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RSA Pupil Design Awards Competition

How the RSA Pupil Design Awards work and what support we offer to help you run the competition. 

How the competition works / Entry requirements
Submission Criteria / Download competition pack

Sign up for lesson plans, training, and mentors

Sign up your school and we’ll:

  • Send you a teacher resource pack and pupil resource pack, developed with Fixperts. The teacher’s pack includes tools, activities and suggested lesson plans, as well as this year’s design briefs.
  • Invite you to an online mentoring session. Our mentors are all successful designers and previous winners of the RSA Student Design Awards. Find out more about mentor visits.

Resources, training for teachers and mentoring for pupils are all provided by the RSA at no charge to schools, thanks to the generous support of the Comino Foundation and the Four Acre Trust.

Register for the RSA Pupil Design Awards now.  

How the RSA Pupil Design Awards competition works

Once you’ve registered, you can decide how you want to deliver the RSA Pupil Design Awards.

Some schools choose to make the Pupil Design Awards part of classroom teaching: previous entrants have incorporated the competition into Design & Technology, English, Science, and PSHE.

Other schools have run the competition as part of an extracurricular design club. Whichever approach you choose, the competition is there to help to raise the profile of design and technology in your school and to develop important skills such as collaboration, confidence, and creative and critical thinking.

Then, support pupils to choose one of the three briefs. Each brief contains a real-world problem for pupils to solve, and some ideas to get them thinking about the challenge. See this year’s briefs.


Due to school closures, we are loosening the submission criteria for entries. Judges will be made aware of these changes

Pupils will no longer be required to submit 6 A3 boards in order to be considered for shortlisting - although if you have already started work on boards please do submit those.

We will accept other evidence of work such as photographs, jpegs, scanned pdfs of drawings/designs.

Submissions will be made via the Pupil Design Awards website and should still, where possible, demonstrate:

  • Evidence of the research pupils have done to understand the problem, including both human-centered research and desk-based research
  • A description or demonstration of the process undertaken to focus on an opportunity and refine the ideas
  • The final proposal, demonstrating a creative approach to solving the problem.

Teams are entered into one of three year group categories - Years 7 & 8, Years 9 & 10, Year 11 & 12.


Final Event

Due to school closures, we will not be inviting judges to RSA House for shortlisting or holding a final event.

Shortlisting and final judging will now take place online, and teachers and pupils will be made aware of the results of the judging thereafter. 

More details about how to submit design proposals and presentations for judging will follow soon. 

RSA Pupil Design Awards Entry Requirements

  • All pupils must be enrolled in Years 7-12 for the academic year 2019-2020 at your school.
  • Pupils can submit their proposals in a team or as individuals.
  • There is no entry fee for the RSA Pupil Design Awards.


RSA Pupil Design Awards Key Dates - 2020

  • Monday 11th May: submissions open
  • Friday 12th June: submissions close  
  • Wednesday 17th June: shortlisting 
  • Friday 19th June: shortlist announced  
  • Wednesday 1st July: final judging 

Submission Criteria 

Social and environmental impact

Social and environmental impact

  • How can it make a positive difference to people or the natural world?
  • How will it use materials and resources in a sustainable way?
Rigorous research and compelling insights

Rigorous research and compelling insights

  • Have you undertaken first hand research by identifying the needs and motivations of people affected by the problem in your brief?
  • Have you conducted research into the wider context of the problem on the internet or through reading material?
  • How does your proposal build on the insights you have gained from your research?
  • How does your proposal respond to the needs and motivations of people identified through your research?
  • How did you develop your proposal by incorporating feedback and testing new ideas through prototyping and iterating?


  • Have you considered how your proposal will work in practice?
  • Have you considered the cost of your proposal?
  • What potential challenges have you identified that might prevent your proposal working in practice, and how could these be overcome?
  • How would you measure the success of your proposal if it became a reality?
Creativity and Innovation

Creativity and Innovation

  • What makes your proposal different from existing solutions? How might it be better or more useful?
  • What unexpected or surprising elements are included in your proposal? What value do these add to the idea.