Pupils’ prejudice project wins £1,500

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Pupils from an Ashfield School have landed £1,500 prize money in a Dragon’s Den style competition.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, is the message teenagers from Selston High School used in a campaign designed to challenge prejudice and promote respect.

The campaign title, along with a Challenge Prejudice Week, a community exhibition, use of social media and of posters, were researched, designed and presented by the team.

Their work won praise from the panel of judges for its impact and effectiveness and won them the first prize of £1,000 which is to be used to transform their campaign ideas into reality.

Cllr Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman of the community safety committee at Nottinghamshire County Council and one of the competition judges, said: “This has been a fantastic event with the young people showing an incredible amount of innovation and hard work.

“Any adult would be proud to be associated with the work they have produced and we congratulate them all.”

As well as winning the overall title, Selston was also chosen as student prize winner, the result of young people attending the final voting for the campaign they thought was best, which saw them add another £500 to their prize pot.

The project was created seven years ago to encourage young people to think and talk about crime and anti-social behaviour, with a particular theme chosen each year.

For 2015/16 the theme was prejudice. Work got underway in October last year with visits to, and work with, schools by achievement and equality consultant Koni Rakhit of the county council’s education improvement service.

Koni’s work, which was funded entirely by Ashfield Community Safety Partnership, saw 550 pupils at six secondary schools attend workshops covering prejudice, discrimination, influencing attitudes and taking action.

Four schools – Holgate Academy, Quarrydale Academy, Selston High School and The National C of E Academy - took part in the competitive element of the Dragons’ Den-style project with the final being hosted by last year’s winner, Holgate Academy, in Hucknall.