Introducing our new Project Partners

23 January 2020

We are so thrilled to introduce our new cohort of Big Change project partners to you. It’s our privilege to be able to support these people and organisations to create an education and learning system that sets young people up to thrive in life, not just exams. 

Big Changers are the people addressing the root causes, not just the symptoms, of the challenges facing our education system. This work requires leaders to balance their bold ambition with their humility and a desire to learn; their determination with their generosity to support others; and their deep insight with their willingness to adapt. It also requires support that is early stage and flexible enough to learn and grow alongside them.

The road to Big Change

We accepted applications across four thematic areas that our research suggested were levers for positive change. These areas were:

  • Early development: Engaging parents and communities to play an active role in early childhood development and education.
  • Inclusion as Strength: Ensuring that all young people are supported and set up to thrive
  • Teacher and Leader Agency: Enabling the support, agency and development for teachers and leaders to be powerful agents of change. 
  • Wider system: Creating the conditions for systemic shifts in the wider education and learning space.

Each leader and organisation in this cohort went through Big Change’s signature, rigorous application and vetting process – they showed us their vision for the future while demonstrating the strength of their business planning, and answered tough questions from experts in their fields on everything from their long term strategy to the details of their day to day delivery. We believe that running a thorough and fair process allows us to build the mutual trust and respect required to support our project partners to do what’s needed, not just what’s easy to fund, in order to achieve positive impact for and with young people.

After much deliberation by our Impact Council, we decided to back seven pioneering projects working across each area. We can’t wait for you to meet them and follow them on their journey.

The Big Changers

Early Development

EasyPeasy are creating vibrant home learning environments where talking and reading are the norm to develop language and vocabulary, and a love of learning. They have already used their simple mobile technology to reach over 40,000 parents where they are and arm them with inspiration and ideas for games and activities to play with their children. We’re supporting them to take their deep expertise on parental engagement, playful learning and early childhood development to advocate for increased resource allocation to early intervention.

Inclusion as Strength

The Difference
The Difference is a charity founded to improve the life outcomes of the most vulnerable children by raising the status and expertise of those who teach them. They want a new story on school exclusion, and they are bringing this about by delivering leadership courses to develop the people who will become tomorrow’s school leaders, and those leading today, driving improving outcomes for vulnerable learners. We’re funding them to pursue their system change agenda through external communications support, conferences and other events.

Lighthouse believes that children in care have the right to the same opportunities as everyone else – at home, school and in their communities. They will do this by creating children’s homes where children can thrive and where education is central to their holistic approach. They will develop practitioners who are able to build lasting relationships in thoughtfully designed physical spaces. Their entire approach is informed by social pedagogy – a relationship-based way of working with children. Our funding will support the advocacy, partnership building and impact assessment of this work. 

Rekindle is a supplementary school for young people aged 13-16 years old in South Manchester. The school will offer a wraparound programme of learning, support, mentoring, business engagement, topical masterclasses and career development opportunities for a targeted cohort of young people. Rekindle will deliver its activities according to its SNAP model: Support, Nourish, Achieve and Protect. Our funding will support the pilot of this project and support its CEO to share learning on how our education and learning system can better support all working class young people.

Teachers and Leaders

Big Leadership Adventure
The Big Leadership Adventure is a challenging two-year programme for teachers and school leaders based on School21’s head, heart and hand methodology. The cohort of 30 will develop in a unique and holistic way, as they become ready to push the boundaries in education, growing as leaders, thinkers and doers. We’re supporting them on the day to day running of the first programme, including all operational and activity costs.

ImpactEd is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to improve pupil outcomes and life chances by addressing what is known as the evaluation deficit – not having the means to understand whether programmes have a positive, negligible or negative impact on pupils’ lives. They work across the education sector, aiming to help schools and education organisations develop a better understanding of what is making the biggest difference, and prioritise what benefits pupils most accordingly. We’re funding them to support their school partnership and research work.

Wider System

Big Education Conversation
The Big Education Conversation (BEC) is activating local place based communities to engage them with the simple guiding question: how can we better prepare young people for their futures? They will work through self-identified local change makers who will be facilitating productive conversations that lead to useful action. Our funding will support the pilot of this project over the next 2 years.

We’ll be sharing more information on these pioneering project partners and the leaders behind them in the coming weeks – stay tuned! If you’d like to get in touch, drop us a line at