York Challenge


Achieving and sustaining excellence

Context and vision

Our vision is that we will make York ‘the best place in Britain in which to grow up’. The York Challenge is a partnership between all those who seek more for York’s children and young people. York’s future depends more than ever on its education system. Just as York is determined to be a world leader in other areas, so, through the York Education Partnership, York can deliver excellence in education, an internationally recognised city for education and skills.

To achieve our vision of excellence in education we need work together to ensure that:

  • All our schools are at least good and an increasing proportion are outstanding
  • Educational achievement is significantly above national averages across all key stages and for all performance indicators. York performs in the top quartile nationally across all key performance indicators
  • All our teachers are supported to realise their aspirations to move their teaching from good to great
  • The quality of leadership and governance is consistently good in all schools and settings
  • All schools and settings have consistently high expectations for all children and young people
  • We have significantly narrowed the gap in achievement and progress between vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils (including those eligible for the pupil premium and SEND) and their peers
  • We intervene early and effectively to ensure that any gaps in children and young peoples learning are rapidly closed when they emerge
  • Transitions between schools and settings are seamless ensuring that children and their families experiences of education in York are highly supportive and do not create gaps in progress on a child’s journey between 0–19 or 0–25
  • We work in genuine partnership with children and their families connecting schools and settings with the community in which children and young people live to ensure that barriers to learning and progress are overcome
  • Our children and young people develop the skills they need to live a happy and fulfilled life in a rapidly changing world.

The concept of the York Challenge has been based on the success achieved by the City Challenges (London and Greater Manchester) and the Kent ‘Every Lesson Counts’ initiative. The City Challenges have resulted in significant improvements in the quality of leadership, teaching and pupils’ achievement and Ofsted outcomes. As a result of the City Challenge programme London has been consistently the highest performing regional nationally for the percentage of schools judged to be good and outstanding by Ofsted and has seen standards rise at a faster rate than nationally.

When Ofsted evaluated the London Challenge in 2010, it commented that “Excellent system leadership and pan-London networks of schools allow effective partnerships to be established between schools, enabling needs to be tackled quickly and progress to be accelerated.”

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