Our Festival of Ideas events involve schools from across the region coming together for an action-packed day of problem-solving, collaboration and skills-building. They are always highly enjoyable events and this year has been no different, with our first Festival of Ideas of 2019 kicking off at Copthall School on Thursday 21st March. Joining Copthall School was Mill Hill School, The Reach Free School, St Clement Danes School and Whitefield School.
100% of students and adults said they enjoyed the Festival of Ideas.
In preparation for the ‘dragon’s den’ style pitch later in the day, students participated in a public speaking workshop and practised some of the key features of an effective pitch, such as eye contact, confident body language and a clear, loud voice. It was fantastic to see the transformation of so many of the students in their confidence speaking in front of the group.
71% of students said they feel more confident talking to new people.
Students were then tasked will the challenge of generating solutions to a variety of social issues currently affecting their school or community in their groups. These issues included young people’s mental health, waste in schools, encouraging young people to vote, elderly loneliness and how to improve female representation in STEM subjects. This intense ideation session saw multitudes of creative ideas pouring from mind to paper - the ultimate challenge was then to decide on their best idea to pitch to the dragons…
This year, we were delighted to have Evelyn Forde, Headteacher of Copthall School, Camilla Elwood from Unlimited and Caitlin Ross from The Big Change as our dragons. Courtesy of Big Change, we were delighted to offer tickets to the Nelson Mandela Exhibition as well as a small cash prize for the winning idea!
As always, we were incredibly impressed by the standard of the ideas and the delivery of the pitches. Ideas ranged from integrating politics into the curriculum to encourage more political engagement of the 18-25 age group, to the elderly joining student lessons once a week lessons to combat loneliness. However, the winners were a group from St Clement Danes, who impressed the dragons with their high-energy pitch, which included a rap!
One of the main highlights of the day was the marshmallow and dried spaghetti tower challenge at lunch. It was truly impressive to see the dedication, teamwork and creativity of the students, as they raced one another to build the best tower. The competition was fierce, with groups attempting to distinguish their tower by adding additional features, such as sweets. The winning tower won the heart of the judge with its delightfully endearing “everyone is welcome” flag on top.
Finally, we are always looking to develop the skills of our Franklin Scholars in line with our ABCD shield. We were delighted to hear the range of skills developed at the Festival of Ideas this year (including the new addition of architecture skills!).
92% of students agreed that they had developed key social and emotional skills.