This case study offers an understanding of how school–university partnerships can support the development of collaborative inquiry approaches to improve student engagement. The case explores how teachers worked in collaboration with university researchers to develop and trial strategies for engaging students as active participants in their own learning. The school faced a range of challenges with students described as being disengaged, disinterested in learning, and not willing to push themselves. University researchers adopted the role of critical friends and “outsiders,” who were able to gain access to students’ perceptions of their schools and themselves as learners through focus groups. Data drawn from these focus groups provided a “critical incident” that challenged the ways that staff perceived the students and their practices in the school. This case focuses on how one teacher responded to this critical incident using collaborative inquiry to examine a new pedagogical approach. We highlight how students contributed to this research and became active participants as learners and teachers.