V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge 2022 – 2023 shortlist announced

Learning & National Programmes
February 7, 2023
V&A Innovate shortlisting. Top left: Vanessa Weibel, Senior Producer, Schools & Colleges, V&A, and Selasi Setufe. Bottom left: David Houston, Team Leader, Schools & Colleges, V&A, and Seetal Solanki. Right: Dr Helen Charman, Director Young V&A and Learning and National Programmes, and Michael Omotosho. © Victoria and Albert Museum

We are thrilled to announce the shortlist for the annual V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge 2022 – 23, a celebration of young people’s imaginative and inspiring design ideas.

Working in teams, we asked students in years 7, 8 and 9 to come up with ideas to help solve real-world problems. This year, they chose to explore one of three contextual challenges – Adapt, Care, Disrupt. These were inspired by our Design: 1900 – Now galleries, which ask critical questions about contemporary issues in our world today.

Students investigated the theme, undertook research in their school or local area, and used iteration and prototyping to come up with an idea that could have a positive impact on people and the planet. Teams then entered two design sheets describing their design journey and their idea. From the 271 entries received this year, our industry judging panel helped select ten finalist teams who are invited to the V&A on 21 March to pitch their ideas to the judges.

Our inspiring industry judges this year are:

Left to right: Selasi Setufe, Michael Omotosho, Seetal Solanki. © Victoria and Albert Museum

At the Pitching & Awards Day the judges will select winners for six awards: Overall Winner, Adapt Winner, Care Winner, Disrupt Winner, Best Pitch, and Student Choice Winner, voted on the day by students.

Finalists and winners receive trophies to take back to school and the overall winners will receive a free workshop with design studio Playfool. V&A Innovate is a core part of our mission to champion the vital place of creative education on the curriculum and to nurture the change-makers of tomorrow. Teachers delivered the project over the Summer and Autumn terms to over 2,600 students, during lessons or as part of lunchtime or after school clubs. We were delighted to receive so many well-researched, thoughtful, imaginative, and impactful ideas from students from all over the country. Congratulations to all who took part.



The Charter School North Dulwich, London – Inclusive Arcade Games
Arcade games for blind and partially sighted people.

The Warwickshire Academy, Coventry – The Shining Sensory Stars
Redesigned sensory games to encourage school students to play together.

Sandbach High School & Sixth Form College, Cheshire – See Fashion
QR codes for clothing that read out colour, pattern, and care instructions for blind and partially sighted people.

Houlton School, nr. Rugby – My Card
A remote control to help people with autism or with social anxiety to ask their teacher for help in class.


Outwood Academy Haydock, St Helens – Care & Connect Companion
A companion device that supports young people with their mental health.

Thomas Gainsborough School, Sudbury – See It Like Me
A training programme for schools to help raise awareness and understanding of neurodivergence.

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Blackburn – Sensory Gloves
Multisensory, textured ‘fidget’ gloves for school students.


The Tiffin Girls’ School, London – FuturePlay
A line of more inclusive superheroes and villains.

The Camden School for Girls, London – On Pointe
Pointe shoes that are more inclusive, affordable and sustainable.

Skegness Grammar School – Wild Paint
Eco-friendly spray paint made from natural ingredients.

Winners will be announced in March as part of the V&A Innovate Pitching and Awards Day. Best of luck to all teams!

V&A Innovate resources are free-to-access for any school, and the National Schools Challenge is open to state-funded secondary schools in England.

Find out more about V&A Innovate.

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