Outdoor Recycling is Evolving

Outdoor Recycling is Evolving Nexus® Evolution City is a versatile solution for outdoor recycling in public environments. The new Nexus Evolution City is a stylish and robust multi-stream recycling unit, offering complete flexibility to meet the exact requirements of any recycling scheme. Hooded aperture options mean the model offers a durable recycling solution for outdoor environments whilst coordinating with others in the Nexus Evolution range. Entirely customisable from aperture colour to waste stream, graphics are easily applied onto either of the large sides for added personalisation. A narrow footprint ensures minimal floor space is required, whilst the symmetrical design allows the product to be approached from all sides in open spaces. A hooded aperture provides added security, resistance to the effects of bad weather, and anti-vandalism protection. Manufactured from recyclable Durapol® material for a long service life, the Nexus Evolution City will not chip or rust and is easy to clean. Neil Gilkes, National Sales Manager for Glasdon UK Limited said: “We’re very excited about the launch of Nexus Evolution City. It provides a flexible recycling solution, built to withstand the harsh outdoor conditions whilst maintaining the versatility of the internal Nexus Evolution recycling unit.

“It’s a great addition to our selection of outdoor recycling products. With so many flexible options, our customers can choose their own configuration, colours and graphics to best fit their needs.” With 60 years of Waste Management experience, Glasdon is renowned for quality, design and cost effectiveness. Benefit from easy online ordering, with Glasdon’s technical team on hand to assist with any queries here or talk to us today (01253) 600410. ENDS For more information or images, please contact us at marketing@glasdon.com.

LONDON SCHOOL BREAKS GROUND ON REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT FOLLOWING HSBC UK FUNDING

St Dunstan’s College, a co-educational independent school in Catford, London, has begun redeveloping its site this month after securing a £20m loan from HSBC UK.

The project will see the creation of a state-of-the-art new junior school, STEM building and sixth form hub, which will benefit St Dunstan’s pupils, staff and the local community. Using sustainable materials where possible, the building project will create enhanced teaching and recreational facilities and help St Dunstan’s College expand its pupil numbers amidst growing demand for places.

The innovative development of the buildings and workspaces have been designed to offer a stimulating learning environment. Upon completion, the school will boast a specialist environment for art, music and performance with the creation of a drama auditorium, as well as new Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths facilities.

This project follows the recent completion of an upgrade to the sports facilities and the introduction of two new multi-use games areas, and is part of a wider plan to significantly redevelop the site and rationalise its existing buildings into a new world class facility.

Nicholas Hewlett, Headteacher at St Dunstan’s College, said:

“This is one of the most significant developments since our foundation in 1888. The funding from HSBC UK will allow us to further embellish the view of our founders that St Dunstan’s should be ‘ahead of its present time’. We know that our state-of-the-art STEM facilities will provide an ambitious platform from which our community will continue to thrive. We are very excited to be embarking upon the next phase of our journey.”

Victoria Ritchie, Area Director for City of London, Mid-Markets Corporate Banking team at HSBC UK, said:

“We are proud to play a part in St Dunstan’s College’s most ambitious transformation to date and hope the funding from HSBC UK will allow it to reach new levels of success in the education sector.

“The loan is further demonstration of our commitment to lend to the UK education sector as we look to support both schools and universities improve the level of their facilities and education provision.”

Ian Robinson, HSBC UK’s Head of Public Sector and Education, added:

“We are delighted continue our commitment to the education sector by supporting St Dunstan’s College as they embark on their latest exciting development which will benefit the college, its students and the local community now and long into the future.”

ONLINE SAFEGUARDING: THREE THINGS SCHOOLS NEED TO KNOW

Monitoring for changes in pupil behaviour, seeking the right advice and keeping hope alive are three of the best ways schools can support their pupils in the digital world.

The advice comes from the Safer Schools Initiative, led by online safeguarding experts Ineqe Safeguarding Group in partnership with Zurich Municipal and has been released to help teachers identify and address online harms in the classroom.
 
1.It’s not about the technology, it’s about behaviour
Teachers have deep lived experience of children’s behaviour, which gives them unique insight to help them safeguard pupils online and offline. Often signs a child is being bullied, even in the online environment, will manifest in the classroom, corridors and playgrounds of the school.  When a child’s demeanour changes, it’s important teachers also consider their increased level of vulnerability in the online environment, where anonymity can shield and encourage bullying. Keep an eye out for changes to behaviour, listen to what other teachers and children say, take advice and when the time is right – talk to the child
 
2.Think twice before you take advice
The wrong advice can make things worse – so ensure information shared with parents, children, young people and the school community is contemporary, credible and relevant. The best training is built on evidence grounded in practice and real-life case studies. Credible and timely information sharing is at the heart of safeguarding. It influences how professionals respond and is critical when seeking advice and/or when escalating a case where any harmful influences go beyond the school gates.  Don’t let just anyone come into the school to talk to pupils about online safety, check their credentials.

3.Create the right environment and culture
Children need to know you understand, everyone can and does make mistakes.  They also need to know if they do make a mistake, they have a listening ear. Having a reassuring conversation with students could be worth its weight in gold, should things go wrong.  If a child is being bullied, suffering in silence because someone has created a fake profile of them or has shared an intimate image of themselves, they’ll need help.  This is why creating a safe and comfortable environment and culture in the classroom matters.  

At all costs – avoid removing hope. Hope is the fuel that helps a child when they think all is lost. Desperation can drive children to dark places. If they have faced a relentless bully or shared an image, they need to know something can be done. And it can be. What goes online doesn’t have to stay online and in many cases material can be removed or hidden from sight.

Tilden Watson, Head of Education at Zurich Municipal said: “Protecting pupil’s safety on and offline is a growing concern for our school customers.  We have been working with online safeguarding experts for over two years to help schools to fully understand the risks, as well as how to deal with problems if and when they arise.  Teaching professionals and school staff have an enormous influence on students, so it’s vital they have the appropriate tools and most up-to-date information to help them navigate online dangers. Education is central to creating more positive outcomes for young people and keeping the whole school community safer in the increasingly digital world”

Jim Gamble, online safeguarding expert and the force behind the Safer Schools app said: “Online bullying and image sharing remain monumental challenges for parents, carers, teachers and safeguarding professionals. The best way we can help young people stay safe online is by empowering them through education and teach them how to protect themselves from harm. If recent experience has taught us one thing, it’s that online issues very often have offline roots.”

The Safer Schools App was launched by Zurich Municipal and online safeguarding experts, Ineqe Safeguarding Group in 2018. Since then, it has been rolled out across thousands of state schools in the UK. The App combines the expertise of a range of safeguarding professionals to provide staff, parents and carers with greater understanding of the digital space, trends and emerging risks as well as education about frequently used online language, social media buzzwords and credible video contact.

Available free for schools insured with Zurich Municipal, the Safer Schools App offers critical advice regarding image sharing, online bullying and safer gaming. For more information visit: www.oursaferschools.co.uk

FREE Recycle Now ‘Action Packs’ for schools go live!

Recycle Now has released a new range of curriculum-linked resources for Key Stages 1 and 2 focusing on recycling and sustainability, which is proving hugely popular  with teachers.  The ‘Action Packs’ are available to download free to use as classroom, assembly or home activities. 

The resources use creative activities to help children aged 5 – 11 learn in a fun way how to take recycling into their own hands. Pupils can take part in a range of activities from  creating animal characters from recyclable materials to making a film.

Teachers can also enter a monthly prize draw to win eco-friendly goodies such as recycling -themed books and seed bombs by uploading a photograph  of their class taking part in the activity or the finished models.

Craig Stephens, Recycle Now Campaign Manager, said:

“We’ve had a fantastic response already, as more and more teachers are taking advantage of these great free resources to help them deliver the KS1 and KS2 curriculum. Children love the creative approach to recycling, as well as the opportunity to share their newly acquired knowledge.”

Teachers can sign up for the free resources here:  https://schools.recyclenow.com/

Discovery Multi Academy Trust, Plymouth, is first group in UK to win ‘Mentally Healthy Organisation Award’

Discovery Multi Academy Trust – comprised of Oakwood Primary Academy, Weston Mill Community Primary Academy, Beechwood Primary Academy and the Edison Centre – in Plymouth, Devon, is celebrating being named the first educational group in the UK to win a ‘Mentally Healthy Organisation Award’ for its commitment to pupil and staff mental health and wellbeing. The award was presented by not-for-profit The Centre for Child Mental Health and Trauma Informed Schools UK, providers of trauma and mental health training for teachers and education staff across the country.

Formed in 2016, the Trust provides education for nearly 1100 children aged from 3-11 across the Plymouth area. Additionally, the Trust has developed the Edison Centre which supports children with their social, emotional and mental health. All of the Trust’s academies have a higher than national percentage of children who are eligible for free school meals and children with special educational needs. At Weston Mill Community Primary Academy, over 41% of children are eligible for free school meals – significantly above the national average of 13.6%. All three schools in the Trust received ‘Good’ ratings by Ofsted in 2019.

Discovery Multi Academy Trust’s change of methodology in supporting its children and families has resulted in significant improvements in behaviour, academic attainment and the wellbeing of both staff and pupils across the three schools. In order to address their specific needs, Discovery Multi Academy Trust implemented a relational approach to support behaviour in order to develop a whole school cultural change to boost feelings of belonging and ensure psychological and physical safety for all. All staff members are trained in empathic modes of interaction to help support the strategy.

Environments across the schools have been carefully developed to be calm, inviting and safe, with designated places for pupils to go if they are feeling lonely, anxious or  need an emotionally available adult. Outdoor spaces and animal therapy are also used across the Trust as ways to promote alternative methods of learning and tackling difficult feelings.

Director of Education and Training at CCMH and Co-Director of TIS UK, Dr Margot Sunderland, said the Trust had met the key ‘Mentally Healthy Organisation’ criteria evidencing key interventions to support the very best staff–pupil relationships known to markedly improve learning and academic attainment. 

“You can really feel the sense of emotional well being as you walk around the school and the calm caring yet playful relationships that adults engage in at all levels promotes emotional regulation across the whole school culture,” says Suzie Franklin, Education Consultant and TIS UK Awards Assessor.  “The school’s ethos is focused around learning as the foundation for life, rather than league tables or exam results. Underpinning this is a comprehensive vision for students’ social, moral and cultural development. “There is Relationship Policy (for staff to ensure that interactions with pupils are reflective regulating and warm) and the school really understands the evidence-based role that relationships play in shaping daily experiences. 

Commenting on the Mentally Healthy Organisation Award, Alison Nettleship, Leader of the Trust, said:  “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Mentally Healthy Organisation Award for our ongoing care for the emotional wellbeing of our Trust. The approach has transformed our culture and is a result of the hard work of our dedicated team. As a result we have seen an improvement in the well-being of staff and children and this has been a key strategy for facilitating school improvement. As a Trust we believe in the importance of recognising the emotional health of our school communities and we look forward to this ongoing development in the future. Receiving this award continues to validate our approach and we are extremely proud to be recognised as a Mentally Healthy Organisation.” 

Schools can apply for a Mentally Healthy School Award or a Trauma and Mental Health Informed School Award by demonstrating that they have met a range of mental health and wellbeing-focused criteria.  The Implementation Checklist centres around four key values which underpin mentally-healthy relationships between school staff and pupils: protect, relate, regulate, reflect – and schools are marked on evidence, awareness, emerging practice and embedded practice in a range of measures under each section. The overall score determines whether the school is deemed ‘Mentally Healthy’.  To apply for a Mentally Healthy School Award or a Trauma and Mental Health Informed School Award, contact info@traumainformedschools.co.uk.

For more information on the awards, and how to apply, go to https://traumainformedschools.co.uk/awards.   

Director of Education and Training, Dr Margot Sunderland, is a child psychologist, psychotherapist, neuroscience expert and highly acclaimed author of more than 20 books in the field of child mental health.

For further information on stress, child mental health and training please call 020 7354 2913 or visit: https://www.childmentalhealthcentre.org.

Coronavirus: what steps should UK independent schools be taking with half-term next week?

  • 12,700 Chinese pupils in UK independent schools – 44% of all overseas pupils

Many Chinese pupils at UK independent schools are set to go home to mainland China or Hong Kong for February half-term at the end of this week – schools break up on February 14. Given China’s Coronavirus outbreak, Wilsons, a leading law firm advising independent schools, says that there are six things all independent schools should be doing ahead of the holiday.

  1. Talk to students and families about whether it’s necessary to go back to China

Wilsons says that while many Chinese pupils and their families will have been planning for a reunion in China during the half-term week, it’s important that schools discuss this with them to ensure they understand the risks. China has introduced exit screening at airports, and is refusing to let people with symptoms leave the country. Schools should make sure families understand that their children risk being quarantined, either in China or in the UK, for a period of weeks if they contact Coronavirus.

  1. If Chinese pupils stay in the UK, ensure they have guardianship arrangements in place

Chinese pupils at independent schools are required to have legal guardians in the UK – generally family members or friends of their parents. These individuals may not be available to take care of them if they are forced to cancel a trip back to China. If that is the case, schools must ensure that alternative arrangements are made. Bodies like AEGIS (the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) can help to make sure overseas students have an appropriate temporary guardian if necessary.

  1. Consider keeping your boarding house open and staffed during the holiday

If a number of Chinese pupils are unable to return to China as planned during the half-term holiday, schools should consider whether they should keep their boarding houses open and staffed. This is likely to be less of an administrative burden than arranging alternative guardianship for a large number of pupils at very short notice.

  1. Have a staff member at the school responsible for communicating with pupils and families

Even if the school and boarding facilities are closed during the holiday, it is important that the school remains in contact with pupils and their families as the Coronavirus situation develops. Pupils and their parents in China are likely to have urgent questions and the schools may need to contact them if mainland China, Hong Kong, the UK or the EU change their approaches to travel and quarantine.

  1. If students do travel to China, ensure medical staff at the school are trained to spot Coronavirus symptoms

For some pupils, travel to China may be unavoidable. Schools must ensure that their medical staff are trained to spot Coronavirus symptoms, as well as the correct protocol for handling a suspected Coronavirus infection. Even if no pupils are travelling to China, this is still good practice.

  1. Ensure children can still study if they have to enter quarantine

With A-level exams just three months away, schools must ensure they have a plan for pupils to continue their studies even if they are quarantined. Quarantine for Coronavirus lasts two weeks and schools must have a way to get lessons and homework to these students in a worst-case scenario.

Vicky Wilson, Senior Associate in the Education practice at Wilsons, says: “Pupils from China and Hong Kong make up the biggest single group of overseas student in the UK’s independent schools. Coronavirus is something every school must address this week.”

“The Foreign Office has advised people in the UK to avoid all but essential travel to China and independent schools must reinforce that to pupils and their families.”

“Missing a family reunion is hard on everyone but it is preferable to pupils risking their education being seriously disrupted by Coronavirus and its fallout.”

Yasemin Wigglesworth, CEO at AEGIS, adds: “Our thoughts are with all the students and families affected by the coronavirus outbreak. AEGIS accredited guardians are working hard to accommodate extra students in homestays during half-term, and Easter if necessary.”

“Some guardianship organisations are also offering residential activity programmes during the holidays due to the extra demand in accommodation. However, guardians are unfortunately unable to provide quarantine for students returning from affected areas.”

Schools invited to join The Big Legal Lesson

As part of Justice Week 2020 (24-28 February), Young Citizens is calling all schools in England and Wales to delivery of ‘The Big Legal Lesson‘. More than 40,000 young people in over 440 schools are already expected to participate in the biggest public legal education event of its kind on the fundamentals of the justice system in England and Wales.

Young Citizens created the classroom resources in partnership with global law firm Allen and Overy, so teachers in primary and secondary schools could use age-appropriate content and activities for key stages 1-4 (pupils aged 5-16). The classroom resources look at the fundamentals of the rule of law, and the role of parliament, government and the justice system. It will be an ‘entry-level’ resource, suitable for those children and young people with the least understanding of the rule of law and justice.

Young Citizens want hundreds more schools to sign up to run a legal lesson for their children during Justice Week 2020.

Tom Franklin, CEO of Young Citizens: “Every young person should have the opportunity to learn about the justice system and the rule of law at school. The law is a vital pillar of our democratic society, and understanding the law is essential to being an empowered and responsible citizen. In recent times schools have been under pressure to focus on a few core subjects, but with the new Ofsted inspection guidance schools are encouraged to provide a ‘well-balanced knowledge-rich curriculum’ and to ensure a ‘high quality of education’ for all. This gives schools a greater license to teach about subjects such as the law, through citizenship, Fundamental British Values, and SMSC education. Young Citizens strives to prepare young people for life in modern Britain and to boost access to justice – this is why we created The Big Legal Lesson.”

International law firm, Allen & Overy, sponsored the development of The Big Legal Lesson. Mark Mansell, Partner and Co-Head of Corporate Responsibility, added: “This is such an important and exciting initiative, the effects of which we hope will stay with the children involved for all of their lives. Engaging children at a young age in the fundamentals of the rule of law is the beginning of them understanding how our society runs and the crucial role they can play within it. We are thrilled to be able to help.”

The theme of Justice Week 2020 is Public Legal Education, and the intention is that the week’s engagement, will boost public understanding of the fundamentals of the justice system in England and Wales. Justice Week is jointly co-ordinated by The Bar Council, The Law Society and CILEx, and it is a collaborative effort involving voluntary sector organisations, schools, universities, legal professionals, the media and anyone with an interest in justice.

The Big Legal Lesson and Partners’ Pack can be freely accessed via the Young Citizens website. One can follow school engagement on social media using #JusticeWeek and #TheBigLegalLesson.

MakerBot Launches SKETCH Classroom for Educators and Students

SKETCH Classroom is built to be the complete 3D printing classroom setup with an ideal student-to-printer ratio that maximizes students’ access and teachers’ success in the classroom
MakerBot, a global leader in 3D printing and subsidiary of Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), today announces the launch of the MakerBot SKETCH Classroom™, designed to be the most reliable 3D printing setup for the classroom, giving students more access to 3D printing and setting up teachers for success. The SKETCH Classroom goes beyond the hardware and incorporates MakerBot’s complete education ecosystem, providing educators and students with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Teachers are facing significant challenges in preparing students for a rapidly changing job market. Skill sets such as problem-solving and design thinking are high in demand; however, many students today lack those skills. 3D printing can be used to teach critical thinking, but there is a sharp learning curve to using 3D printing in the classroom successfully. Teachers and students need to learn to use the 3D printer, integrate the technology into their curriculum and manage 3D printing resources in the classroom. In addition, the challenging printer-to-student ratio in a classroom requires a different workflow setup for an effective deployment. The SKETCH Classroom addresses the challenges of 3D printing in the classroom with a solution that includes interactive certification courses for both teachers and students that trains them on how to use the MakerBot SKETCH 3D printer, create and implement engaging curriculum, and teach design thinking and problem-solving with 3D printing. The SKETCH Classroom offers a unique workflow solution that addresses the printer-to-student ratio challenge and provides the best setup for effective deployment. The SKETCH firmware and print management software are natively connected to MakerBot Cloud™ platform and incorporate a full suite of 3D printing applications. The SKETCH Classroom software suite provides print design, preparation, and management as a single solution out of the box. Students are able to submit their designs via MakerBot Cloud through their MakerBot account on my.makerbot.com, and teachers can seamlessly manage, queue up and monitor their students’ 3D printing projects. This is designed to be the best 3D printing setup for the classroom, making 3D printing more accessible to students, and setting educators up for 3D printing success. The SKETCH Classroom includes: A set of two (2) MakerBot SKETCH 3D printers, with each featuring a fully-enclosed printing chamber, a heated and flexible build plate, a particulate filter, touchscreen capabilities, on-board camera, and Wi-Fi capabilities. Two (2) teachers’ and ten (10) students’ licenses for the MakerBot Certification™ programs, which certify teachers in printer operations and curriculum creation and educates students in 3D printing, innovative design thinking, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. MakerBot provides the only ISTE-Certified 3D printer training programs with interactive and media-rich content, as well as applicable professional development credits for teachers. MakerBot Cloud, a fully-connected platform that provides teachers with seamless 3D printing file management, allowing them to manage, monitor, queue, and print students’ projects from any browser. MakerBot Cloud is integrated with leading CAD design software, including TinkerCad®, Autodesk® Fusion® 360, and Onshape®. Thingiverse Education™, access to over 600+ 3D printing lesson plans created by educators and designed for all grade levels and subjects, and the largest active 3D printing educator community. Industry-leading support from MakerBot’s support team comprised of 3D printing experts. Compatibility with MakerBot PLA and Tough™ materials; available in a wide range of colors, including yellow, blue, red, white, and grey. Each printer comes with one (1) extra build plate, one (1) snips, and one (1) spatula. “With SKETCH, we are changing the way 3D printing is used in schools and advancing the possibilities of learning to boost student innovation. We believe that SKETCH Classroom is the best 3D printing setup for the classroom, with an ideal student-to-printer ratio, making 3D printing more accessible to students, and setting educators up for 3D printing success,” said Nadav Goshen, CEO, MakerBot. With its 3D printers in over 7,000+ schools across North America alone, MakerBot is one of the leading providers of 3D printing solutions for education. MakerBot’s education ecosystem is the most comprehensive on the market, providing thousands of educators with the tools and resources they need to successfully integrate 3D printing in their curricula. SKETCH is easy to use and set up, and does not require tinkering, allowing teachers to spend more time integrating 3D printing within classroom learning. With a built-in particulate filter and enclosed chamber, the MakerBot SKETCH Classroom is safe to use in the classroom. Additionally, SKETCH is UL-Certified. MakerBot has tested the SKETCH 3D printer for over 46,000 hours for system reliability, subsystem, and print quality testing. Full MakerBot Cloud integrations and additional features are planned for the coming months. SKETCH Classroom is expected to begin shipping on February 17, 2020 in North America, with availability in other regions shortly thereafter. SKETCH Classroom will be showcased for the first time at the 2020 TCEA Convention & Exposition, at the MakerBot booth #2514, February 4-6, 2020, in Austin, Texas. To learn more about SKETCH Classroom, visit www.makerbot.com/sketch.

A third of teachers are worried about pupil mental health and wellbeing, according to new report

  • New report looks at the immediate and emerging risks facing schools
  • Managing pupil mental health and wellbeing is the biggest risk to schools in the short- and long-term
  • Cyber-bullying, recruitment and retention of staff and managing the mental health and wellbeing of staff are also major concerns, while keeping pace with digital change is a longer term risk

Pupil mental health is the biggest risk facing the UK’s schools, according to the Education Barometer, a new report from specialist educational insurer Ecclesiastical.

A third (33%) of head teachers and senior school leaders surveyed cited managing mental health and wellbeing of pupils as the top short-term risk they face, along with cyberbullying (32%) and managing mental health and wellbeing of staff (31%). A fifth of respondents said that grooming and child sexual exploitation were safeguarding issues faced by their schools.

The Education Barometer finds increasing expectations from Government, parents and even pupils is creating a pressurised environment in schools that is having a disturbing impact on the mental health of pupils and teachers.

Children as young as 12 are suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and eating disorders and almost half of teachers have seen a rise in stress and depression in children in the last five years.

Four out of five agree that the current system is too focused on measurement and targets, while more than a quarter (28%) feel unsupported when it comes to retaining and recruiting teaching staff.

Almost three-quarters of respondents (71%) agree that parents are more likely to criticise the school than five years ago, while two-thirds agree that the media paints a negative picture of the school system.

The research, carried out by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical and released to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week, takes a measured look at the risks facing the sector, bringing together insight from the public and private sectors.

It covers mental health, digital education and the changing political and regulatory landscape and the effects they are having on schools and those working in them.

“Britain has an internationally renowned school system, full of committed and passionate individuals but it is currently in the eye of the perfect storm,” says Faith Kitchen, Ecclesiastical’s education director.

“Increasing pressure on school staff and pupils to achieve the right grades is resulting in mental health and wellbeing challenges, against a backdrop of huge political and economic uncertainty. Moreover, they’re being faced with ever-increasing and complex compliance and duties.”

It’s not all bad news though. Most school leaders agree that helping children to fulfil their potential and providing a rounded education is more important than results alone, with just a quarter (28%) saying the purpose of a school is to achieve exam success.

“What particularly struck me was how there were many more similarities than differences between our schools in the types of risks they face,” said Kitchen, “We hope the report provides some potential solutions and a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fruit waste jewellery, a playground for stressed pigs and extendable Dr Martens shortlisted for V&A national schools challenge

Ten projects put forward by teams of 11-14-year-olds from schools across England from Middlesbrough to Woking, have been shortlisted for the inaugural V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge. Tasked with creating a solution for a real-world issue, pegged to themes inspired by the V&A’s exhibitions programme, the wide scope of entries submitted range from solutions for tackling homelessness, and food waste to women’s safety. 

The entries were shortlisted by a leading industry judging panel including chef and Masterchef judge Monica Galetti; fashion designer Phoebe English; COO of Brompton Bikes Paul Williams; Teacher of Product Design at Monk’s Walk School in Hertfordshire, James Singler; and V&A Director of Learning and National Programmes, Helen Charman. The judging panel will also choose the winning team as part of a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitching and awards day on 2 March 2020. 

The judging panel’s expertise across the fashion, food and travel industries reflects the three themes for this year’s challenge. The first theme Go, asks how new approaches to design can support the movement of people, things and ideas. The second, Eat, asks for ideas on sustainable eating and widening access to affordable and healthy food. The third, Wear, asks how technology might be harnessed to transform the future of fashion. 

Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programmes, said: “The V&A launched V&A Innovate to create meaningful resources for teachers rooted in industry, to inspire students in the incredible breadth of D&T as a subject and career pathway and to nurture their creative talents. We’re thrilled that V&A Innovate has reached over 3,000 students across the country in its inaugural year, with an extraordinary quality of projects submitted – we very much look forward to meeting the finalists in person in the coming weeks as part of the pitching and awards day.” 

The projects shortlisted for the inaugural V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge Award are: 

• Camden School for Girls, Camden A ‘fitbit’ style safety wristband for teenage girls with a panic button and specialised route planner that avoids potentially dangerous areas. 

• Coundon Court, Coventry A community centre with a public allotment and cookery school to promote healthy eating. 

• Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Darwen

A padded jacket for the homeless with additional pockets for belongings, which could also act as extra insultation.  

• Harris Academy, Purley Concept designs for a playground for pigs, based on research that stressed pigs produce a poorer quality of meat. 

• Hoe Valley School, Woking (2 entries) Project one – A multi-purpose kitchen appliance to create more space for people living in smaller homes. 

Project two – A device to keep cyclists dry and encourage more people to cycle. 

• King Ecgbert School, Sheffield An environmentally friendly cycling bus.

• Northfield School & Sports College, Billingham A plastic prevention campaign connected to local shopping habits.

• Trinity School, Newbury Dehydrated jewellery made from fruit and vegetable peels to reduce food waste. 

• Wrenn School, Wellingborough An extendable school shoe, based on research at a local Dr Martens’ factory to reduce waste and tackle the affordability of school shoes

Phoebe English, fashion designer, said: “I really enjoyed seeing every single entry and was thrilled so many students approached ‘wear’ as a category. Both my parents were art teachers and I now lecture up and down the country at many different fashion universities, so I have seen first-hand how much design education has been eroded in recent years. It’s highly alarming and an initiative like V&A Innovate has never been more important – our collective imagination to re-design a new type of future has never been more urgent than it is now.”

James Singler, Teacher of Product Design, Monk’s Walk School, said: “What’s astounding is the breadth of ideas – showing insight, thought and eloquence – reminding us that we must improve how we keep people safe and lessen our impact on the earth, and that innovation evolves from inspired people, whatever their age. Judging the projects for the V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge demonstrated to me I should be keeping my food happy and wear the packaging it comes in – bonkers at a first glance but undoubtedly truly fresh ideas. We can and should all learn from their unrestrained thinking.”

The challenge forms a key part of the museum’s digital teaching resource hub, V&A Innovate. First launched in May 2019, its teaching toolkits are refreshed every year. Created with teachers and designers, the programme introduces young people to design principles used in industry and in the Design and Technology (D&T) GCSE.