Excellence for Everyone: programme changes and educational disadvantage report

3 November 2022

Supporting our partner schools and school leaders as you strive to tackle educational disadvantage is at the heart of Challenge Partners’ mission. In the current economic climate, and in the wake of two years of pandemic disruption, this is more important than ever.

As you’re all too aware, the education landscape has gone through rapid changes and, to ensure Challenge Partners keeps pace with it, we’ve made the tough decision to close our Excellence for Everyone (EfE) programme. 

Rest assured, our core aim – to maximise the life chances of all pupils and accelerate the progress of the disadvantaged – hasn’t changed. Helping schools challenge the link between poverty and poor outcomes is firmly embedded in our Quality Assurance Reviews and knowledge exchange activity. 

We’ll continue to showcase expert speakers on the subject of closing the gap, and schools from last year’s EfE programme will be invited to share their learnings at Sharing Leading Practice events.

We’re delighted to share with you our latest publication, Key Lessons for Tackling Educational Disadvantage. ImpactEd’s independent evaluation of the Excellence for Everyone programme captures specific school initiatives to close the gap. Although we’ve made the tough decision to close the programme, we will continue to help schools challenge the link between poverty and poor outcomes through our Quality Assurance Reviews and cascade excellent practice through our Sharing Leading Practice webinars and continue to showcase expert speakers on the subject of closing the gap.

We hope the key lessons and practitioner prompts throughout this report will be useful to schools across the Challenge Partners’ network in the face of similar challenges. Thank you to all schools that took part in the evaluation, which provides rich case studies as well as key learnings and initiatives to tackle the disadvantage gap. 

For example:

  • Using a broadened definition of ‘disadvantage’ so that pupils’ development and barriers to learning are considered in a more bespoke way
  • Ensuring that the focus and scale of a programme is manageable for delivery, scaling up over time rather than being too ambitious at the outset
  • Involving multiple staff members across different roles in the programme delivery, ensuring they’re committed to its aims
  • Setting up the initiative for the next academic year in the summer term prior to starting delivery
  • Ensuring there is an effective system in place for evaluation, with clearly targeted outcomes and mechanisms to measure change

Please contact Laura Lewis-Williams, Executive Director (Acting), with any queries about the programme change and/or the report.