The problem

30% of children are living in poverty in the UK. Children in poverty begin school four months behind their peers, by the time these children leave secondary school they are nearly two years behind their classmates.

The impact from school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this divide, with the learning gap between rich and poor pupils growing by almost half between March and July 2020.

“To improve the future for young people in our most left-behind areas, services need to work together more effectively.
“When communities invite us in, we often find brilliant people doing things in silos – we connect them up and support the local area to develop more efficient ways of working.
“Going forward, it’s clear that a cohesive, collaborative approach between funders, commissioners, practitioners and community members is needed.”

Graeme Duncan
Chief Executive

Children in poverty begin school four months behind their peers.

The solution

A new collective approach to transforming lives through communities.

By supporting and enabling a community to work together, Right to Succeed’s mission is to equip every child with the skills, wellbeing and access to opportunity to thrive from childhood to adulthood.

Solving complex social issues requires a coordinated approach. Working in areas where high numbers of children are living in poverty, Right to Succeed brings together the residents and the professionals and leaders that serve the community to transform lives through a collective approach.

For example, helping education providers, from early years to college, to work together to understand and overcome child development, wellbeing and connectivity issues facing their children and young people.

The approach builds on international best practice in place-based change, creating partnerships between commissioners, funders, community organisations, public services, schools, intervention partners and residents.

Work in action

Right to Succeed drives whole system improvement; enabling communities to tackle some of the big thematic issues facing them, with initial priorities being anti-social behaviour and supporting parents with children in early years.

This is a wholly new approach to supporting young people to thrive. They’re highly motivated to build the case for this community-led ‘place-based’ change and hold pilots around the country.

Solving complex social issues requires a coordinated approach.

The Big Changers

Graeme and Belinda have extensive backgrounds in education and supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those in special/alternative provision.

Graeme Duncan, Chief Executive

Graeme has a wealth of education and public affairs experience. He was the first graduate hired by Teach First in 2003, teaching in a secondary school serving a highly disadvantaged community. Since 2010 he’s been the Director of Development at Greenhouse, a charity that uses sport to engage and develop young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Belinda Logan, Programme Director for Reach

Belinda has worked in education for over 30 years. The majority of her experience is within primary and secondary schools as a senior leader, headteacher and executive headteacher in special and alternative provision schools. She has contributed to the successful opening of a number of free special and alternative provision schools.


We’re proud to have backed Right to Succeed to set up the Centre for Place Based Transformation. Since being funded by big change, in Blackpool they have seen a 27% increase in the number of high-ability readers, a 75% reduction in permanent exclusions across all secondary schools in Blackpool compared to 37% nationally and a 53% reduction in days lost to fixed term exclusions, compared to 29% nationally. You can see more on Right to Succeed’s impact here

Right to Succeed’s work was recognised when they were awarded the contract to support the operationalisation of Blackpool’s new 10-year education strategy. While the data and recognition speak for themselves, participants themselves have also confirmed the transformative impact of Right to Succeed’s work: 

“Right to Succeed offer something groundbreaking I haven’t seen in 20+ years in education: a chance to change the narrative for children and bring about long-term, sustainable change.”

– John Rowlands Executive Principal, Greater Manchester Academies Trust 

“The whole-town approach to education works. I would encourage everyone to get behind it to support our town and its future.” – Cllr Jim Hobson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care and Schools