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Challenge Partners Hub

Challenge Partners is a national partnership of over 475 schools committed to reducing educational inequality and improving the life chances of all children. Through collaboration, challenge and professional development, working together to ensure every school can benefit from the combined wisdom of the education system.  Linking outstanding schools with external knowledge, to drive up the performance of all schools, leaders, teachers and pupils.

Challenge Partners Northants Hub

Sir Christopher Hatton Academy leads the Challenge Partners Northants Hub.  A collaboration of local schools working together to secure improvements and personal development on shared priorities.  Currently our growing alliance is made up of 8 schools.  One of our priorities is to create a sense of community. We achieve this through establishing effective channels of communication. Each school has allocated a member of staff to our steering group, whose role is to encourage greater collaboration and to establish a “personal approach”. 

As a hub, we are committed to collaborating with each other in order to raise outcomes for our pupils.  Our meetings are structured so that they address our common priorities, and the meetings give members the opportunity to share practice and work together. 

Schools have found taking part in QA Reviews at their own and other schools to be of immense value. Through receiving and giving positive dialogue about what is going well and areas for development and identifying support needs senior leaders have been able to implement improvement strategies into their own schools

Challenge Partners Northants Hub Manager

Challenge Partners Northants Hub Manager - Nick Salisbury

Challenge Partners Northants Hub Senior Partner

Challenge Partners Northants Hub Senior Partner - Rob Hardcastle
Email: via

How Do I Join Challenge Partners Northants Hub?

Joining Challenge Partners Northants Hub can help your school through:

  • Leadership development activities
  • School quality assurance and peer reviews
  • Opportunities to share best practice and collaborate at local and national level
  • Programmes to tackle the attainment gap for disadvantaged children
  • Help for outstanding schools to get even better
  • Inspirational and coaching to develop the school leaders of the future
  • National and local events

Over the past twelve weeks we have experienced the most extraordinary times in education and in wider society. Our Challenge Partners Northants hub has been working collaboratively with its existing members to provide advice and solutions during this period of disruption to children’s education. We have used hub funding to support home learning options which secondary, special and alternative settings decided upon and supported online tutoring for specific children in all primary settings. Our hub members have also had access to the Members Area of the Challenge Partners website which house a range of Covid-19 resources designed specifically to support with planning or implementing a new model of operation. These resources include return to school plans; BAME Ed Network for guidance for Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) staff in school settings; and free to use social distancing posters and stickers.

I hope you are now beginning to be in a position to look ahead to 2020-2021 and I would like to outline some key aspects of the Challenge Partners programme offer for your consideration. Over the next twelve months, new and existing hub members can utilise the Challenge Partners Network of Excellence to address the challenges we currently face, as well as driving forward innovation between MATs, academies and maintained settings. School improvement projects supported by our hub have enabled existing members to jointly review and plan curriculum subjects, regularly share good and outstanding practice and challenge each other through peer learning deep dives. These are just some of the ways in which members have enjoyed the benefits of close hub collaboration. As a Challenge Partner hub it has been great to be able to bring members together at our local meetings and share and review these school improvement projects. They form such a deep and wide range of ideas to use back in our own settings.  

For Challenge Partners there have been a number of key changes planned for 2020-2021 which would be useful to share with you in consideration of membership:

  • The start of the partnership year has been moved to September and from now on will run on an academic year basis.

Activity will mostly be online and will feature a greatly enriched programme of national knowledge exchange. This will include virtual meetings; webinars from  experts (like the recent webinar on disadvantage with Marc Rowland); and virtual Leadership Development Days where schools showcase excellent and/or innovative practice.

  • Challenge Partners Quality Assurance (QA) Reviewer training (available for up to three senior staff in each setting) will also be delivered online but will still offer experiential elements, including professional discussions with other trainee reviewers.
  • QA Reviews will hopefully start taking place after Christmas but further contingency arrangements are in place if this is still not possible. These will include the option of delivering the QA Review virtually, without compromising on the features that make the QA Review so valuable. The rigour, robustness and peer collaboration central to the QA model will not be diluted by this change.
  • It is likely that senior staff who are attending QA reviews at schools will be scheduled within their region (though beyond their immediate locality), in case of further, regional, lockdowns.

The process of  Challenge Partners membership for 2020-2021 has now started and for 2020-2021 the cost per pupil is £7.25, with a minimum fee of £3100. The maximum membership charge for 2020-2021 has been reduced from £9,800 to £8,800. New for 2020-2021 is the introduction of discounts for those settings ready to subscribe for multiple years to recognise loyalty and sustained commitment; this amounts to a 4% discount per annum for those subscribing for 2 years, with an additional 6% discount in Year 3 for those subscribing for 3 years. If you are a smaller setting please do not be put off by the minimum fee, contact myself ( or our hub manager Nick Salisbury ( as we are usual able to offer some discounts, particularly if you are under 150 on roll.

For any other details about membership please contact Aziz Ziriat at Challenge Partners in the first instance email:

Our hub is growing with additional settings joining from within and outside of Northamptonshire and we would be thrilled to have you as a new partner at the forefront of our collaborative work.

Kind regards,

Rob Hardcastle


Future Meetings / Events

Please check back for further details.

To find out more please email: Emma-Jane Harris.