News and opinion


This morning, Chuka Umunna MP launched the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration, for which The Challenge will provide secretariat services.

The APPG will have members from a variety of political parties, as well as peers. It will focus on identifying ways to create shared experiences, to help people from different backgrounds develop shared identities and increase social integration.

You can read the full text of Chuka’s speech below. Stay tuned for further updates!


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. 


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.