SEEd Young Changmakers is a unique, year-long, transformative programme, designed for key stages 3, 4 and A level students. Groups of students chose, design and lead their own sustainability projects. The main goal of the programme is to develop a sense of agency for achieving sustainability and dealing with climate change. 

SEEd Young Changemakers is a partnership programme with individual schools and has been piloted and tested for four years at Wellington College. It is based on two decades of research and work and, rather than being a ‘tick box’ exercise, leads to the school building on its sustainability work and overcoming barriers to getting started. SEEd supports each school through online sessions, mentoring, and face-to-face meetings. There is no need for teacher training or to be an expert in sustainability.

Outcomes for Students

  • Groups of students engage in real world projects that motivate and empower them
  • Increased understanding of sustainability solutions and how to make change happen
  • Team-work and working with businesses and community groups
  • Experience of environmental volunteering
  • Gaining skills and competencies for sustainability

I had a very positive experience being part of the sustainability programme which I feel helped me develop as a leader and also my personal experience in running an effective, enjoyable and inclusive project. Having to sometimes take control of a session to make sure we were staying on agenda, giving students the same level of participation and becoming a role model in the theme was essential for the success of my project.

Kate, 17

The Problem

We know from our Attitudes to Sustainability Survey of over 3000 young people that they are worried about the future and are searching for opportunities to make a difference. Yet in many cases they lack the platforms, encouragement or resources necessary to do so. Whilst young people are mostly aware of the enormity of the issues​, it is less clear to them how systems and interrelationships drive these issues. 

The media is a powerful influence, but schools are still important sources of learning for young people. One in three teachers is seeing high levels of climate anxiety in their students, yet 70% of teachers don’t feel they have received adequate training during qualification or since, to educate students on the implications of climate change or how to address them. Schools are also overwhelmed by the quantity of different ‘packs’ offered.​  Young people aged 16 to 24 years in the UK feel more disconnected from their communities​. 48% of 37,000 students surveyed globally said they wanted to learn more real world skills.

​(Sources: Global Action Plan study 2019), Teach the Future 2022​, UK Government census 2020​, ‘Transforming Education’, World’s Largest Lesson, and UNICEF 2023)

SEEd Young Changemakers Theory of Change

Goal: Through helping schools adopt a whole institution approach to sustainability, with their students fully and meaningfully engaged, the programme will equip everyone with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to achieve a sustainable present and future.

Impact: Young people will develop the skills for, and agency to achieve a sustainable, hopeful and happy future for themselves, each other and nature. 

Outcomes for Schools

  • An opportunity to show organisational development for sustainability
  • Gaining a baseline of knowledge, values and skills in sustainability
  • Student-led sustainability projects, especially on campus and relating to issues in the local community
  • Informal careers advice and connections with local partners 
  • The beginning of the school journey to a whole institution approach to sustainability

Our Principles

Learning for sustainability

  • We believe in everyone’s capacity to engage and change the way things are.
  • We believe in making the learning you go through transparent, and we focus on facilitating this understanding.
  • We believe in starting where you are, deciding what you could do next and then reflecting on the impact of what you did.

Change is possible

  • We believe change happens at all scales.
  • We believe in doing our own action learning in scaling pilots to see what worked and why.

Giving everyone the tools and insights to continue on their own

  • The people we work with also want to know what worked and why – be they participants, institutions, organisations or sponsors and funders.
  • This helps to replicate and be part of scaling up – this is our social change model.
  • We have methods and tools for transformation, research and evidence, partnerships, volunteers and schools.

How to get started

Contact us to find out more about SEEd Young Changemakers and how the programme could be run at your school. Email admin@se-ed.org.uk and we will get back to you.

How do young people feel about sustainability, as a wider subject, and in relation to their personal lives? To answer this question we’ve brought out a series of surveys asking children, young people, and adults what they think. Over 3000 young people have taken the survey to date, in some cases the entire school has taken part. Schools find the surveys a useful baseline tool to measure the impact and outcomes of their sustainability work.

Visit the  Attitudes to Sustainability Survey page for more information

Conduction a Whole School/Institution Approach to Sustainability Audit will enable schools to:

  • gain a baseline of knowledge, values and skills in sustainability
  • identify gaps and to know where the school already has good practice in place
  • find supporters and a team to work with

Visit our Changing Places page for more information