News and opinion


A poll commissioned by The Challenge showing public support for school children mixing with pupils from different backgrounds to their own was featured in a leader article in The Observer on Sunday December 6th. Reporting on findings by the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life, The Observer considered the role of religion in the education system and its impact on social segregation. You can read the leader article here.

The leader article gave support to a policy proposed by Jon Yates in a recent blog for Times Red Box. You can read Jon’s blog here. In the blog, Jon argues that we should look to Northern Ireland’s Shared Education Programme for lessons on the promotion of social integration in our schools.



A new YouGov poll shows 64% support school pupils mixing with children from different ethnic and faith backgrounds.

The poll – conducted after the Paris terrorist attacks - reveals public support for the promotion of social integration for school pupils, with 64% of UK adults agreeing that ‘every school child should participate in group activities with children from different faith/ ethnic backgrounds to their own, either in school and/ or in their local community.'

The charity’s co-founder Jon Yates argues that in the aftermath of the atrocities in Paris, missing from the public debate is what needs to be done to tackle home-grown radicalisation ‘upstream’. Yates argues that promoting ‘social integration’ within our school system should be at the very heart of Louise Casey’s review into radicalisation. 

Yates said that in light of the fact that the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on London in 2005 and Paris in January and November 2015 were home-grown, we must face up to this ‘uncomfortable truth’.


‘See that man over there?


Well, I hate him.

But you don’t know him.

That’s why I hate him’.

And with that parable, we arrive at the nub of the mystery that lies behind the horror of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. “Pourquoi?” Why? The question on all of our minds.


4.4 million people. That's roughly the same population size as the Republic of Ireland or Croatia. Half of London. Or, put another way, four more Birminghams.

That is the increase in the UK's population over the next decade, according to the Office for National Statistics. And it throws up major questions about 'social integration' - the extent to which people in Britain interact with others from different backgrounds to their own.

Ever since Thomas Malthus published his book An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, there has been much public debate about population growth and what this means for life in Britain.


The Challenge believes that the programmes we offer make a real difference to the lives of the young people who participate on them. Furthermore, we believe that bringing together people from different backgrounds has positive effects on society at large, and is crucial in the development of more united and trusting communities.

Despite this, we are often asked how programmes which touch the lives of only some teenagers can possibly change our society.