Classroom Changemakers

An award programme for teachers and teaching assistants with great ideas to encourage creativity and problem-solving in maths and computer science.

There is broad consensus that skills such as creativity and problem-solving will be vital in ensuring young people from all backgrounds are well-prepared for life and work in the 21st century. 

This project started in January 2020 and will end in April 2020


Nesta are launching Classroom Changemakers, an award programme to unearth, celebrate and share great ideas from teachers and teaching assistants which aim to give young people the opportunity to be creative and solve problems in maths and computer science.

They will award 15 teachers, or teaching assistants, £5,000 each to their school or college to celebrate their work.

Why are they doing this?

In the UK, particularly in England, a high-stakes accountability education system puts great emphasis on the academic attainment of a young person, however there is growing demand from educators, employers and young people for the system to pay more attention to skills development. Research by the Durham Commission has made the case for more support and funding for creativity in education, including for digital creative skills that employers need. A report by Nesta on collaborative problem-solving made the case for greater focus and resource to be put into problem-solving across the curriculum, including in maths.

Many countries are finding innovative ways to develop skills like creativity and problem-solving, supporting teachers to test out new methods, build rigorous assessment tools and embed such work in the curriculum. Across the UK education system opportunities for young people to apply their learning from academic subjects to develop skills and tackle real-world issues can be limited.

Nesta believe that maths and computer science are subjects that are vital to the future, while also being areas where more can be done to give young people opportunities to be creative and solve problems in the context of real-world problems and consequently engage a broader range of young people.

Through these awards Nesta aims to:

  • Reward and celebrate the great work of teachers and teaching assistants.
  • Better understand how teachers and teaching assistants are giving young people the opportunity to be creative and solve problems in maths and computer science.
  • Share this understanding and the bright ideas unearthed by the awards with other educators.
Nesta classroom changemakers

What are they doing?

They will award 15 UK secondary maths and computer science teachers or teaching assistants £5,000 each to reward their work. The £5,000 will be awarded to schools and colleges to further their maths and computer science programmes. In April 2020 the award winners will be invited to attend an event to celebrate their award.

Nesta are looking to award teachers or teaching assistants who have developed and tried out an idea in their classroom which aims to give young people the opportunity to solve problems and/or be creative in maths or computer science.

They’re particularly keen to hear from applicants whose idea also connects maths or computer science to real-world problems and aims to inspire a diverse range of students to engage with and enjoy these subjects.

Please find further details in the selection criteria.


Key dates

  • 20 January 2020: award opens for applications
  • 6 February 2020: participation in the webinar to find out more about the award
  • 24 February 2020: deadline for submitting your application form via the online form
  • 2-6 March 2020: shortlisted applicants invited for a call
  • 16 March 2020: shortlisted applicants informed of the final decision
  • Late March – early April: case study interviews with winners
  • April: celebration event in London.

For more information visit nesta.org.uk/project/classroom-changemakers/