The Journal of Professional Capital and Community is an international, professionally refereed, scholarly journal, reflecting the most important ideas and evidence of the nature and impact of interactions and relationships in the education profession, especially in the school sector. As described on the journal’s website, its launch comes at a time when, on a global scale, the quality of teaching and leadership in the education profession has never been more prominent as a policy priority.
In his introduction to the inaugural issue, Editor-in-Chief Andy Hargreaves argues that “at present, and for the foreseeable future, the most significant in-school factor affecting the quality of students’ learning and achievement will continue to be the quality of teachers.” Hargreaves continues:
The impact of professional effectiveness is not only individual but also collective. Teachers make a difference or not to students’ learning, achievement and development by the impact they exert from working together, not just by the impact each may have on their own. This is the power of social capital in addition to human capital. Social capital encompasses the significant impact teachers have on their students through the accumulated effects of their professional practice. Social capital includes, among other activities, collaborative working; shared decision-making; joint teaching; collective responsibility for all students’ success across grades, schools and classrooms; mutual trust and assistance; distributed leadership; data teams; professional learning communities; professional networks and federations; and many kinds of collaborative inquiry. Some researchers have compellingly argued that social capital has an even greater effect than human capital on teacher quality (Leana, 2011). Others point to how only some kinds of collaboration and social capital have positive implications for students’ results (Chapman and Muijs, 2014). Until now, in this journal, there has been no one place where these issues of professional collaboration and their implications for pedagogy, policy and leadership can be concentrated in one intellectual space. The paper in this issue by Priestley and Drew emphasizes the way that collaborative enquiry among teachers has and has not contributed to the implementation of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Rincón-Gallardo and Fullan ’s paper in this volume draws on the authors’ international research and policy development to examine how social capital operates across schools as well as within them, through professional networks for improvement and innovation.