This paper provides an analysis of the New Community Schools (NCS) initiative as developed in Scotland. As our analysis makes clear the evidential base of this development was, at the outset, extremely slender. From that base, however, NCS has migrated to diverse localities within which it has had significant impact while itself being impacted upon by local conditions and contexts. We are particularly interested in the democratic potential of this process of migration: the extent to which, and ways in which, localities can speak back to the centralising sources of power through the mediation of policy. Our analysis focuses on NCS from inception, through formal announcement by the then Scottish Office, to the first year of implementation within a particular local authority in central Scotland. The paper is organised around what we see as three major shifts in the migration of NCS during this early period of its development. We argue that evidence of how, why, and to what effect policy ‘travels’ is crucial not only for the purposes of academic analysis, but also to the effective implementation of policy at the local level. Our central concern is with the self-reflexive development of policy through the formative analysis of evidence relating to its mediation.