This article applies the theoretical lens of Bourdieu to explore leadership and the distribution of power between teachers and early childhood practitioners in the private voluntary and independent (PVI) sector in a good practice partnership. It questions the effectiveness of such partnerships in bringing about sustained improvements to practice in this sector. Data were collected in three focus groups with practitioners from 10 settings that were recruited by a consortium of schools to the partnership to take part in a 10-week intervention. The findings showed that the power imbalance between teachers and early childhood practitioners cancelled out collaborative pedagogical models of leadership intended to underpin the good practice partnership. Furthermore, this power imbalance contributed to the lack of sustainability of the intervention. In conclusion, leadership practices need to be more closely aligned between early childhood practitioners and teachers by drawing on ideas of moral leadership elicited from a symbolic frame. The article has relevance for leaders operating in collaborative contexts where existing power imbalances are evident.