Mel Ainscow explains the Schools Challenge concept in his keynote speech for the IWA Annual Education Conference.

May 2nd, 2014

The Welsh Government have identified 40 secondary schools set to take part in the new Schools Challenge Cymru initiative. Modelled on successful initiatives in London and Manchester the scheme aims to drive up school standards in under performing schools, the £20 Million fund is being dedicated to breaking the link between poverty and low attainment. From September the schools will be supported by advisers and paired with high-performing schools.

The major initiative is being overseen by Professor Mel Ainscow – who was UK Government’s Chief Advisor to the Greater Manchester Challenge. Prof Ainscow gave the keynote address at the recent IWA Annual Education Conference. Speaking about the Schools Challenge concept, he told the conference:

“We’re confident that Schools Challenge Cymru can make a difference, building on the experience of London and Manchester. The sharing of knowledge and excellence between schools has been seen to make a difference. Schools must be part of the engine of change. Education is getting more money and a statement of intent. We’re in this for the long term. But we have to have an assessment of what works. The London and Greater Manchester Schools Challenge projects were able to show they were making a difference. I’d like us to be in that position by 2016.”

You can watch the keynote speech below:

If you’d like any more information on this year’s Annual Education Conference then you can buy the event report online, or if you’re a member of the IWA you can access the report for free.

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2 Responses to:“40 Secondary Schools announced for Schools Challenge Cymru”

  1. mike hedges says:

    London schools have shown remarkable improvement during the last decade. The improvement identified from both OFSTED grades and DFE performance covers both academies and maintained schools. So those who say that this has been driven by the development of academies need to look at the facts. Credit for this has been given by the education expert Fiona Millar to the London Challenge project introduced by the Labour Government in 2003.
    This programme saw central government input via the London Challenge advisers working to the London schools commissioner. Accurate data was made available which was then shared with school leaders who formed effective partnerships across council boundaries fostering collaboration, sharing good practice and the most importantly the stronger helped the weaker.
    OFSTED highlighted the following
    • Clear sense of moral purpose among teachers and school leaders
    • Their commitment to all London children not only those in their school
    • Their sense of pride in being part of a city wide education service
    • Their appreciation of effective professional development
    • The use of data and well supported interventions for individual children
    By the end of the programme less than 1% of secondary schools in London were below the government floor targets and 30% were judged “outstanding”. Some of the most deprived boroughs in London were achieving results better than schools in the affluent south east.
    When the programme was wound down in 2010 both OFSTED and DFE produced reports outlining why it was so effective and the lessons for the future.

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  2. Simon Bradley says:

    The # elephantintheroom is simply that some teachers are not up to the job. Money perhaps could be focused on rewarding and retaining those who give so much to young people as well as removing those who are a drain on resources. Schools leaders need to focus on improving outcomes for young people by concentrating on teaching and learning, not by bring unpaid HR consultants.

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