Thoughts from The Challenge

We work on a local level to connect people across all ages, ethnicities and walks of life, and advance great ideas to build a more integrated society. You can view a selection of blogs and articles from The Challenge team below.


Segregation is holding our children back

On Monday, an article written by Jon Yates appeared in Schools Week, entitled: “Segregation is holding our children back”.

Jon takes issue with the New Schools Network’s recent suggestions that Faith Schools should be allowed to select 100% of their pupils by faith. (Previous reforms introduced by Michael Gove limited the ability of academies and free schools to select any more than 50% of their intake on the basis of faith).

Jon points to the Northern Ireland’s shared education model as a good example of integrated education. He also looks forward to the Casey review and sets out a few hopes around schools policy.

The full article can be accessed here. 


  • The Challenge is the largest provider of the National Citizen Service in the UK



  • 72% of our NCS participants agreed with the statement: ‘I am more able to trust people’



  • We employ over 400 permanent staff nationally and over 3,500 seasonal staff



  • 76% of our NCS participants felt more confident about getting a job in the future



  • In 2014, 93% of HeadStart graduates felt they had improved communication skills



  • In 2014, 66% of HeadStart graduates felt they would continue volunteering after HeadStart



  • Nearly a third of young people who have heard of Step Forward rated it as their first choice when leaving school



  • In 2014, 85% of HeadStart graduates felt they better trusted people from different walks of life



  • In 2014, The Challenge collaborated with 800 community and business partners



  • In 2014, 78% of HeadStart graduates felt more connected to their community



  • 88% of our NCS participants felt they were better at working in a team



  • 94% of young people attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, attended state schools, with 13% on free school meals



  • Step Forward received over 400 applications in its first year for just 48 places



  • 7% of those attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, had a disability



  • In 2014, 52% of participants in NCS, delivered by The Challenge, were from a black and minority ethnic background



  • Over 30,000 16 and 17 year olds will take part in NCS delivered by The Challenge in 2015