V&A Innovate

Our world is changing fast and we need to inspire the designers of tomorrow. V&A Innovate is an online resource hub and annual National Schools Challenge, inviting students in years 7, 8 and 9 to work in teams to design a solution to a real-world problem.

V&A Innovate gives students the opportunity to experience the power of design and technology in solving some of the world's biggest problems. Through taking part, they will be encouraged to ask critical questions about the issues shaping our world. Start by signing up below to receive regular news and updates by email.

BECOME AN INNOVATOR

BECOME AN INNOVATOR

Whether you’re a teacher of D&T, Art & Design, Sciences, Geography, Citizenship, or something else entirely, you could run V&A Innovate in your classroom to show the power of design in a fast-changing world.

V&A Innovate could be run online or face-to-face over a term within D&T, or over a day with a STEAM project, or with an extra-curricular club. This year we're asking KS3 students in teams of 4 – 6 to respond to one of two themes for the annual National Schools Challenge: Home and Community.

  • Home
    Explore the theme of home through the lens of sustainable living, accessibility, or homelessness.
    Our homes have never been more central to our lives. It is where we sleep, eat, and now increasingly work, study and play. 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?
  • Community
    Explore the theme of community through the lens of how we can connect and bring people together, accessibility, or creating eco-friendly communities.
    What does community mean to you, and how can design help bring people in your community together? How can design help build an inclusive community, either in person or online, to tackle isolation? What does a planet-friendly community look like? What if we could help people access and make better use of public and shared spaces?

Find out more about the 2020 – 21 themes and how to get started with Innovate on our Teachers' Resource Hub:

Get inspired at our free, online teacher events, including talks with designers, artists and educational specialists:

Key Information

Key Information

The V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge is open to students in years 7, 8 and 9 at state-funded secondary schools. Start by signing up below to be kept up to date with Innovate news by email.

Take a look at our resources page to help you plan and deliver V&A Innovate in your classroom.

How to submit

If your school is entering the 2020 – 21 V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge you'll need to submit your students' entries to innovate@vam.ac.uk by 26 March 2021.

Students can present their idea in any creative method they think best, as long as it is presented on two A3 sheets, and describes the whole design process, from research to final idea. Download our submission template as guidance:

Don't forget to check out the judging criteria and entry requirements before you submit:

All students who enter will receive a certificate for taking part and feedback on their design idea. Shortlisted entries will be judged by a panel of industry experts in April 2021. Selected finalists will be invited to attend our annual V&A Innovate Pitching & Awards Day in the Summer Term 2021.

A selection of prizes, including plaques, trophies and workshops with designers, will be awarded to winning teams of students and teachers.

Register to take part

Register to take part

Why Innovate?

Why Innovate?

V&A Innovate supports:

  • Delivery of D&T curriculum and scaffolds towards the NEA component of the D&T GCSE
  • The broad themes will encourage students to explore the real-world role of design in tackling the impact of global trends and will model the NEA of GCSE Specs with its emphasis on design thinking, problem solving and iteration
  • Inspiration for STEAM and cross-curricular teaching
  • Artsmark and Arts Award
  • Celebrating and advocating for the role of design in your school

Students taking part in V&A Innovate develop their interdisciplinary problem-solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. They will engage with some of the most innovative objects in our collections, explore different design processes and apply them to real life scenarios. They will also gain the chance to win awards and prizes for their school.

Check out some of last year's entries and winners describing their experience of taking part in the 2019 – 2020 Pitching & Awards Day:

Find out more about last year's winners, finalists, and the Pitching & Awards day on our blog.

Get in touch

Get in touch

V&A Innovate is created by us in collaboration with designers and secondary schools across the country. If at any point you have questions, suggestions or ideas, drop us a line at innovate@vam.ac.uk