Yorkshire schools need to copy “the London Challenge”

The Yorkshire Post is reporting calls for Yorkshire to try to repeat the success of the City Challenge programme in London to transform the region’s exam results.

…In London’s City Challenge education experts were given the job of supporting struggling schools with major cash backing from the Government. 

It also encouraged collaboration between schools to help deliver improvements.

Now Professor Alan Smithers has become the latest to call for Yorkshire to do something on a similar scale to improve its school results.

Yorkshire councils have already launched a pilot school improvement programme – the Pathfinder Initiative – which involves around 50 schools but there are questions over how anything larger could be funded.

At its peak The City Challenge received £40m funding a year – with funding ‘in-kind’ packages of support for underperforming schools, jointly brokered by an expert adviser and officials in the Department for Education.The latest GCSE results show that despite improving Yorkshire still had the highest number of exams graded below a C of any region in England. There were 65.3 per cent of exams graded at A* to C.

Although this meant Yorkshire was the second most improved area in the country it also meant the region’s schools were collectively still the worst performers nationally…

Prof Smithers from Buckingham University’s Centre for Centre for Education and Employment Research said: “I think what Yorkshire needs is a concerted effort like the London Challenge which has made a real difference…”

More at: Yorkshire schools need to copy “the London Challenge”


Lots of regions are being called upon to follow the model of the London Challenge, but how viable is it, especially if what that really means is having the extra funding that was on offer?


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  1. andylutwyche

    “Tricia247uk: SchoolsImprove We could all ‘copy the London Challenge’ if we had that level of funding” Yup; funding never mentioned by MPs

  2. neilmcdonald7

    The degree of funding in London is significantly more than in Yorkshire, especially in the East Ridings and North Yorkshire. The issue is also one of geography; collaboration over such a wide area is more challenging. The idea is a good one but it needs a great deal more than desire to be effective otherwise, it will only work for the cities such as Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield.

  3. SGorard

    SchoolsImprove You mean get lots more funding than poorer areas of the UK? Or be misled about the scale of relative improvement over time?

  4. paulsnorman

    andylutwyche Tricia247uk SchoolsImprove bear in mind even without it many London schools much better funded, well beyond weighting need.

  5. andylutwyche

    paulsnorman Tricia247uk SchoolsImprove Strange that. Cost of living in West Sussex similar to London, half the funding roughly

  6. 3Jessem

    SchoolsImprove funding to improve provision & collaboration between local schools to raise standards should be the everywhere model!

  7. JulieElliot2

    Ian_C_Thomas SchoolsImprove my eldest son has just been asked to oversee new education strategy in Hackney #proudmum

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