The Difference

The Difference & Impetus

Part of the Engage Fund: a partnership with The Henry Smith Charity

Impetus’ experience and strategic insight, on aspects of our operational delivery and in supporting the leadership of our organisation, are already seeing us become a stronger charity and more potent force for change on the issue of exclusion.

– Kiran Gill, CEO, The Difference


The need: Since 2013 there has been a 40% rise in the number of pupils permanently excluded from school. We know pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are four times as likely to get a permanent exclusion than their better-off peers.

Our charity partner: The Difference finds and trains tomorrow’s inclusive school leaders, working with pupil referral units and mainstream schools to reach thousands of young people across the country. They also identify inclusive best practice, share this across the education sector, and raise awareness of the challenges surrounding exclusion with key policymakers.

Our impact: With The Henry Smith Charity, we’ve partnered to provide The Difference with £360,000 to support their ambitions to get stronger, better and bigger. We’ll help them to complete their four-year pilot, testing a radical approach that will change the way we educate students at-risk of exclusion. We’ll help them to build a strategy for growth beyond the pilot backed by a strong business plan and the systems and structures they’ll need in place as they scale their impact.

Find out more

University access – what's the real story?

Headlines about the declining number of advantaged students going to Oxbridge are distracting from the real state of play in university admissions.

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What next for fair access and participation?

On Thursday 10th February 2022 we were pleased to host John Blake for his first external speaking event in his new role as Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students. A Q&A and panel discussion followed, including multiple perspectives (university, school, sector and student) on how we can enhance collaboration to support more young people on the path to success.

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Lessons from the youth hub library - it’s the details that make a difference

We were asked by the Department for Work and Pensions and the West Midlands Combined Authority to support the planning and development of one of the demonstrator youth hubs, at the Library of Birmingham.

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