Unprecedented GCSE results for Challenge Partners secondary schools
Many secondary schools which are part of the national collaborative network, Challenge Partners, are celebrating their best ever GCSE results this year. Prof Sir George Berwick, CEO says: “We are delighted to see that the overall distribution of Challenge Partners secondary schools is significantly better than the national average, with 50% occupying a position in the top third of schools nationally”.
Challenge Partners’ Chair of Trustees and CEO of United Learning, Jon Coles, said: "any multi-academy chain would be proud to have a set of results like these schools, which have chosen to be members of Challenge Partners".
The profile of these top-performing schools reflects the diverse and truly national nature of the Challenge Partners members, which span the country from regions in the North West and as far south as Cornwall. What binds them is that they have been members of this 400-school strong collaborative network for a number of years, managing to retain an unwavering focus on progress and outcomes for their students despite challenges such as a change of leadership, an additional focus on developing a multi-academy trust, or running a successful Teaching School Alliance.
It is notable that many of the schools in the top echelons have taken major roles within the Challenge Partners leadership team, helping to hold this practitioner-led charity to its mission to enable collaboration between schools to enhance the life chances of all children, especially the most disadvantaged.
Challenge Partners provides networks and programmes that facilitate sustainable collaboration and challenge between schools in order to underpin improvements in outcomes which would not be possible for a school, or group of schools, to achieve as effectively on its own. The programmes include both continual school improvement and high impact change programmes, the largest of which are the Network of Excellence and Challenge the Gap.
Ann Marie Mulkerins, Headteacher at The Compton School which runs a local area hub for the Network of Excellence is also Chair of the Challenge the Gap programme. Ann Marie says "Challenge the Gap has made a major contribution to the success of our Pupil Premium outcomes".
Membership of Challenge Partners is built on clear principles of trust and collaboration and schools actively share their practice with others across the national network, supporting and challenging each other to continuously improve. Gary Phillips, Headteacher at Lilian Baylis Technology School coaches other leaders in the Getting Ahead London programme aimed at creating a strong pipeline of future leaders. Peter Hoare is the headteacher at Heathfield Community School, which is one of a growing number opening up their doors to pairs of senior leaders from schools across the country for one of Challenge Partners’ pioneering Leadership Development Days.
Challenge Partners has built collaborative partnerships across education and beyond. Its schools are able to access and contribute to work with a wide range of others organisations including: the Education Endowment Foundation, Institute of Education, Olevi International, London Leadership Strategy, Researchers in Schools, and The Brilliant Club.
Challenge Partners aims to continue to build on their successes to date. With new investment from the Social Business Trust, a charity that supports effective social enterprises scale-up their impact, through their partner organisations: Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, Permira and Thomson Reuters, and strong loyalty from member schools across the country, Challenge Partners hopes to continue to go from strength to strength.