management tools to establish long-term sustained relations with regional professional partners outside the school.

At four selected schools for secondary vocational education in the Netherlands (four cases), several activities aiming at strengthening relationships between schools and regional partners are carried out in a so-called ‘social lab’ setting. The idea behind this social lab is that all partners involved in a certain activity (i.e. school managers, teachers, teacher-researchers, and regional stakeholders) collaboratively set goals for the activity and investigate the effectiveness of the activity in terms of an improved relationship between school and regional partners. Academic researchers accompany the four social lab processes, and take care of a cross-case analysis of the findings.