This paper presents an account of the impact of the politics of education on research involving SIPs in a network in Geelong Victoria in multiple ways. The key argument of this account is that school improvement and research on the effects of school improvement is multiply dependent on the politics of education and policy making in education. But this paper also raises the question about the social contract that researchers fulfill when undertaking school improvement research. While some of this account is a background context within which the research is located, specific changes impacted on methodological decisions within the project, on aspects of the research design itself and finally to major changes within the network. This account of the impact of politics and policy changes deals specifically with changes in the approach of government in the state of Victoria, and the subsequent relocation of support from networks during the course of the research. The subsequent policy changes impacted in multiple ways on the research process and design on the direction and focus of the project. We consider as part of this account the importance of political practices on school improvement research. In the course of this paper, questions will be considered around the role of leadership in negotiating and mediating educational change, Federalism, the formation of National Accreditation bodies, NAPLAN, MySchool and data driven reform and the media and education. This paper presents an account of the complexity of research in times of political change, and overlapping pressures and tensions on research involving SIPs.
School Improvement; Politics of Education; Social contract of research