The core of the SiS Catalyst project was the different ‘case studies’ of children as change agency in action. These eight projects acted as pilot studies of how to take work with children in different and contrasting ways.

There were a series of messages for policymakers coming out of the Change in Action part of the SiS Catalyst project:

  • Create critical mass if you want innovation and learning to occur.
  • Embrace diversity in how learning is delivered. The aim is not to find ‘the best’ programme. There will not be one optimum approach.
  • Incentivise partnership between government funded agencies (in particular schools) and those working in change agency. The better outcomes from this aspect of the Catalyst project came from new partnerships across sectors.
  • Accept unexpected outcomes. Some of the most positive changes were ones that the organisations did not expect.

Finally, recognise the extent of challenge. In the case of the SiS Catalyst project most of the organisations attempted to reach out to new groups of learners: which in the majority of cases meant those from groups experiencing some form of social marginalisation. If a project/organisation is not explicitly created to target such groups then to do so is a major challenge. As several recognised here, organisations need to do different things, not just deliver their existing programmes differently.

There is a very powerful message emerging from the core of the Catalyst project:

If you create space in which children as change agency organisations can innovate and the support to help them do so, then they can change what they do, how they do it and who benefits.