Nearly 300 Year 9 pupils at the school, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), tackled the ‘RGWM challenge’, where they were tasked with producing ideas to help regenerate the West Midlands with the support of business mentors.
Lined up as ‘dragons’ were local businesses leaders, while the region’s Mayor, Andy Street, provided a video welcome to launch the day, and promised to review their best ideas too.
Then the students were split into small groups, supported by their form tutors, and encouraged to come up with original, sustainable ideas that could improve the lives of local people.
The best group from each form then presented their project in the hall in front of the entire year 9 assembly and the assembled Dragons who chose an overall winner.
The winner was brilliant mental health project called ‘mindful motors’, which would combine a tour of Birmingham’s most inspirational sights with access to support and advice.
Students wanted to convert a double decker bus, fitting it out with a quiet zone, advice centre, music and library to provide a mobile mental health resource that could tour the region.
Councillor Alex Yip said: “All the guests were impressed with the engagement of the students, their behaviour, and the inclusion for Special Educational Needs students was also noted.
“The winning project was a very impressive initiative to redesign a double decker tour bus for mental health support.
“It was saddening to hear how mental health was such a priority for students and how so many have struggled but had to make do.”
The mentors who gave up their time were Ben Keefe of AYK Capital , David Hulson and Kal Gurung of Mott MacDonald, Dawn Hall of Jericho, Rebecca Horner of Walsall College, Brian Davies, of UK Sepsis Trust, Careers Enterprise Advisor Ken Hutchinson, Chris Brewerton of Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce, Katharine Olie of Pathway CTM and councillor Yip, who is also a Trustee on the ATLP board.
Mr Brewerton added: “We are really supportive of Arthur Terry, and it’s great to be involved in encouraging the next generation of Sutton business people, as well as out chosen charity UK Sepsis Trust, who are also taking part.”
The Trust’s Brian Davies said: “We were delighted to be involved because a great deal of our work is done through schools – we have a programme that raises awareness and involves 375 schools across the country. Days like this are great for helping students develop the kind of soft skills they will need in life and we’re very happy to support.”