A £1 million prize fund has been launched to reward bold ideas with the potential to transform education and learning in the UK as new research reveals that two-thirds (64%) of 18-25-year-olds feel that the education system didn’t prepare them for life or work.
The Big Education Challenge is run by Big Change, a charity that catalyses change in education by supporting new initiatives that set up students to thrive in life, not just exams.
The data highlights the need for new thinking and innovation in education as almost eight in ten UK adults (76%) believe that teachers should be given time, resources and support to introduce new learning approaches that can work for their pupils.
Seven in ten (71%) UK adults think the government failed to seize the opportunity to transform education post-pandemic, but change is still needed, and three-quarters (75%) think our country needs a bold, long-term vision for education to which all parts of society can contribute.
Meanwhile, the research points to a school system unable to adequately support those facing challenges, as 61% of UK adults state that the current education system doesn’t sufficiently cater for students with special educational needs and 64% believe the current education system doesn’t sufficiently cater for students struggling with their mental health.
The Big Education Challenge will draw on over a decade of experience from Big Change and the first-hand experiences of young people and social entrepreneurs to help transform education and learning for the long-term.
“Young people’s futures will involve constant adaptation and innovation – in environments and job roles which we can barely imagine today,” said Holly Branson, Trustee and Founder of Big Change. “Teachers do an amazing job every day in classrooms, and yet the wider education system that hasn’t changed much in a century leaves too many young people left out or left behind.”
“That’s why it’s so important that we work towards the transformation of the education system, and why, in particular, we hope the Big Education Challenge will attract social innovators from education and beyond with bold ideas that have the potential to change it.”
The Big Education Challenge is made up of two prizes:
The Groundbreaker Prize (up to £300,000) for young people aged 18-25 with a bold idea or new project.
- Up to 10 finalists will receive grants of up to £10,000 to further develop and test their ideas.
- One of these finalists will go on to win £50,000 to fully pilot their idea, with up to two runners up each receiving £25,000.
- In addition, finalists will benefit from £100,000 of expert support to develop and test their ideas prior to final judging.
The Gamechanger Prize (up to £700,000) for individuals with a track record of leading innovative projects or approaches with tangible social impact.
- Up to five finalists will receive grants of £50,000 to further develop and test their ideas.
- One of these finalists will go on to win £200,000 to fully pilot their idea, with up to two runners up receiving £150,000 and £50,000.
- In addition, finalists will benefit from £50,000 of expert support to develop and test their ideas prior to final judging.
The challenge will support bold new ideas that support young people to thrive and prepare them for their futures. These may include ways to make learning more inclusive, relevant and joyful, new projects that give more agency over education to young people and teachers, ways to integrate learning and assessment, and involving the wider community in supporting education and learning.
“Our research reinforces the view that our outdated, one-size-fits all system needs to change, and that change has to be led by the people who know the system best,” said Caireen Goddard, Senior Director of Impact at Big Change.
“That’s why we’ve launched the Big Education Challenge – to catalyse and accelerate change in education, and we believe that bold ideas can come from different people and places. The challenge will help to reach more diverse innovators – with different life-experiences, careers and areas of expertise – to set out new ideas and projects that show a new way is possible. We need to set our sights on the long-term transformation of education, not more incremental reforms. And transformation only happens when you shift power.”
Entries must be submitted by midnight on the 8th of February 2023. Finalists for both prizes will be announced at the beginning of March 2023.
For more information and to find out how to enter the prize go to https://www.big-change.org/challenge.