School report: How can charities work best in the school system?

Education gives people the grounding they need for life—helping them achieve positive things and preventing many problems happening later in life. It is unsurprising that so many philanthropists and charities care passionately about giving children a good education when it can have a significant impact on a range of issues.

Over the past decade there have been a number of changes to the school system which can make it difficult to navigate, but these also present charities and funders with opportunities to get more involved. In this paper we examine the role of charities within the school system in England, identifying the following areas where charities can improve educational, emotional and social outcomes for children and young people:

  • Addressing inequality in the school system.
  • Developing the teaching profession.
  • Improving academic performance and the curriculum.
  • Improving non-academic outcomes.
  • Working with vulnerable children.
  • Supporting young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Transitions between stages of, and out of, education.

For each area we look at how schools work, the roles of charities, the benefits of charity involvement, and current challenges. At the end of the discussion paper we draw together the benefits and challenges into key areas that all those who work in the schools system need to address in order for the system to work more effectively.

This paper draws on our experiences working with charities and funders and is the first consultative step in what we hope becomes a wider research process. We look forward to engaging with charities, funders and schools on the issues it presents. Let us know what you think on Twitter using the hashtag #SchoolReport or drop us a line on