The Story of London Challenge: A Look Behind London Schools' Success From The People Who Were There

Date of press release: 
27th May 2015

The London Challenge’s ex-Chief Advisors have released a retrospective on the pioneering initiative, exploring first hand how and why the London Challenge was so successful.

Sir Tim Brighouse and David Woods CBE, supported by the London Leadership Strategy, have published The Story of London Challenge - a retrospective on the development of the London Challenge. 

The Challenge model has received cross-party consensus that the model forms a strong basis for school improvement. Available in hard copy and e-book versions, The Story of London Challenge includes contributions from Sir Tim Brighouse and David Woods CBE, plus chapters from Dame Susan John, Peter White, Dr Vanessa Ogden, Dr Sara Bubb and Professor Chris Husbands.

Speaking about the book, David Woods, Chair of London Leadership Strategy, said: “The London Challenge was a pioneering initiative with exceptional outcomes. There has been a lot of discussion around what made London such a success and why - The Story of London Challenge addresses this by providing our first-hand perspective of the initiative. 

“London Challenge launched in 2003 with the ambition of making London the world-leading learning and creative capital city. The transformation of London’s schools cannot be attributed to any single element and this book considers the multitude of factors that have contributed to London’s success – and from a variety of angles.”

Sir Tim Brighouse, ex-Chief Advisor of London Challenge, continued: “Educational historians of the future will continue to debate the organisation, methodology and impact of the London Challenge, which even as we speak continues to sustain performance in London as the best performing region in the country. This book aims to add the immediate policy and practitioner voice to that debate.”

Anita Kerwin-Nye, Managing Director of London Leadership Strategy said: “London Leadership Strategy is taking forward London Challenge’s successes and learnings and adapting them to the contemporary education context. It is important to continue the momentum that London has as a result of the London Challenge – not only to ensure that London remains a strong, high-performing region but to consider how London can both support and learn from other regions as they develop their own challenge models”.

In addition to the book, London Leadership Strategy is launching its new website, an extensive database of materials and resources from the London Challenge including reports and reflections on its impact, successes and learnings, plus biographical information on those who led and contributed to the London Challenge.

London Challenge supported some 417 secondary schools, 1820 primary schools, 146 special schools, 63,500 teachers and 43,000 support staff across 33 local authorities and in less than a decade, took London from being the lowest performing region in the country to the highest.

London continues to be high performing - regional tables of 2014 GCSE results, released in January 2015, were dominated by London boroughs, taking 12 places in the top 20 local authorities.

David Woods CBE is now Chair of London Leadership Strategy (LLS), a not for profit organisation run by experienced Headteachers that continues the work of the London Challenge, empowering schools to take forward school-to-school improvement in London and beyond. 

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