Corby students impress judges at anti-drugs competition

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Pupils from Kingswood Secondary Academy in Corby are celebrating after winning a county-wide competition to develop ideas for tackling drug and psychoactive substance use.

The grand final of the 2016/17 Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge (NCSC) was held on Monday, July 10, at Kettering’s Lighthouse Theatre.

Run in a Dragons’ Den-style format, teams from eight secondary schools gave presentations on their ideas before answering questions from the five-strong judging panel.

Kingswood’s Year 9 team was chosen as the winner for their ‘Sky High’ project. Their idea supports awareness of illegal highs with the slogan ‘The only thing that should be high is a balloon’, alongside balloons, bracelets and a filter for messaging app Snapchat.

Huxlow Science College, in Irthlingborough, came runner up with their Game of Drugs project, and Oundle’s Prince William School was awarded third place for their Triple D mobile phone app idea.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Simon Edens, who was part of the judging panel, said: “The standard of ideas was really high, with the teams demonstrating their innovation, commitment and resilience. Every group pitched their ideas so well and I was really impressed with the confidence they all showed.

“The panel found it really difficult to choose, but Kingswood are deserving winners.”

“Their idea had a very strong concept for both on and offline, their slogan was very strong and we judged it to be a sustainable idea to take forward.

“The County Schools Challenge has been a great event again this year and we’re already looking forward to next year’s theme of road safety.”

The Kingswood team of Leona Atkins, Cerys Brown, Sian Carson, Ellis Milne and Grace Parr was chosen through an in-house school competition and was supported at the final by teachers including head of Year 9 Sandra Mandziuk.

She said: “I’m ecstatic at their success. The girls did so well and it’s a great way to end the term.

“The team planned their ideas in tutor time, spending half an hour every morning, and their own time, developing their project. They held a cake sale and sold their bracelets at school so there’s been a lot of effort put in.”

The eight finalists, Chenderit School, Elizabeth Woodville School (South Campus), Huxlow Science College, Kingswood Secondary Academy, Lodge Park Academy, Manor School Sports College, Oundle School and Prince William School, were selected at the challenge’s semi-final, held at Force Headquarters last month.

A fresh theme is set each year, and the 2017/18 challenge theme is road safety. All schools interested in taking part can find out more by emailing ncsc@northants.pnn.police.uk.