Young People Leading Conversation to Reshape Education

3 minute read

TL;DR – Youth Leads UK and Big Change team up to transform the education system through Big Education Conversations, a new policy report and a youth-led Project Council.

Youth Leads UK has partnered with Big Change to facilitate the youth-led Big Education Conversation’s Project Council to help reshape the future of education.

The Big Education Conversation is a collaborative initiative led by Big Change. It supports people and communities coming together to talk about what education is really for and to generate ideas and commitments for change. The initiative is led by a Project Council, made up of a diverse group of young leaders, enabling them to hold the initiative to account and guide key decisions across the campaign.

Youth Leads UK has been working with the Project Council to develop their skills and ignite their passion to make a change through these Big Education Conversation sessions, which have been taking place across England this past year. Project Council members focused on raising the voices of those who often aren’t heard – neurodivergent, transition-age students, and school leavers.

Project Council members and Youth Leads UK Alumni had their input published in a new policy report titled ‘Out of Kilter: How to Rebalance our School System’. The young leaders helped shape the policy paper and proactively shared their ambitions and ideas for an improved future in education. Published by IPPR, the paper was supported by Big Change and touches on four shifts which must take place in education to unlock the potential of all young people nationally. 

This report was officially launched at a Big Education Conversation event in Blackpool in late November, which was hosted by Project Council members, Chris and Matthew and Blackpool Youth Council member Andrew. A round-table discussion brought together key stakeholders across the education system and the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Philipson MP, who was interviewed by Project Council members.

The Big Education Conversation Project Council will continue to lead discussions which will enable this paradigm shift to take place, and Youth Leads UK aims to support members to champion a brighter and more inclusive future in education which is youth-led, youth-focused, and youth-friendly. 

Matthew, a Project Council member, said:

“The Big Education Conversation has opened my eyes and allowed me to talk to hundreds of people about their views on the education system. I have been able to improve my own learning techniques, too, by talking to others about updating the education system.”


Saeed Atcha MBE DL, CEO of Youth Leads UK, said:

“Young people, parents, educators and employers are all saying the same thing – now is the time to rethink the purpose of education. This work empowers young people from across the country to make a change, have their voices heard and acted upon and empower their full potential in their role – we’re very proud to be a part of that.” 

Caireen Goddard, Senior Director of Impact at Big Change, said:

“Young people across the globe are part of education systems that leave them ill-equipped to navigate the complex challenges within society. The Big Education Conversation starts the dialogue about creating new and better ways to support young people and their learning. We’re delighted to work with Youth Leads UK to share the power and have genuine youth voice and agency threaded throughout this initiative.”