Compared with many organisations, schools are unusual in the lack of flexibility they have in creating teams. Many commercial organisations are designed around teams that are created for specific purposes and then disbanded. In such teams there is a very high correlation between the purpose of the team and its membership, that is, the team is designed and is ‘fit for purpose’. Very often in schools the membership of teams is determined by the longevity, status and experience of its members rather than their aptitude and ability.
There are obviously very powerful examples of alternative deployment of teams with flexible membership and a short-term specific focus. In their study of approaches to high performance across a range of organisation types, Hargreaves and Harris identify teams as an important contributor to ‘performing beyond expectations’: