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Inspiring Change: Birmingham Students Tackle Knife Crime with Award-Winning Project

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King Edward VI Northfield School for Girls triumphs at the 2023 Next Generation Awards, earning the prestigious ‘Newman Prize’ of £1500 to bring their active citizenship project to life.

The victorious team, known as Crime Busters, hails from King Edward VI Northfield School for Girls.

On Thursday 12 October, school children, 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 19th 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.

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 Northfield School for Girls, who presented Crime Busters a project which plans to help combat the huge issue of Knife Crime in Birmingham. The team has been awarded the ‘Newman Prize’ of £1500 and mentoring support to help develop their idea into a reality.

The Crime Busters, Knife Crime project was chosen by a panel of judges which included; Indi Deol the Founding Director of DESIblitz, the UK’s largest online British Asian magazine, Peter Jones, Enterprise Sales & Marketing Manager in the IT Learning & Development sector, Andrew Edgar who is Senior Lecturer in Education Studies Birmingham Newman University and Justine Marklew, Education, Engagement and Outdoors Manager at Moor Pool Heritage Trust.

Winning team

The team of six year-eight students who had worked on the idea for a year says: ‘To win is just amazing, it’s mind-blowing for us. We hope that our message outlasts our time at school and can be carried through year on year to children who quickly realise it’s not cool to carry a knife. Hearing about victims of knife crime affects us all, no parent wants their child to go through that and no child wants to walk the street scared! We want to change things for the better with a positive and inspiring message – so watch this space!

‘I’m incredibly proud of the students, they’ve have so worked hard and invested so much time on this project. Their determination and passion to get the message out there is inspiring. It’s so important that young people get involved and what to do something positive about these important issues that affect their peers. When the students decided that their subject was knife crime, I was worried about a very sensitive topic, but the way the girls worked with the subject, creatively and reaching out to a younger audience has been amazing. We all look forward to seeing their project grow into a reality over the next few months.

Ms. Mohand, lead teacher on the project

Other finalist projects included;

  • Harborne Academy,
  • Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School,
  • Colmers School and Sixth Form College
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys

‘The panel and I were treated to an evening of high quality presentations covering a range of important community challenges. All the teams successfully demonstrated to everyone present, an acute awareness and knowledge of their chosen issue supported by meaningful and well considered solutions to tackle that issue (Street Robbery, County Lines, Urban Bird Boxes, Knife Crime, Recycling). This years standards of teamwork, presentation skills, use of media and research was particularly high and not at all easy to separate for us as judges. Consequently this caused much debate amongst the judging panel resulting in an extra-long deliberation. We whole heartedly want to thank every team, their school, parents and supporters for participating and contributing to a great event. Please be very proud of the work done to this point and continue that work if possible. 
We the judges decided that the winning team and presentation showed a higher degree of originality, creativity and impact, their authentic message was simple but piecing, making it memorable and easily transferable. The judges also agreed that Birmingham Newman University’s generous donation of prize money and project support would take this project and presentation to another level. We wish King Edwards VI Northfield School for Girls every success with their ‘Drop the Knife’ project and look forward to seeing the finished article in full swing.’  

Peter Jones, NGA Finals 2023 Chair of Judges

The evening also saw schools from across Birmingham presented with Birmingham Civic Society School Star awards, a fairly new initiative that congratulates, promotes and celebrates the truly fantastic work that has been done by schools across the city to help those in real need during these incredibly difficult times.

The finals are such a special occasion to showcase our young active citizens within Birmingham’s secondary schools. We know how much effort the teams put into the programme throughout the competition and reaching the finals is something that all pupils and teachers should be proud of.  Well done to all of the finalist teams for their fantastic presentations and huge congratulations to the winners! We very much look forward to seeing this important initiative being developed through the prize and mentoring.”

Stephanie Bloxham, Incoming Chair and Chair of Citizenship committee, Birmingham Civic Society

The Next Generation Awards is offered to all Birmingham Secondary Schools for free with all resources supplied. The Next Generation Awards was made possible in 2022/23 with the support of Birmingham Newman University, Professional Polishing Services Ltd and the generosity of a number of local Birmingham charitable trusts & foundations including The Dulverton Trust, The Baron Davenport’s Charity, The Grimmit Trust, The George Henry Collins Charity, The Edward & Dorothy Cadbury Charitable Trust, The Roughley Trust, The Limoges Charitable Trust, The Roger & Douglas Turner Trust, The GJW Turner Trust, The Harry Payne Trust – Heart of England Community Foundation and The WE Dunn Charitable Trust.

The Birmingham Civic Society works to make Birmingham a better place for everyone, our work includes promoting and improving our built environment, architecture and public art, celebrating the heritage of our city and citizenship. We celebrate our city’s past and believe in our city’s future, and we would love others who are equally passionate about our city to join us and make a difference.

To find out about becoming a member and getting involved email info@birminghamcivicsociety.org.uk or go to https://www.birminghamcivicsociety.org.uk or follow us on @BirminghamCivic

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