A decade ago, London schools were the worst in the country. Today, a pupil is more likely to succeed in the capital than anywhere else. Much of this improvement is down to the London Challenge.
At the core of London Challenge was a commitment to breaking the link between deprivation and attainment. That meant zero tolerance of low expectations, high levels of collaboration and challenge amongst School Leaders and smart, timely use of data to track progress.
The London Challenge was built on collaboration. It raised the standard of teaching in the classroom through peer-to-peer review. Head teachers helped one another to improve schools and the Challenge featured a pupil pledge, providing access to sport, the arts and the aspiration of a university life.
Crucially, the leaders of London Challenge believed that it could be done.
Our current educational model has failed to deliver for all of its children. This is a stark truth recognised by us all. Our education system needs to change to further improve. If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we always got.
At Wellspring Academy Trust, we take inspiration from the London Challenge and challenge ourselves to transform outcomes for young people in Yorkshire and Humberside, and we want to go even further. We believe that school success is measured in more than quantitative terms. Great outcomes are important for all of our schools, but they’re not the whole story. We believe that school success also requires a qualitative measure. The quality of the school experience for all our young people is crucial to us. That encompasses the energy, engagement and excitement in their learning. It encompasses the dynamism and creativity of their curriculum. It encompasses the quality of their break times. It encompasses the culture of celebration, optimism and unconditional positive regard in the school.
We believe that small focused groups working together in deep collaboration can change outcomes and can build an outstanding system. We believe that rich and continuing professional development at every level underpins success and sustainability in schools. We believe that the vision, aspiration and ambition of educators can change life chances. We believe that the answers already lie within the system.
Our challenge to all Governing Bodies, schools and school leaders:
If not now, then when?
If not you, then who?
We can make a difference together.