Government policy stresses partnership as a critical organizational form of the future to support the development of schooling. This article uses intergroup conflict and gaming theory to analyse data from one partnership. The views of young people and staff are explored to establish the nature and extent of conflict and its impact on the partnership. Gaming theory is used to investigate the engagement and expectations of organizations in the partnership. The article challenges Government rhetoric that suggests that as experience and trust grow, partnership will overcome the barriers which exist as a legacy from previous more competitive and isolationist cultures, to the benefit of service users. It further suggests that the availability of adequate resources alone, if ever achieved, would not in itself create the conditions for successful partnership. Far more attention is required to be given to the complex range of conditions which might support partnership and increase the possibility that the interests of learners would not be subordinated to those of organizations
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