Start The Change

What is the Start The Change project?

Together with partners from Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, we’re working with teachers and schools to understand young people’s views on extremism and turn their ideas for developing and promoting a more cohesive society into active citizenship projects.

Through Start the Change, Think Global is listening to the views of young people and supporting teachers to create safe spaces for discussing often difficult and controversial topics around radicalisation, diversity and tolerance.

The project so far

In the first part of 2017, we carried out a major research project with students in schools across London and North East England to find out what they know and think about extremism, as well as how they want to change the world around them.

The research report “Shifting the Agenda on Education and Extremism” was launched in London’s City Hall in July 2018 at a Think Global Roundtable event- “Can global learning help prevent extremism?”.
You can view the roundtable summary here.

You can view the summary of the research report here. The full research report can be viewed here

Together with our partners HEC Global Learning and Durham County Council, we worked with teacher trainers from across Europe to turn the research insights into teacher training and classroom resources exploring themes like identity, discrimination and extremism.

In November 2017, we brought together around 20 teachers from our partner schools with educational professionals for a residential course. Thanks to EU funding, all the teacher training is completely free for schools, with funding provided for cover staff and expenses.

Teachers told us they really valued the chance to share ideas and discuss projects with colleagues from different communities across the UK. While their contexts may be very different, the challenges around extremism and discrimination have many similarities. The course included a session from the Tower Hamlets Prevent Officer and teachers also valued finding out more about how extremist organisations manipulate social media to persuade others to join them.

Diversity Today Award
We are collaborating with NASUWT’s Arts and Minds to run a UK wide art competition. NASUWT has been running this art competition for over 10 years, with the aim of celebrating cultural diversity.

We have a special recognition award within the arts and minds competition, which champions young people celebrating diversity and identity through their creative work. This award will celebrate the intertwined nature of our histories, cultures and multiple identities by acknowledging pieces which inspire a more cohesive society within the UK.

Think Global’s Programme Manager was on the panel of judges to decide on the 12 finalists, in October 2018. Gok Wan will be choosing the final winners.

 School Projects

Teachers from the schools involved in Start the Change received the teacher training and went on to creating projects with their students. These included discussing various topics from identity to food waste. Here are two animations of the school projects at Barking Abbey in London and Parkside in County Durham. 


We also visited two of the schools involved in the Start the Change project to film them in action. ELAM have created a series of podcasts on controversial issues and Barking Abbey created zines and a music video.

You can view the Start the Change video here.

We’re excited to be working with the following schools:

What’s next for Start the Change?

We are in the last phase of the Start the Change project – it has been an incredible journey and we have met some amazing teachers and inspiring young people who are paving the way for a better world through their critical and creative thinking.

We have documented the wonderful work that the schools have done as part of this project. These case studies have been put together with those from our partners in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia into a “Book of Good Ideas” which will be published later this year.

There will also be a final conference which will take lessons from this project for future initiatives. With the same activities happening in several countries across the EU we’re looking forward to sharing ideas and comparing projects with schools a thousand miles away – discovering how much we all have in common.