The well-known heritage sector charity is looking to boost interest among pupils in art and technology amid declining appeal among secondary school-age children.
A safety smart-watch, an extendable shoe and jewellery made from vegetable peels are among a raft of young people’s ideas to win a prestigious design and technology award.
The Victoria and Albert Museum inaugural National Schools Challenge is run through the London based charity’s free digital teaching resource hub, to help design and technology secondary school teachers.
More than 3,000 pupils took part and 10 teams were invited to showcase their proposals to a panel of design and technology experts.
Those to receive awards include Camden School for Girls who created a smart-watch style wristband to help people walking alone feel safer.
Another is a multi-purpose kitchen appliance for wheelchair users, which has been developed by pupils at Woking’s Hoe Valley school.
Meanwhile, pupils from Wellingborough’s Wrenn School proposed creating extendable Dr Martens shows to help disadvantaged families with the cost of school shoes.
Another idea to impress judges was the creation of dehydrated jewellery made from fruit and vegetable peels. This won the ‘Wear’ category, which focuses on how technology can be used to harness and transform fashion.
Decline in design and tech interest
According to the museum there is a “worrying decline” in take up of design and technology in secondary schools.
Between 2003 and 2017, the number of GCSE students taking the subject in England fell by two-thirds to 150,000.
“The breadth and quality of ideas put forward, from after-school robotics clubs to science classes, underlines both the creative brilliance of young people across the country and the relevance of design to the broader curriculum,” said V&A Director of Learning and National Programmes Dr Helen Charman.
“The V&A was founded to be a ‘schoolroom for everyone’ so I’m delighted that V&A
Innovate – with a wealth of free resources inspired by our world-class collections of art, design and performance – is staying true to this mission by reaching thousands of young people and teachers in its first year.
“With creativity widely recognised as a crucial skill for the future, equipping young people with the confidence and tools needed in today’s fast-changing world – at a time when the take-up of art and design subjects at school is in worrying decline – has never been more important.”