The Network of Excellence

"In the current educational climate, the need for schools to work together has never been greater." Sarah Boyse, Head of Teaching School, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

Challenge Partners is a national partnership of schools committed to reducing educational inequality and improving the life chances of all children. Through collaboration, challenge and professional development, we are working to ensure every school can benefit from the combined wisdom of the education system. Pupils in our partner schools achieve more and progress faster than the national average. Of the Challenge Partner schools inspected in 2017/18, 48% improved their Ofsted grade, compared to only 34% nationally. 

Join our Network of Excellence

By building a trusted practitioner-led network, we identify the knowledge and skills of the best, and facilitate collaboration with others, to reduce variability in provision. We link outstanding schools with external knowledge, to drive up the performance of all schools, leaders, teachers and pupils. And we harness our collective voice to influence national policy and practice. 

This growing network includes more than 475 primary, secondary and special schools and alternative provision settings nationwide. Challenge Partners schools can access information, share good practice and expertise. 

Schools are organised into local hubs, working together to secure improvements and personal development on shared priorities. They link with hubs around the country, and play a crucial role in facilitating collaboration and knowledge-sharing between schools. 

What we offer

Challenge Partners schools benefit from:

  • annual peer review and knowledge exchange
  • training in key leadership skills and competencies
  • sharing innovative practice online and at local and national events
  • working with business and other charities to learn from other sectors
  • bespoke programmes to reduce gaps in educational achievement and to extend excellence

Quality Assurance Review

We have developed a powerful tool for peer review and collaboration. The Quality Assurance Review is an opportunity for schools to work together through an open, challenging process which supports learning and reflection. These rigorous annual reviews take place over three days, and are led by an Ofsted-experienced Lead Reviewer, supported by senior leaders and headteachers from other schools in the network. This means they provide great professional development for reviewers, as well as sharp evaluation for the host school. Post review we put you in touch with relevant outstanding people and practice in the partnership and beyond to help accelerate your school’s improvement. Find out more here.

Evidence-informed collaboration

Further strategic support is available to enhance the effectiveness of your teaching school alliance, local partnership or multi-academy trust, including Leadership Development Days and our collaborative, high-impact pupil premium programme developed by outstanding schools. 

Be part of a national community

We also help you identify and link-up with best practice nationally through:

  • Our online directory of expertise in schools like yours
  • Free and subsidised places at national events to engage with other colleagues, research and high-profile speakers
  • Discounts from partner organisations including ImpactEd

“Challenge Partners schools continue to outperform others nationally, underlining the benefits of our outward-looking, partnership approach”
Dr Kate Chhatwal CEO, Challenge Partners 

What does membership cost?

Joining the Challenge Partners Network of Excellence costs £7.20 per pupil on roll at your school. The minimum fee is £2,978 and the maximum is £9,800. We offer a discount for small schools and for groups of schools paying substantially more. A proportion of your membership fee is returned to the local hub to be used on collective priorities identified by you and your colleagues.

When and how can you join?

Membership of the Network of Excellence runs from April to March but you can register your interest at any point throughout the year.  If you already know of a local hub operating near you, you are welcome to speak to us or directly with the Senior Partner or Hub Manager. If you are not aware of a hub in your area, get in touch with us and we will be glad to discuss membership further.

If you are interested in starting your own Challenge Partners hub, we would be delighted to set out the responsibilities, benefits and other considerations. To find out more about joining an existing local hub in your area or about starting your own, please do get in touch with us at info@challengepartners.org

For more information

Watch this short film about Challenge Partners 

Download a short guide to Network of Excellence benefits

 

“Our philosophy of collaboration, accountability, openness and trust guides everything we do.”
Dame Sue John, Executive Director, Challenge Partners

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