London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Evaluation of the City Challenge Programme

Funded by

Department for Education


July 2010-February 2012


City Challenge, launched in 2008, was a programme which aimed to raise standards in primary and secondary schools in the Black Country, Greater Manchester and London – three areas where there is a historic link between underachievement and deprivation. The programme aimed to transform educational provision and to leave a stronger system as a legacy. Within each Challenge area, a bespoke range of approaches and interventions were adopted and tailored to tackle issues according to local needs. It was based on some of the successful approaches from the London Challenge (2003-8).

The evaluation design included four main strands of work:

  • a literature review: focusing on school improvement
  • a comprehensive mapping exercise for each of the three Challenges which then formed the basis of further analysis. This reported on different modes of working, the sizes of populations affected, the initiatives implemented, the amount of resources allocated, etc.
  • a small-scale retrospective analysis of the London Challenge programme
  • a robust assessment of the implementation and impact of the City Challenge programme (2008-11) through

o exploring the current interventions and identifying best practice

o assessing the impact and cost effectiveness of key interventions, and each City Challenge programme as a whole on improving school performance and strengthening school systems

o identifying how successful school improvement interventions / approaches can be successfully sustained and more widely implemented across the country.

In this research, IPSE worked in with The Evaluation Partnership (TEP), who conducted the cost effectiveness analysis.

For more information on the City Challenge Legacy Project, please click here


  • The full report can be downloaded here
  • The Research Brief can be downloaded here

Project team

Merryn Hutchings
Sumi Hollingworth
Ayo Mansaray
Anthea Rose
together with Kelly Beaver and Samy Ahmar from TEP


Merryn Hutchings


   Company Information    Page last updated 14 September 2010     Contact Page Owner (Angela Kamara)