Over 200,000 young people will benefit from better education through more schools collaborating to share best practice. That’s the goal of a new package of support for Challenge Partners from Social Business Trust (SBT).

Challenge Partners is an education charity that facilitates collaboration and challenge between schools, to reduce educational inequality and improve the life chances of all children. It aims to ensure that every school community can benefit from the combined wisdom of the whole system.

Dr Kate Chhatwal, CEO of Challenge Partners said: “We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with SBT and their sector-leading corporate partners. Collaborating and learning from the best in business and other sectors is in Challenge Partners’ DNA, and I have no doubt that the new package of support we have secured will deliver benefits for our partner schools.”

SBT has supported Challenge Partners since 2014, with in-depth assistance in areas including strategy, legal and IT, along with funding for Finance Director and Business Development roles.

With SBT’s help, Challenge Partners’ Network of Excellence for schools has grown by two-thirds, from 260 schools in 14/15 to 430 in 18/19. It now plans to expand membership to 600 schools by 21/22.

To support that new goal, SBT is giving Challenge Partners up to 200 more days of professional assistance, including help to develop a growth strategy and to leverage technology for sharing knowledge between schools.

Bain & Company, EY, Getronics and Permira will collaborate to provide that support, with delivery overseen by Bain & Company Partner, Lili Chahbazi, Challenge Partners’ SBT Investment Director.

Clifford Chance will give on-going legal support and Thomson Reuters staff will continue to mentor members of Challenge Partners’ team.

Andrea Arroyo, a Bain Consultant currently on an externship to SBT, led the development of the reinvestment case for Challenge Partners and will assist with its implementation.

Adele Blakebrough MBE, CEO of SBT said: “Challenge Partners’ role is vital in supporting schools to provide great education for all children. We’re excited to grant them new support to expand their important work.”

By joining Challenge Partners’ national Network of Excellence, schools benefit from collaboration, challenge and professional development with schools across the country. They work together with local schools on shared priorities, gain access to expertise from the broader membership nationwide, and have an annual peer-review, conducted by a team of peer senior school leaders and an Ofsted-experienced inspector.

Challenge Partners’ model is associated with improved educational outcomes. Pupils in member schools not only have higher attainment scores than the national average but they also progress faster.  

Member schools have smaller gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers and are more than twice as likely to improve their Ofsted rating from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’ when compared to the national average.