Challenge the Gap
Challenge the Gap is an initiative by Challenge Partners which aims to improve academic outcomes for disadvantaged pupils by facilitating collaboration between schools. It is a two-year programme, which is delivered in local clusters, and delivery of the intervention is based on schools working in trios (one lead school and two accelerator schools). Each cluster focuses initially on a target cohort of 45 pupils eligible for free school meals (15 per school), then develops an approach based on what works with these pupils to be ‘cascaded’ at a whole-school level.
Challenge the Gap involves in-school work, inter-school work and workshop activities at three levels for leaders, teachers and para-professionals. This is an annual programme running from May to June each year.
Participating secondary schools provide a team of six professionals including a school leader, three teachers and two teaching assistants, while participating primary schools provide a team of three professionals including a school leader, a teacher and a teaching assistant.
Schools signing up to Challenge the Gap receive training, support and resources, as well as the possibility for accreditation for schools and team members.
Challenge The Gap was evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2017, but the evaluation did not meet the quality needed to change its evidence rating.
The Education Endowment Foundation study results suggests that there were different impacts on pupils eligible for free school meals. In primary schools the gap seemed to narrow and in secondary it seemed to widen, however, not enough pupils were included to make the results significant. EEF has no plans for a further trial of Challenge the Gap. The approach has been developed and continues to develop since this evaluation.