Making a change

April 05, 2019

What would parents and children change about the world? We reveal what the UK said in our nationwide survey…

A chance to change the world infographic

The Queen, closely followed by Prince Harry, has been crowned the person who has made the most positive change in the world according to British children. In third place came creator of Harry Potter, JK Rowling, while UK parents listed environmental conservationist and presenter, Sir David Attenborough as top, followed by tech gurus, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs!

The study of 2,000 parents[1] and 1,000 children[2] was commissioned to celebrate the theme of this year’s Explore Learning Writers’ Awards – “a chance to change the world”.  Children have until Sunday 5th May to impress judge, Alesha Dixon, with a 500-word story to meet the star and win a trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for their school!

A cure for cancer topped the poll of both parents and children of the UK as the one thing they would change in the world if they could. For adults, this was followed by encouraging countries to work together and banning weapons, equality for all and using less plastic. For children, saving animals from extinction was number two on the list, followed by giving everyone a super power, using less plastic and then banning weapons.

Interestingly, the research found that more mums would ban weapons than dads (31% vs 24%) and use less plastic (29% vs 19%) while dads are more inclined to back free movement for everyone across the world (19% vs 13%) AND give everyone a superpower (14% vs 10%)!

More parents in London would change the world by saving water compared to other regions, whereas more parents in Yorkshire and the Humber would share all money equally.

Top ten people who have made a positive change in the world according to children:

  1. The Queen
  2. Prince Harry
  3. JK Rowling
  4. Theresa May
  5. Christiano Ronaldo
  6. Prince William
  7. Ariana Grande
  8. Sir David Attenborough
  9. Lionel Messi
  10. Donald Trump

And parents:

    1. Sir David Attenborough
    2. Bill Gates
    3. Steve Jobs
    4. Prince Harry
    5. The Queen
  1. JK Rowling
  2. Prince William
  3. Elon Musk
  4. David Beckham
  5. Meghan Markle

When asked what has made a negative change on the world, children listed smoking as the top option, followed by air pollution and then plastic. Parents’ views were of a similar vein, listing pollution as the worst change, deforestation and then the use of so much plastic.

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning said: “It’s fascinating to see what we would change in the world if we could. Top of the list is a cure for cancer. It would be hard to find a family that hasn’t be affected by cancer in some way, so it’s touching to see that both adults and children want to see this eradicated.  Interestingly, the royals resonate more highly with children, with the Queen and Price Harry coming out top when it comes to those who have made a difference. Sir David Attenborough’s incredible work on protecting the environment sees him come out number one with adults.

“Talk to your child about how they would change the world to give them inspiration to write a story for this year’s Explore Learning Writers’ Awards.  The team at Explore Learning and this year’s judge, Alesha Dixon, can’t wait to read what transformative characters and plotlines they come up with.”

Find out about the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards today!


[1] Of children aged 4 to 14 in Britain

[2] Aged 4 to 14

Discover more interesting posts from our blog

Meet the National Young Writer of 2018!

June 18, 2018

Congratulations to 8-year-old Mia Falatoori from Churchfields Junior School in London who has been crowned the winner of our National Young Writers’ Awards 2018! The...

Read this post

Level Up! The keys to transitioning to a new class.

March 19, 2018

Moving up a year group can be a source of anxiety or excitement, but there are three transitions that are often pointed to by teachers as more challenging than other...

Read this post