Students ‘walk’ into the Dragon’s Den

Students from four schools across Tyne and Wear entered a Dragon’s Den-style pitch with innovative ideas around active and sustainable travel as part of Schools Go Smarter’s ‘Campaign in a Box’.

Students from four schools across Tyne and Wear entered a Dragon’s Den-style pitch with innovative ideas around active and sustainable travel as part of Schools Go Smarter’s ‘Campaign in a Box’.

Led by Living Streets, on behalf of Schools Go Smarter, Campaign in a Box is a project that allows students to develop ideas and campaigns that encourage young people to walk more often.

The Dragon’s Den-style event saw teams of students pitch their ideas to representatives from four local authorities in Tyne and Wear; Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council.

As well as the coveted title of Campaign in a Box Champions up for grabs, the winning team would also win £300 of shopping vouchers for their school.

The participating schools were Heaton Manor School (Newcastle upon Tyne), Jarrow School (South Tyneside), Monkseaton High School (North Tyneside) and Thomas Hepburn Community Academy (Gateshead).

Each team presented very different ideas. Heaton Manor School’s campaign focused on the busy road outside the school gates and the introduction of brightly coloured crossing points. As well as providing a safe place for students to cross the road, the crossing points would also make drivers aware they were approaching a school. The team’s pitch included a video to promote the scheme to fellow students.

Jarrow School chose to create a school mural in celebration of the high number of students that already walk to and from school. Designed around feet, the finished design spelt the name of the school and included members of every year group, the student council, staff members and space for future year 7 students to add their names.

Leonie Kameli, a Teacher at Jarrow School said: “It was an excellent experience for our young people as it’s not something they normally get to do in school. The competition and campaign allowed them to think about issues that impact on the wider population and not just themselves. The team did very well at the presentations and I was really proud of them.”

Monkseaton High School’s campaign used social media and a series of competitions to highlight how small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on a person’s health.

The winner on the day was Thomas Hepburn Community Academy whose campaign focused on a series of vlogs (video blogs) encouraging Year 6 students making the transition from Primary to Secondary school, to walk to and from school. They also provided friendly advice on what to expect when the students started the new school term as pupils of Thomas Hepburn Community Academy. The campaign was celebrated by judges for its use of digital media and that the students had thought long and hard about the best way to engage with the target audience.

Graeme Golledge, Assistant Vice Principal at Thomas Hepburn Community Academy said: “The process that the students were involved in during the preparation for the competition final has been tremendous in terms of building their confidence and self-esteem. They are now really excited about going back to their old Primary schools and presenting their winning performance to other children in assemblies. We are very proud of them all.”

Ed Laschet, Project Co-ordinator at Living Streets said: “The standard of all campaigns and presentations was extremely high making the judges’ decision very difficult indeed.

“What stood out for the panel was how innovative the projects were and that they focused on encouraging young people from each school to walk more often. The judges picked out the campaigning aspect of Heaton Manor’s project, the longevity & inclusion of Jarrow School’s idea and the clever use of social media by Monkseaton High.

“In the end there could only be one winner and the panel felt that the vlogs from Thomas Hepburn were not only great fun and interesting, but also really informative and likely to appeal to year 6 students making decisions about how to travel to school.”