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Challenge Partners

Company size Size: 21 - 50
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About us

Who we are

Challenge Partners is an education charity, led by practitioners, through which schools collaborate to improve each other and the education system as a whole, so all children benefit. Our programmes are grounded in evidence of what works, regular quality assurance, and sharing the collective wisdom in our schools. 

Our mission is to reduce educational inequality and improve the life chances of all children. Through collaboration, challenge and leadership development, we are working to ensure every school community can benefit from the combined wisdom of the education system. 

To work towards our mission, we have collectively adopted these three core aims that guide what we do:

  • Maximise the life chances of all pupils and accelerate the progress of the disadvantaged 

  • Support leaders at all levels to develop and grow capacity for sustained improvement in schools and trusts

  • ​Extend excellence, shaping a world-class system in which all pupils thrive


Our philosophy and strategy is informed by the following principles:


  1. Practitioner led and engaged: School practitioners started Challenge Partners and should be actively leading the system, making decisions, with a strong voice in national policy that drive pupil outcomes.

  2. Improving and sharing practice through collaboration: We facilitate best practice sharing through collaboration to reduce the variability and drive the best to grow new practice. Drawing upon effective practice, emerging innovation and productive academic research, to share and create knowledge to improve the quality of teaching and sustainable leadership. We invite and provide each other with both challenge and support to provide the best for our pupils.

  3. A national network of local partnerships: We develop collaborative communities at school, local, national, and international levels around Teaching School Alliances, Multi-Academy Trusts and other existing partnerships, and so create a model and voice for national reform.

  4. Accessing the best from beyond education: We look beyond the education sector and access business and other sectors for effective practice, advice and finance.

  5. Creating sustainable solutions: We seek sustainable school improvement and trust that if schools value it enough they will pay for it, and that by pooling resources, schools get more out than they put in.


Challenge Partners was built on the London Challenge success

Challenge Partners follows a rich history of school improvement and collaboration, not least in the work of the London Challenge programmes.

The success of these approaches was brought about by developing models of school-to-school support which broke great practice out of schools and shared the knowledge and practice between schools and local authorities. A pioneering example of a collaborative approach to school improvement.

When the London Challenge ended in 2011, many of the school leaders who played a role in that work committed to developing a self-funding and sustainable way to continue and develop this approach nationally - Challenge Partners was born.

"The most plausible explanation for the greater improvement in Challenge areas is that the London Challenge programme was responsible". Evaluation of the London
Challenge programme, DfE, 2012



All schools and trusts within our partnership join our National Network of Excellence.

Schools within our partnership can join one or more of our networks:

  • A local hub of collaboration 
  • A regional Jubilee Network of headteachers

Schools can also join one or more of our programmes:

  • Quality Assurance Review
  • Extending Leading Practice
  • Growing the Top

School trust leaders can sign up their schools to any of the above networks and programmes, as well as join our trust programmes:

  • Trust Leaders’ Network
  • Trust Peer Review



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Challenge Partners £46,022-£53,139 per year London, Greater London (Hybrid)
Closing 03 June 2024