This paper describes the nature of the joint initiatives taking place between primary and secondary schools in Scotland and community education providers in local authorities and the voluntary sector, as reported on by the schools themselves. It details the characteristics of the relatively few schools which had strong links with their communities in terms of provision, collaboration and participation in decision making. Ten case-study schools and a detailed comparison of practice are used to illustrate the variety of approaches to collaboration found among them. Differences are explained not only in terms of the actors’ perceptions of the purposes of the collaboration, the values inherent in such perceptions, the conditions under which collaboration took place and the practices in operation but also in more analytic terms of institutional boundaries and pedagogic purpose. It is suggested that this analysis will help plot various models of collaborative practice and provide a useful way of interrogating the multifaceted strands of social inclusion policy.