In the North of England today, 66% of children from the poorest households do not achieve five good GCSEs at school, leaving them without the basics they need to access further education or secure a good job.

Our mission is to raise the attainment of children from low income homes across the Northern Powerhouse, so that they can turn their potential into success at school and beyond.

We do this by identifying, funding and supporting teachers, schools and charity partners with innovative solutions to educational challenges. We invest in early stage ideas and then work closely with grantees to understand their impact and scale-up the most effective approaches.

We offer targeted funding opportunities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions, focused on the following strategic priorities:

  • Ready for School: Improving the school readiness of children during the reception year, with a particular focus on language and communication skills (age 4-5)
  • Bridging the Gap: supporting vulnerable children who may not meet Age Related Expectations at primary school to make better academic progress during Key Stage 3 (age 9-14)
  • Flying High: supporting high attaining students to build on their achievements at primary school and stay on a high attaining trajectory during the first few years at secondary school (age 9-14).

We also run a national funding competition each year called Let Teachers SHINE. The competition supports some of the brightest minds in teaching from across England to develop innovative new ideas which have the potential to scale up once proven.

As well as funding, we provide grantees with free access to a broad range of development workshops and coaching opportunities to help them get the best from their projects.

Why the North of England? 

Across the Northern Powerhouse, there are many excellent schools and teachers who are already working tirelessly to open up opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Attainment at age 11, for example, is broadly in line with national averages, and in some places in the North it’s actually better.

However, there are significant achievement gaps which emerge in the early years and during the first few years of secondary school. For example, research shows that a five-year-old child from a low income home in London is 30% more likely to achieve the expected level of communication and language development than a child in Leeds, Greater Manchester or Merseyside.

While there are many outstanding secondary schools across the North taking proactive approaches to supporting disadvantaged children, overall, children from the most deprived communities are much more likely to attend secondary schools that are struggling.

At SHINE, our vision is for all children to achieve the best possible qualifications, so that they can leave school with real choices for their future lives. Together with partners, we invest in home-grown solutions to educational challenges, catering to local circumstances and needs and working with existing assets and strengths already in place in communities. Take a look at some of the educational programmes that we are funding across the Northern Powerhouse.