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King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy wins Next Generation Awards

On Thursday 6th October, students, parents and business professionals from across Birmingham came together at Highbury Hall for the Birmingham Civic Society’s Next Generation Awards finals.

Now in its 18th year, the Next Generation Awards bring young people together from Birmingham Secondary Schools across the city in teams to devise a plan to improve one aspect of life for people living in Birmingham and never has this been more relevant and important to our communities.

On the evening, each of the five finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of business and education professionals.

This year’s winning project was from a team of students from King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy, who presented ‘Re-Uniform’, a project which plans to redistribute school uniform no longer needed by pupils to those within their school most in need. The students were awarded the ‘Newman Prize’ of £1500 and mentoring support to help develop their idea into a reality.

The Re-Uniform project was awarded by a panel of judges which included; Chris Whittington, who leads the Education Law Team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, Alison John, Director of Communications and Marketing at Newman University Birmingham, Kavan Hawker, a Member of Birmingham Civic Society Citizenship Committee, and Vice Chair and Treasurer for a housing organisation in Harborne called 4 Towers TMO.

Mrs Nijjar, Assistant Head of Humanities at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy, comments: "When the school was first contacted by Jo Dunlop at Next Generation Awards, we never thought in our very first year participating, we would be the winning group! Pupils in year 9 explored a variety of issues that they were passionate about: litter, protecting our canals, knife crime and recycling, but guest judge Neil Pennington saw the potential that Re-Uniform had and put them forward to the semi-finals.

"As Millie, Natasha and Jaymee presented in the semi-finals and then the finals and answered the challenging questions from the judges it was clear that the project was relevant, sustainable, achievable and would support the local community."

Finalists included a further two King Edward Foundation schools including King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls with their tutoring project for years 5 & 6 in local primary schools, to help accelerate learning helping those struggling post pandemic to reach their potential. As well as King Edward VI Northfield School for Girls and their Reading Project Team: a project to help pupils in local Primary Schools with reading by sourcing books and arranging for volunteers from year 7 to go into work with the pupils in fun sessions with the aim of encouraging them to read.

Congratulations to all!