This is not a simple case study becuase it is not about a simple case. The situation explored by this work is that of a distinct form of partnership between a university and an LEA. It involves a pioneering form of post-experience degree programme embedded within the advisory service of an LEA. Success has been significant and has been achieved it is suggested, because the enterprise fostered a hybrid community created out of the many and various communities that are encompassed by the term ''educational practitioners''. Advisory and university staffs have co-operated extensively to attain parity of operation for a degree programme for experienced practitioners in educational contexts that is not occupationally constrained or otherwise segregated by role. The text has innovative aspects, sections and interludes, analogy and metaphor which contribute to the development of a theory of practice for effective professional development. As such it emphasises the neglected function of ''empathic knowledge'', a conception that is illustrated by the extensive qualitative material of the thesis.