What is the Make a Difference Challenge?

The Make a Difference Challenge is a child-led social action programme for KS2 children. It provides pupils with an opportunity to identify and research a social or environmental issue that they feel passionate about, then make a difference through awareness-raising, fundraising or taking practical action. The project kicks off with a training day for participating teachers, then teachers facilitate the project back in school, supporting children to choose a local, national or global issue that they would like to make a difference to and helping them to bring about some form of positive change.

"The children have gained a real desire to make a difference, they are already talking about what we could do to help our community next year!" Participating teacher, 2019 Durham Make a Difference Challenge

Teacher Training Day - Tuesday 7th January 2020 - Fetter Lane, EC4A 1A

Participating teachers attend a full day's CPD certified training session to introduce them to social action and how it supports pupils’ SMSC learning, personal development and a rich curriculum as well as equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to scaffold the project and facilitate children's learning. Teachers are also provided with access to a bank of online resources, including lesson plans and case studies, and our online training to support their own professional development, enable them to revisit sections of the training day, and help them to facilitate engaging, meaningful projects.

Sign-up to take part and attend the training day

How much time does it take?

The programme is most effective when run during lesson time as a cross-curricular class project. Typically, schools spend around 10-20 hours on project-related activities but these might take place in literacy lessons (e.g writing a letter to their MP would support persuasive writing) or other subjects.

Lessons can take place every week over a period of time, or be delivered through drop-down days over a few weeks, perhaps as an after-SATs project. Some schools run the programme as an after-school club or with their School Council but it is important to ensure there is enough contact time with the group to develop an effective project.

How do children and schools benefit?

Independent evaluation of the project has shown it increases pupils' empathy, problem-solving and understanding of their community as well as helping them to develop a more positive outlook. Teachers report that less academic and harder-to-engage pupils particularly benefit from taking part as the project puts learning into a real-life context making it more meaningful for children. Many schools also find the project helps them to deepen relationships with parents and the wider community, supporting community cohesion.

"Children rarely have the opportunity to 'own' a project and make all the decisions." Participating teacher, 2019 Buckinghamshire Make a Difference Challenge

In October 2018 we were awarded the status of Impact Partner for Generation Change - a new certification scheme to recognise youth social action organisations that are deeply committed to learning about, and improving, their outcomes through a shared impact framework. To achieve the status, we had to complete a 12-month accelerator scheme that included independent validation by Dartington Service Design Lab.

How much does it cost?

The London Make a Difference Challenge Premium Package costs just £195 per school. This includes:

    • a whole-day training session for up to 3 teachers per school
    • an annual licence and resources to enable you to deliver the Make a Difference Challenge programme in your school
    • access to our CPD certified online training course so teachers can revisit elements of the training day.

Sign-up to take part and attend the training day