The Charter School North Dulwich wins V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge 2020–21

Learning & National Programmes
June 11, 2021

On Wednesday 9 June we hosted our 2020–21 V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge Pitching & Awards Day. We were joined virtually by the top seven schools from across the country, and thirty students plucked up the courage to pitch their design ideas to our panel of industry experts.

Judges and finalists at the online Pitching & Awards day


The ideas that these young people have created through V&A Innovate are so on point – it’s been a powerful and emotional experience hearing from them. 

Ade Adepitan, Broadcaster and Paralympic Medalist, V&A Innovate judge

Students presented projects that aim to forge community and collaboration and that thoughtfully foreground sustainable ways to live in the world. The imagination, resourcefulness and engaging presentations by all of our finalists was inspiring to watch.

From over 200 entries received, The Charter School North Dulwich have become our second-ever overall winner for their proposal to design ‘Scenty Mems’, a personalised scented jumper to help remember loved ones. The students explored solutions to grief and coping with loss and loneliness, in a year which has seen families around the world lose loved ones to Covid-19. Their idea, praised for originality and thoughtfulness around a sensitive and painful issue, was to create a heated jumper infused with the scent of a lost loved one, to wear at home to enable continued connection.

Scenty Mems design sheet by students from The Charter School North Dulwich


We are all here at The Charter North Dulwich humbled to have won. We are so thrilled to have been awarded. Watching the work ethics of the other schools at the pitching day, driven by their teachers was inspirational to see. This will be an unforgettable day.

Jennifer Vargas, teacher at The Charter School North Dulwich

Winning teams from The Charter School North Dulwich

V&A Innovate is structured around broad themes inspired by our collections and exhibitions.

Our first theme, Home, asked:  What if our homes could help us tackle climate change? How might we make homes of the future accessible for all? Could a design idea help support those without a place to live?

The winning entries for the Home category were: Filter 4 QR code waste scanner by Phoebe Shipley from King Ecgbert School, Sheffield. It helps people filter recyclable items, find out information on refuse collection and store data on their recycling, encouraging the public to increase their eco-friendly practices at home. Students from The Charter School North Dulwich also won with their design for a garden scenic conveyor to bring communities together and share outdoor spaces.

Filter 4 QR scanner design sheet by Phoebe Shipley from King Ecgbert School, Sheffield

The second theme, Community, asked: What if we could help people access and make better use of public and shared spaces? What does a planet-friendly community look like? How can design help build an inclusive community, either in person or online, to tackle isolation?

Students from Hoe Valley School, Woking, won this category with their idea to create a community cycle cinema space to bring people together, combining fitness and leisure with eco-friendliness and accessibility, and a plan for how it could embed in their local community.

Our Student Choice Award – voted for by all finalists – was won by students from Trinity School, Newbury, who proposed the Waste Reducing App for Fridge Freezers, to tackle food waste in the home.

WRAFF design sheet by students from Trinity School, Newbury
The Productive Pollyanna team from Hoe Valley School presenting their idea

Congratulations to all students and teachers that took part!

What’s next for V&A Innovate?

We have announced the themes for the 2021-22 V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge: Renew, Connect and Move. Inspired by objects in our new Design 1900-Now galleries these themes ask students to consider:

Renew: How might we give objects, materials and spaces a second life?
Connect: How might we better connect with each other?
Move: How might we keep active and make the most of the outdoors?

Find out more about how to take part and explore our resources at

All Winners

Overall winner: The Charter School North Dulwich 
Scenty Mems, a heated jumper infused with the scent of a lost loved one to support people experiencing grief and loneliness.

Home category, Individual Entry: King Ecgbert School
Filter 4-QR code waste scanner to help people filter recyclable items, find out information on refuse collection and store data on their recycling, encouraging the public to increase their eco-friendly practices at home.

Home category, Team entry: The Charter School North Dulwich 
Garden scenic conveyor belt to encourage sharing of green spaces between homes and communities, to bring people and nature together.

Community category, Team entry: Hoe Valley School, Woking
Cycle Cinema Community Space that brings people together, combining community engagement, fitness, leisure, accessibility and eco-friendliness.

Student Choice Award: Trinity School, Newbury 
WRAFF, Waste Reducing App for Fridge Freezer that tackles the issue of food waste by encouraging people to use up the food in their fridge and freezer before it goes off.

Teacher of the Year: Lisa Gornall, Penwortham Girls’ High School, Preston 

NQT of the Year: Jennifer Vargas, The Charter School North Dulwich .

Other Finalists

Gillotts School, Henley-on-Thames 
An eco-tree for transforming community spaces and gathering ideas for making communities more sustainable.

Coundon Court School, Coventry 
Sea cleaning robots to clean up plastic waste, converting waste into fuel and providing jobs for local communities.

Penwortham Girls’ High School, Preston 
Two finalists: an eco-friendly toilet to turn waste into fertiliser for the home, and an accessible kitchen hob for wheelchair users.

Hoe Valley School, Woking 
The Productive Pollyanna app to provide activities and encouragement to support young people’s mental health. 

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