We would like to point out that your article "National Challenge adviser's pupils struggle in GCSE" (October 2) is misleading. The City Challenge programme is not the "regionally focused version of the National Challenge", although it certainly did inform the development of the NC. In addition to supporting secondary schools below the National Challenge floor target, the City Challenge programme works across primary and secondary phases in order to narrow gaps in performance between deprived young people and their peers, and to create more good and outstanding schools.
The City Challenge programme grew out of the successful London Challenge and is now also running in the Black Country and Greater Manchester. It provides schools, local authorities and other agencies with an opportunity to work in partnership with the DCSF and focus on injecting pace, energy and innovation into local education systems to raise aspirations and improve achievement. Central to the City Challenge programme is the fundamental principle of understanding and responding to local context and need. School leaders warmly welcome this way of working.
Mel Ainscow, Sir Geoff Hampton and David Woods, Chief advisers (Greater Manchester, Black Country and London respectively), City Challenge.