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This paper describes the organisational development of virtual learning in networked rural schools in New Zealand, specifically the obstacles that e-learning clusters of rural schools face in their journey to sustainability and maturity through the lens of the Ministry’s Learning Communities Online Handbook. Analysis of a nationwide purposeful sample identified three common barriers: a lack of a coherent vision; difficulty in sustaining necessary funding and resources; and of the need for more collaboration within and between clusters. Based on these findings, it is recommended that VLN e-learning clusters develop specific strategies to encourage greater collaboration between schools and work towards greater consistency between their activities, including professional and organisational development and also of the approaches to virtual learning.