Challenge Partners celebrates its tenth anniversary

The charity set up for the improvement of the school system celebrates its milestone with a function at the House of commons.

Congratulations to Challenge Partners for reaching its tenth anniversary as a practitioner-led charity. It was created in 2011 by a group of the first 100 newly designated Teaching Schools to continue the work they had started in creating outstanding schools. These schools improved their performance by sharing their knowledge and took responsibility to assist underperforming schools to succeed. Challenge Partners (CP) currently facilitates collaboration, challenge and professional development for more than 500 schools, representing in excess of 250,000 pupils each year. 

Sir Jon Coles was the first Chairman and one of the four founder members. Sir Jon is now stepping away from this role to become Honorary President. He is CEO of United Learning, and spent 15 years in the Department for Education, including four years on the Board as Director General for Schools and then Director General for Education Standards. It was as Director of London Challenge that he provided the initial resources to create Teaching Schools. 

He is being replaced by Chris Davidson who has served as a trustee since 2016. He is a Partner at Permira, a global growth-focused private equity firm, where he leads the investor relations and fundraising teams.

Dr Kate Chhatwal OBE has been CEO since 2018 and she along with her team have worked tirelessly to continue the work of the Partnership in the most difficult circumstances we have recently faced. 

The Executive Director throughout this period has been another of the four founder members, Dame Sue John. Sue has had a distinguished career as the headteacher of an outstanding Teaching School, chair of a number of highly successful education charities including the Brilliant Club, Strategic Director of London Leadership Strategy and Non-Executive Director on the DFE Board of Education. 

A celebration event to mark this milestone is being held at the House of Commons. The guests include: 

Senior Partners, Hub Managers

Trustees past and present

Members of our Education Advisory Group (EAG)

Multi-Academy Trust CEOs

Policy-makers and key stakeholders including Joanne Hay of Deputy CEO of SBT, former Head of Ofsted Christine Gilbert CBE, Dominic Herrington National Schools Commissioner, Dr Jo Saxton new OfQual head, Geoff Barton leader of headteachers’ union ASCL, Dr Sam Twiselton OBE Director of Sheffield Institute of Education (Sheffield Hallam University), and sector experts David Bartram OBE (SEND) and Marc Rowland who was on our Excellence for Everyone advisory group.

We wish Challenge Partners our congratulations on reaching this milestone and every success for the next ten years, whatever that might hold.

Take care and stay safe

George