Search on for classroom changemakers: teachers nurturing the next generation of problem solvers
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Nesta, the innovation foundation, is launching Classroom Changemakers, a new award programme to celebrate maths and computer science teachers who are giving young people the chance to get creative and solve problems.

The UK has recently opted out of PISA’s 2021 international test for creative thinking and a report from the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index found that the UK has fallen from tenth to 15th place in the global education rankings for school systems around the world that best develop young people’s “future skills”. Meanwhile countries including Singapore and Canada are prioritising these skills in recognition of the changing global economy.

The UK’s approach to education prioritises academic attainment over skills like creativity and problem solving, at a time where there is a growing demand from educators, employers and young people for the education system and curriculum to support the development of a broader set of skills.

Nesta’s Classroom Changemakers are people that are turning the tide and incorporating these skills as part of their teaching. The award aims to celebrate the teachers that are helping students to meet the demand that there will be for these skills in the future workplace, and to ensure that young people from all backgrounds are prepared. Teachers and teaching assistants will be recognised for finding exciting ways of giving students the chance to use a broader range of skills.

Applications for the award are open from today (20 January) on the Nesta website until 24 February 2020. Shortlisted, applicants will be interviewed in March, with the winners being announced at an awards ceremony in April. Fifteen UK secondary maths and computer science teachers or teaching assistants will be awarded with £5000 each for their work, with the prize going towards furthering their subjects at their schools.

Applicants are encouraged to show how they have tested their ideas in the classroom, the impact on young people, and what inspired them to develop it. There will be a particular interest in schemes that link maths or computer science to real-world problems or inspire a diverse range of students to engage with these subjects.

Theo Knott, Programme Manager, Education, Nesta, says, “Currently, our education system is skewed towards exams and has a knowledge focus. We want to celebrate teachers that are developing the broader skills that students from all backgrounds will need to succeed. More must be done to increase high-potential provision for future skill development, especially through backing innovative ideas.”

Nesta has a history of scaling innovations that aim to improve young people’s skills; for example through the Future Ready Fund programme and Maths Mission. Nesta has also supported initiatives focused on computer science, encouraging young people to learn coding and successfully called for government to get programming and computer science added to the curriculum through the influential Next Gen report.


For media enquiries please contact Sonia Foday: [email protected]/020 7438 2543

About Nesta:

Nesta is a global innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better.

We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We've spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we've applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts.

Nesta is based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment. We work with partners around the globe to bring bold ideas to life to change the world for good.

Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833