Our Journey

Graeme Duncan, our Chief Executive explains:

“I saw the issue of educational inequity up close and personal as a Teach First teacher. The children were amazing, not much younger than I was, but funnier, more resilient, and generally much smarter. But they were mostly born into poverty and attended a school that wasn’t adequate at that time. As a result, they weren’t getting the start in life they needed and few would realise their true potential. That sense of wasted human potential still haunts me.”

Fast forward 10 years and Right to Succeed was born. As the charity was being founded in 2015, we were in conversation with the Department for Education and the Minister of State for Schools about where we might take a collective approach to solving the challenges that affect children living in poverty.

In the first instance, we were focused on the North West as being the area where there was the greatest concentration of schools serving areas of poverty that were rated inadequate by OFSTED. The DfE was focusing particularly on Blackpool, the most disadvantaged local authority in the country according the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, and were in the process of setting up the Blackpool Challenge Board, which would eventually be replaced by the Blackpool Opportunity Area. Seven of the eight local secondary schools, including the Pupil Referral Unit, agreed to join the programme: we have worked in Blackpool ever since.

We have grown considerably in scale and reputation since our inception in 2015. The past year has seen significant growth and development of the charity, significantly raising the number of schools and children that we are currently working with. We have expanded beyond Blackpool into Doncaster and North Belfast, and won major contracts to broaden our work in school improvement, to focus on themes of improving literacy and reducing the risk of exclusion and beyond. Right to Succeed has also been approached by two major cities to replicate this work and will begin the discovery phase over the coming year. We have also been invited by the Department for Education to be part of the development of national policy on place-based educational change.

Our journey has brought us into contact with many amazing people with similar personal missions to ours – philanthropists, local leaders, teachers, politicians, commissioners, parents and children themselves. But one question still concerns us: with this many people trying to solve the problem of educational inequity, why are we not there yet?

The answer is simple: a lack of coordinated effort.

That is what Right to Succeed is here to do; to bring together the people driving improvements in education in a coordinated effort to overcome the issues of inequity affecting young people.

This work is not easy, but the more we’ve done and learned, the more we have become convinced that such a collective approach is the only way we are going to give these young people the life chances they deserve.

We are grateful to the many that have supported us on this journey to date and hope you will be encouraged to work with us as we seek to increase impact and learning.

Please see our Working Collectively page for a better look at some of the specific projects that we are currently working on.