This study reports the development of parent partnerships in primary schools from the perspective of principals, school administrators, teachers and parents. Data relating to the formation of partnerships in schools were gathered using focus group interviews in two schools that perceived a successful partnership had been forged. Information relating to beliefs, practices and challenges provided the data source from which a model for developing collaborative partnerships in schools emerged. Each school faced particular contextual challenges and results showed distinct, common stages of development for building partnerships. Leadership by the principal was crucial and sharing a vision and beliefs about partnerships with staff and parents fundamental. Each school developed a vision, devised a school plan for the future, used enabling structures and protocols and built relationships through collaborative actions. In the long-term, communities developed a shared vision based on common beliefs and values and a collaborative partnership evolved.