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Champion Schools Press release

Justine Greening celebrates National Citizen Service Champion Schools


  • Over 300 secondary schools throughout the country have been awarded ‘Champion School’ status by National Citizen Service (NCS) to reward their commitment to the youth programme to date
  • More than 300,000 students have graduated from NCS since 2011, with teachers reporting positive effects on schools and pupils as a result
  • NCS has launched an interactive tool, supported by the Department for Education, to help schools further engage with the programme


National Citizen Service (NCS), the UK’s flagship youth programme for 16 and 17 year olds, has awarded ‘Champion School’ status to 345 schools across England. The status has been given to those institutions who have excelled in promoting the programme and recruiting young people to take part over the last academic year.


Champion school head teachers and staff cite the markedly positive effect that participation in NCS programmes has on both young people and their wider institutions. Schools that have significant numbers of pupils taking part in NCS have seen a notable change in pupil wellbeing and engagement with academic work. For young people, NCS provides a host of practical and emotional benefits, among them a positive contribution to UCAS personal statements and wider social and personal development. Nearly three quarters of those who have taken part in NCS feel more confident about getting a job, and nine in ten feel that it has helped them develop useful skills for the future.  They also demonstrate high levels of confidence and resilience, and report lower levels of anxiety than their peers. 


NCS is a two-four week programme for 16 & 17 year olds which takes place during school holidays. The programme involves teenagers meeting other local young people from a range of backgrounds, living independently, and developing new skills whilst learning more about their communities and how they can make a difference through social action projects. There are a number of ways in which schools can work with their local NCS provider to raise the profile of the programme to students and parents, ranging from delivering an assembly to students to attending careers events, parents’ evenings and delivering sessions to tutor groups. All are free of charge.


In order to assist schools in tracking and understanding their success in promoting and recruiting for NCS, the organisation has created a tool that enables schools to quickly and easily check uptake amongst their pupils. The tool can be used to view data for an individual school and those across the country, and is being supported by the Department for Education (DfE).


Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

“It’s really fantastic to see that so many pupils have already benefitted from the wide range of programmes provided by National Citizen Service (NCS).


“I want to congratulate all the ‘champion schools’ and thank them for their hard work and commitment helping young people across the country gain vital skills that will help them get on in life and fulfil their potential.


“I want to see more schools getting involved. The new tool designed by NCS will act as a great mechanism for schools to track their own progress in engaging young people.”


The tool is now available to view on the NCS website at

 Anna Cole from the Association of School and College Leaders said:

“NCS offers young people fantastic opportunities to challenge themselves, explore new horizons, meet people from all walks of life and in the process gain new and transferable skills, maturity and confidence. ASCL highly recommends all school and college leaders embrace the chance for their students to get involved.”

Julie Robinson from the ISC said:


“The ISC and the Associations it represents are working in partnership with National Citizen Service (NCS) and encourage all secondary schools within the independent sector to support the programme and promote NCS to pupils and their parents.”


Michael Lynas, CEO of NCS Trust said:


NCS is an investment in the future of young people. Everyone who takes part has the opportunity to develop new skills, meet new friends from different schools, and gain the confidence they need to be successful in life and work.”


“NCS is pleased to already partner with the vast majority of schools in England, and is particularly proud of our partnership with over 300 NCS Champion Schools. We hope our new online tool, endorsed by the Department for Education, will help more schools to deepen their partnership with NCS, benefitting their pupils and young people and local communities.”