The Greater Manchester Challenge has now been up and running for a year. Hundreds of schools from across the region have already been involved – through the Keys to Success programme, collaborative working with their Family of Schools, or as National and Local Leaders of Education.

In the 2009/10 academic year we are expanding our work, and there is a wide range of opportunities for schools to get involved. All Greater Manchester schools received a booklet in September 2009 detailing these opportunities, which can also be downloaded. There are different versions for primary and secondary schools.

Greater Manchester’s outstanding students celebrated at student awards

Greater Manchester’s most talented students gathered at the Imperial War Museum North on Monday 30 November for the glitzy Greater Manchester Student Awards, run in association with Key 103 Radio. Winners across five categories celebrated their successes after receiving their prizes from Coronation Street star Ben Thompson. 

This year’s winners, announced at the ceremony were:

  • Music – Anthony Batchelor and Hollie Hines from Reddish Vale Technology College in Stockport, who composed and recorded an interpretation of an Aerosmith track and win a music recording session experience, courtesy of Domino Recordings.

  • Art and Design – Abigail Isherwood from Loreto High School, who wins a day with PA Photocall taking part in a celebrity photoshoot. Abigail’s winning entry showed true talent and flair and incorporated an imaginative use of collage in her poster to promote school life.

  • Drama – Cameron Joel Swindells, Lorraine Natsai Chimbga and Oliver Jones from Chorlton High School, who win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hollyoaks set for their well produced and entertaining short film that highlighted the full academic and social offerings of their school.

  • Creative Writing – Louisa Essington from Irlam and Cadishead Community High School, who was nominated by her teacher for her well structured, technically accurate and above all, richly descriptive written work that is a joy to read. Louisa wins a session with professional filmmakers at the Barbican Centre.

  • Science and ICT – Joe Munroe from Heywood Community High School, who was nominated by his teacher for the development of his anti-bullying software. Joe wins a week’s work experience at Microsoft’s Rare Games Studios.

Oliver Jones from Chorlton High School in Manchester, winner of the Drama category, said: ‘I can’t believe that I have won this prize. It is such a great achievement for me. It has really inspired me to continue achieving in lessons, and in my acting career, as I now know anything is possible.’

The competition, which forms part of the Greater Manchester City Challenge campaign, was open to all students across Greater Manchester in Years 9 and 10.

We produce a monthly newsletter which includes up-to-date information about the opportunities and activities on offer through the Challenge. Current and past editions of our newsletter can be browsed online. To subscribe, just email

Further information

Chief Adviser Mel Ainscow’s discussion paper on the future roles of local authorities in relation to educational improvement can be reviewed online.

For further information about the strategic goals of the Challenge, please see Raising the bar and closing the gap: our vision and operational strategy for the Greater Manchester Challenge.