Mandeville School students design app for their school

Mandeville School students taking part in the App-Prentice Challenge
Mandeville School students taking part in the App-Prentice Challenge

Students at the Mandeville School have taken part in a challenge to design a new mobile app for their school.

In less than three days, groups of year ten students successfully designed, marketed and built a working prototype for a mobile application that students can use to help them with revision.

The App-prentice Challenge took place over three days last week and was led by local businesses Cloudy Group.

Competing in teams of ten, the 110 students took up the challenge using the resources given to them by staff, plus the 90 ICT workstations and 18 Microsoft Surface Pros that were there to support them.

The judges’ winning team was “Black & White” while second place went to “Group 4.”

The top two teams have won a day visit to Microsoft’s offices in Reading.

The peer prize went to team “Equipo Seis” who will have their lunches paid for at the upcoming end of year school trip to Thorpe Park.

One of the business organisations that supported the challenge was the Bucks Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership.

Jackie Campbell, BTVLEP’s skills development manager said: “This is such a fabulous challenge!”

“It has encompassed the development of so many vital skills including team work and leadership, project management, independent learning, innovation, adaptability, problem-solving, time management, communication and presentation skills.

“All of which are so important in whatever career or next steps the students choose.

“The insightful and inspiring challenge has brought to life careers in this vital growth sector and has connected Cloudy Group to tomorrow’s workforce.”

Tanya Albert, senior marketing manager at The Careers and Enterprise Company, who was part of the final judging panel said: “The App-Prentice Challenge has been a fantastic event to attend.

“It is clear to see how much preparation has been made, how each student has identified and understood their role, and how some have also mastered the art of pitching.

“These types of event are a great opportunity for young people to develop the skills they need to help prepare them for the world of work.”

79% of participating students surveyed said they would recommend the App-Prentice Challenge to other schools.

When asked how helpful it has been to help them make decisions about their next steps in terms of education, training or work, 87% were positive about the programme.

Also on the judging panel, Chris Penson, PSHCE, careers, and critical thinking coordinator at The Mandeville School said: “This has been a fantastic experience for our students.

“As the first Year 10 enterprise event, this pilot has proven how worthwhile it will be to do again.

“We’ve seen students engaging with their work in new ways as they’ve absorbed themselves in the project over the last three days.

“They’ve clearly enjoyed themselves whilst also pushing themselves academically and practically to take on the challenge and compete with their peers.

“It was great to see how empowering the technology and insights from the business partners have been for our students.”

All students have been awarded with a certificate of achievement in recognition of their hard work and aptitude in using core competencies that will be useful in future education and employment.

Twelve students were recognised for their outstanding commitment to the project and will be awarded with a “pizza party” on the last day of term.

In keeping with the BBC’s The Apprentice, Cloudy Group will be “hiring” one person from each of the winning teams to develop the winning app.

David Hall, director of Cloudy Group said: “It’s a wonderful coincidence that both winning teams came up with similar app ideas around revision guidance for students.

“We’re delighted to be able to invite the two winning candidates to the Cloudy Group offices for a week’s employment over the summer holidays.

“Our welcome new “App-Prentices” will be developing a joint, fully functioning mobile app that they and their peers will be able to use in school in future.

“We’re proud to be part of such a rewarding challenge and to see the students get involved with such enthusiasm.

“The results have exceeded our expectations and we look forward to what the future holds for these students, as well as in taking the App-Prentice Challenge further.”

Mandeville School principal Andria Hanham said: “This enriching learning experience has been a great end to the school year.

“The school is very proud of our Year 10s who have responded well to an inspiring event.

“We expect our students to continue to work with our local business partners and for our school to also benefit from the new revision app that has been researched, embraced and built by our very own accomplished Year 10 entrepreneurs.”