Bradford primary school scoops up Innovation Award

22nd June 2022 - Sharon Rugg

Year 5 pupils at a Bradford primary school, IQRA Academy, which is part of the high-performing Feversham Education Trust (FET) are celebrating today having won the National Primary Innovation Award from the Business of Science Conference with their creative solution to air pollution.

The students’ innovative idea, which would see pollution meters on traffic lights in the streets of Bradford, was one of many national entries entered in the awards across three categories. Primary, secondary and people aged over 18 from across the UK were asked to propose their big science dream for fixing a real-world problem. Entries were judged on the ambition, design and positive change the idea would create for society and shortlisted entrants were invited to present their ideas at the conference in Edinburgh, with the finalists announced at the close of the conference.

For the pupils of IQRA Academy, this award sees a celebratory conclusion to a 10-week Applied Creativity Lab programme the students completed last year with IVE. Together with Born in Bradford (BiB) and Leeds-based creative education provider, IVE, IQRA Academy was one of two schools selected to participate in an applied creativity lab series to support and encourage pupils to design new ways to reduce air pollution. The initiative, which was part of the Born in Bradford Breathes project and designed by IVE saw 30 young innovators paired with industry experts, to co-produce inspiring new ideas to tackle the city’s air pollution problem. Students at the end of the series pitched their ideas to industry experts at Bradford City Hall in November 2021, and were judged on their idea’s originality, applicability and affordability. The traffic pollution meter, or ‘Invisolution’, was selected as the winner and Bradford council have even committed to looking into the feasibility of developing their idea.

Maria Mehrin , a science and technology lead at IQRA Academy said: “I am so incredibly proud of our students for winning the Primary Innovation Award from The Business of Science Conference. Our students loved working on their science idea in their applied creativity labs with IVE. They’ve learned so much about the issues of the climate emergency and how they themselves can bring about real-life solutions to these problems by using creative thinking to solve a problem. It’s helped them develop more skills and confidence, and to take an active part in creating their own futures.
The children have really grown and thrived with this experience and to be invited to present their ideas at the Business of Science Conference in Edinburgh was a wonderful way to celebrate all of their achievements. We were absolutely delighted when Invisolution was selected as the winning idea in the Primary school category!”

Andrea Ives, IQRA Academy’s new principal, commented: “This award is so very justified, children at IQRA are renowned for their innovation and outstanding work. The award exemplifies the focus of the school to become a leader in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. I am so incredibly proud of the children being such fantastic ambassadors for the school, Feversham Education Trust and the whole of Bradford.”

Professor Khurshid Khan, CEO of Feversham Education Trust, stated: “I would like to congratulate the children and staff at IQRA Academy on receiving this important national award. Feversham Education Trust is committed to raising aspirations and standards within in our communities and schools. As part of our schools’ STEM strategy, we are this year investing £0.5 Million on cutting edge science, design and technology, and food science laboratory facilities for IQRA Academy, so we are delighted to see the value of this really paying off.”

Steve Bennett, the Business of Science Innovation Awards Founder, said: “ The Innovation Awards were designed to recognise, celebrate and reward individuals of all ages who can create an imaginary solution to a real problem. IQRA Academy did just that, but it was the breadth of research and creative thinking that made their idea so compelling and unique. And to be honest, the judges were just amazed that a group of primary school children could come up with such an innovative concept.”

As part of their prize, IQRA Academy have also been awarded £1000, which will be used towards supporting STEM education in their school. Alongside being a prestigious national award, it is also particularly timely given the announcement in May that Bradford will be the UK City of Culture for 2025.

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