Marking International Education Day 2024, Big Change has today announced the winners of its Big Education Challenge. This £1m prize fund launched in 2022 to support and reward ideas that have the potential to transform education and learning in the UK.

The Challenge was open to both young people and experienced innovators. From more than 280 submissions, 15 finalists were shortlisted – 13 of whom are aged between 18 and 25. The Young Foundation worked with these finalists through a bespoke learning and support programme that included peer learning and one-to-one coaching.

The winners, announced today, are 23-year-old Clover Hogan, 41-year-old Jonathan Harper, and 22-year-old Sergio Gosalvez.

Inspiring ideas

Among these three winners, Clover’s project addresses students’ climate anxiety, creating new training pathways to help young people prepare for their roles in a green economy, build their confidence, develop their skills, and identify climate solutions. Jonathan’s venture, CanTeam, is about equipping schools with a sustainable model to offer healthy and cost-effective meals to young people, their families, and the local community, coupled with promoting enrichment opportunities. And the third winner, Sergio, is building Paige Connect to upgrade existing braille writers using technology that will enable parents and carers to read the print translation on the web app and provide help and support.

These inspiring innovators address issues that matter to many thousands of young people across the country: climate anxiety; food insecurity; and special educational needs and disability. Their projects are still at the early stage of development, moving – with Big Change funding and support – to pilot stage over two years.

‘Unparalleled understanding and unrivalled passion’

The Young Foundation’s Director of Innovation and Practice, Dan Farag, said:

“It’s been a pleasure and a hugely inspiring privilege to work with all of the 15 Big Education Challenge finalists to support both them as leaders of change, and as innovators as their ideas grow and develop. The Young Foundation would like to thank and congratulate every one of them. Particular congratulations today go to Clover, Jonathan and Sergio. Their innovations demonstrate that change is possible when individuals are supported to address the issues that matter to them. Not only do these competition winners have unparalleled understanding, they bring unrivalled passion to deliver positive change, fuelled by their lived experience.”

Essie North, CEO at Big Change, said:

“In launching the Big Education Challenge, we called for ideas that could help transform education and learning and the winners are doing just that. They are challenging assumptions about what education is for, about who gets to lead change, and the nature of the solutions needed.

They have turned their experience into insight and action – testing and bringing their ideas to life. Change takes brave and passionate people working together to make it happen. We can’t wait to see the impact they will have on this and future generations.”

Interested to explore this topic further? Read Dan’s blog, ‘Big change is coming, and young people are leading the way’

Families & Youth Innovation and Investment Systems change Posted on: 24 January 2024


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