Participatory Budgeting in Schools


Clients. Partners. 


Participatory Budgeting in Schools

in partnership with Shared Future CIC

I am very pleased to be working with the UK’s leading specialist on Participatory Budgeting and a range of stakeholders to found this schools-led programme consistent with the 2019 inspection framework. The project was formally launched on 20 May 2019 with a Co-Creative Conversation in Birmingham.

The project is informed by a losely affilated network of practicioners representing various interest groups (including subject leads and governors). As a part of this investigative, slow-burn approach, Sean Harford, National Director for Education, kindly discussed with me the potential challenges of the project from an Ofsted perspective at the organisations Birmingham HQ, available here.


Participatory Budgeting has a global track record as a successful approach to social action and has been extensively used in schools abroad. In the context of schools, Participatory Budgeting would enable learners to present proposals and vote on them to spend limited funds on issues that matter to them. In terms of a truly comprehensive approach to education, Participatory Budgeting in schools will be one of the most important initiatives in the 2020s:

  • presents a hands-on approach to merge "hard" knowledge with traditional "soft" targets such as civic responsibility, character education and citizenship;
  • seamlessly merges specific subject learning with direct application;
  • is 100% scalable, flexible terms of timeframe & outcomes;
  • accommodates any budget;

  • gives the learning process purpose and narrative;
  • supports curriculum design and development;
  • empowers learners by engaging them in high-stake decisions with real consequences;
  • simplifies and organises engagement with parents, social and cultural organisations, businesses, universities and other external stakeholders;
  • has a built-in improvement and reflection life cycle that is replicable across key stages;
  • enhances transparency and shared responsibility for school and education beyond the classroom;
  • gives governors a strong new role in supporting leadership and implementing the school's vision.

For a quick introduction to the concept, read Participatory Budgeting in Schools? #1; The Stakes and the Stakeholders.

To join the conversation, follow #PBschoolsUK on Twitter and read the other dedicated articles which reiterate the deliberations in the founding workshop in Birmingham on 20 May.

In the course of this project I am drawing heavily on the expertise of University of Newcastle and my contacts in the Enterprise Education circuit. In tandem, we are investigating alternative forms of assessment, such as digital badges, as a means to create a more rounded evaluation of students beyond grades. If your school or organisation would like to get involved, contact me now to learn more.