The Buckinghamshire Challenge – Update for Chairs of Governors.


Dear Chairs of Governors,

Update on The Buckinghamshire Challenge.

We wrote to you at the beginning of term to let you know our plans regarding The Buckinghamshire Challenge for 2021/22 (copy of letter attached above).  We now wanted to remind you of the offer and provide an update on progress of the project to date.

The Aims of the Programme:

For all schools across Buckinghamshire:

  1. to understand the impact of educational disadvantage on their own pupils,
  2. to understand how to best address long term disadvantage and the challenge of the pandemic on pupil attainment in their own schools,
  3. to build a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils in Buckinghamshire.

Offer to Schools:

The Universal Offer – A conference and workshop programme for all schools in Buckinghamshire. Schools were asked to sign up to be part of the programme and nominate a member of staff to attend all 6 sessions throughout the academic year, committing to undertaking the required intersessional tasks and disseminating the learning throughout their school.

Output – all participating schools will have robust strategies for addressing disadvantage.

The Targeted Offer – Focused support for one school per liaison group, who will cascade experience and support throughout the local area.

Output – the development of a network of skilled and expert Side by Side Disadvantaged Champion Schools across the county, who have successfully implemented strategies for addressing disadvantage in their own schools. These Side by Side Disadvantaged Champion Schools will provide a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils in Buckinghamshire, targeted at (but not limited to) supporting schools within their liaison group

Project Update:

  1. 145 schools signed up for the Universal Offer, with over 200 members of staff committing to attend the sessions.
  2. The first conference (1st October) and the first workshop (1st November) have taken place with the theme of Lessons Learnt, Culture, Curriculum and Assessment.
  3. Attendance at the conference was generally positive with 75% of nominated leads in attendance, although attendance at the workshop was lighter with only 57% of nominated leads attending.
  4. Feedback from both sessions has been extremely positive, with comments including: thought-provoking, fantastic starting point, passionate & knowledgeable speakers, great practical solutions and great to hear about other school’s experience.
  5. Disadvantaged Champion Schools have now been nominated in almost all liaison groups, and provide an excellent mix of schools age phases, size and pupil demographics.
  6. Liaison Group project funding has been confirmed and these influential local area research projects will be focused on raising the attainment for disadvantaged pupils and will be led by the Disadvantaged Champion School.


The Buckinghamshire Challenge Board ask that you support all schools who are actively participating in the universal programme to attend for all of the four remaining sessions throughout the year and ensure that opportunities for dissemination of the learning, from the school’s nominated lead to all staff members, are provided.  For schools who did not sign up for the project, there will still be opportunities to engage through their local Disadvantaged Champion School, the liaison group projects and participation at next year’s final conference.

This project is a comprehensive, research-based programme of support and, working together, will help us to collectively raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, both for now and the future.

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Buckinghamshire Challenge Board Programme FINAL

Thank you for your support, and please do contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Kind regards,

The Buckinghamshire Challenge Board