Kettering pupils’ bright road safety idea

Pupils, police and Kettering mayor James Burton at the bag launch yesterday. NNL-191005-142655005
Pupils, police and Kettering mayor James Burton at the bag launch yesterday. NNL-191005-142655005

A bright idea by Kettering pupils led to the launch of a new range of road safety bags.

Students from Isebrook SEN College in Kettering were runners-up in the 2018 Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge (NCSC), in which they won £500 from the office of the police, fire and crime commissioner to further their ‘IseBright’ school bags and backpacks project.

Each year the NCSC has a different theme on which pupils from schools across the county are tasked with coming up with social enterprise ideas to educate and help keep their peers safe.

Last year the theme was road safety and Isebrook’s project was based around the idea of using reflective strips and designs on a range of school bags.

The aim was to create something that would help young people be more visible to traffic when out and about, but would also be something trendy and attractive that people would want to buy.

The bags were sourced from various manufacturing companies and then adorned with the printed designs and reflective strips with help from facilities and equipment at the school’s social enterprise centre, The Studio in Lower Street, Kettering.

The range of bags was officially launched during an event at The Studio yesterday (Thursday, May 9).

Isebrook’s executive headteacher Kevin Latham said: “Our students have produced a fantastic product, developing vital skills for employment, from designing a product through to manufacture and selling.

“We are so proud of their accomplishment and if the bags save one life then they have met their goal.”

NCSC, which is now in its 10th year, usually starts with participating schools carrying out their own in-house competitions.

One team from each school is then identified to take part in the semi-finals, presenting to a Dragons’ Den style panel alongside teams from other schools.

The best teams from the semis are then put forward for the grand final, where they have the opportunity to win £2,000 or a runner-up prize to enable them to progress their idea, and the right support to turn their social enterprise project into a reality.

PCSO Alex Franklin, who is on the NCSC steering group and also works directly with the school, said: “The young people in this team worked hard on their idea and they should be so proud of themselves that they have created a real product which could potentially keep their peers safe on the roads.

“At all times of year it is so important for pedestrians and other road users to be bright and be seen, so encouraging young people to wear these bags with pride can only help to keep them a little safer.”

IseBright bags are available from The Studio or from KarlSports in Kettering.