Big Education Challenge

Bold ideas to transform learning

It’s time to transform education

Most young people don’t feel that education is preparing them for life and work, and all parts of society agree that changes to education and learning are needed and that new ideas need to come from the grassroots.

After 10 years of backing leaders who have shown new ways of supporting the next generation to learn and thrive, we want to go further. We launched the Big Education Challenge in 2022, a £1m prize fund that will support and reward bold ideas with the potential to transform education and learning in the UK.

The Challenge was created to give both young people and experienced innovators in the UK the support and funding they need to bring their ideas to life, and to show a new way is possible.

We had over 280 submissions and have selected 15 brilliant finalists with the help from 100 exceptional judges. The finalists, 13 of whom are aged between 18 and 25, have surfaced some of the most pressing issues young people face in education today. We’re so proud to partner with them on their journey to help transform education.

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How we’re supporting our finalists

Over the next six months, the Big Education Challenge finalists will develop their projects as part of a learning and support programme which will include peer learning and one-to-one coaching, delivered by Big Change in partnership with The Young Foundation.

Collectively, the finalists are looking at ways to help create a more inclusive education system that celebrates diversity, allows every child to thrive and enjoy success, and is relevant to the challenges they see in the world, including. climate, identity, wellbeing, and work readiness. 

Specifically they are focused on neurodiversity, gender and identity, disability, racism, climate, food poverty, loss and trauma, creativity and leadership.

Though at an early stage, these leaders and their ideas have the potential to impact tens of thousands of young people across the UK who experience similar challenges.

Groundbreaker Prize: identifying, supporting and rewarding young people aged 18-25 with a bold idea or new project. 

Each of the 10 groundbreaker finalists will receive up to £10,000 to develop and test their ideas. Big Change and The Young Foundation will work with them to create a funding agreement so they can be clear on what the money is being spent on. 

Gamechanger Prize: identifying, supporting and rewarding individuals with a track record of leading innovative projects or approaches with tangible social impact.

Each of the five gamechanger finalists will receive up to £50,000 as their ideas are in a later stage of development, and most are part of an existing organisation. They are ready to move further and faster, and undertake more substantial testing.

The Big Education Challenge Timeline

November 2022: Opened for submissions

February 2023: Submission deadline

April 2023: Finalists shortlisted

May 2023: Finalists announced and the learning and capacity building programme begins

November 2023: Learning and support programme ends

January 2024: Winners and runners up selected and announced

Funding ideas with the potential to transform education and learning

The Big Education Challenge £1m prize fund has been made possible by a generous community of philanthropists, trusts and foundations. Big Change relies on voluntary donations to be able support bold ideas and act as a catalyst to transform education and learning. You can support our work by making a donation.

Meet our Big Education Challenge Judges