News and opinion


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.


Today we welcomed the Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, to the National Citizen Service being delivered by The Challenge in Reading.

As Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson is the sponsor minister for the NCS in government. The Minister showed his support by visiting a ‘Showcase event’, in which participants talk about their experience on the programme and what they felt they gained from it.

This summer, NCS with The Challenge has hosted over 30 MPs - including the Prime Minister - and welcome the opportunity to promote the programme and its benefits to young people and their local communities first-hand.