The search for the effective school is like the hunt for the unicorn, a quest for a mythical entity. While few of those who have been involved in the research have believed there existed such a paragon, the term ‘the effective school’ has nonetheless often been used in the singular, and the notion of ‘best’ practice often seems to subsume that virtuous state. The inherent problem of the idealised school and the best practice model is expressed by Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars in this way: ‘The attempt to avoid conflict, dilemma and ambiguity by putting one’s faith in the bottom line, the unicorn’s pure and mythic extremity.’1