Great British Make Off

Ben Fogle reveals the winners of the Great British Make Off design and technology competition at the Design Museum, London

Adventurer and broadcaster Ben Fogle recently unveiled the winners of the first ever ‘Great British Make Off’ national schools design and technology competition at the Design Museum in London.

The competition, run by the Design & Technology Association, the UK’s only professional association for all those involved in design and technology education, challenged students aged between 11 and 14 (Key Stage 3) to create design concepts with the potential to transform Britain’s latest sporting passion: cycling.

A panel of experts, headed by legendary design guru, Dick Powell sifted through more than 150 entries to select four national winners:

  • ‘Turn Bright’ – cycling gloves with built-in indicators to reduce road accidents. Neve Upton (Bideford College) – watch her entry here 
  • ‘Shock Tyres’ – a bicycle tyre that needs no air and therefore never goes flat – Jay Earnshaw, Rachel Creer, Ella Richards, and Iliya Ivanov (Sale Grammar School) – watch their entry here 
  • ‘Find My Bike’ – device and accompanying smartphone app, which allows cyclists to locate and track their bicycle if it has been stolen or misplaced. Ramneek Ahluwalia (Beal High School) – watch her entry here
  • ‘Spa Dew’ – a protein shake containing five different fruits and vegetables to give cyclists a boost of energy. Paige Dean, Shauna Scott and Airann Richards (Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy) – watch their entry here

Ben Foglecommented: “Having rowed the Atlantic Ocean and crossed Antarctica on foot, I can testify first-hand to the extraordinary contribution British designers, engineers and inventors play in helping push the boundaries of human endeavour. Competitions like the Great British Make Off shine a light on the practical and creative skills which are part of the UK’s DNA.”

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Winners spent the day at the design headquarters of judging panel organisations includingfolding bike creators Brompton, Team Sky kit supplier Rapha, cycle safety innovators Blaze, and celebrity chef Steve Walpole. Here they developed their ideas into stunning 3D visualisations as well as working prototypes.

Richard Green, CEO of the Design & Technology Association, said:“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve had to the first ever Great British Make Off, from both teachers and students alike, and it’s encouraging to see that passion come to life in the prototypes our winners have produced with their mentors.

“Design and technology is absolutely fundamental to the growth of UK plc, but remains chronically undervalued and widely misunderstood at the highest levels.

“Britain pioneered D&T teaching in schools as a way to address the skills requirements of the 21st century, but we now face the very real prospect of the subject disappearing entirely from schools in the next five years. To my mind, this would be a huge and damaging backward step.”

To enter the Great British Make Off, students created two-minute videos presenting their cycling design ideas across one or more of four design and technology disciplines: textiles, product design, systems and control, and food technology. All entries to the competition can be viewed at https://gbmakeoff.co.uk/entries/.

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