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Pupil Design Awards entry requirements and judging

How to enter the Awards

Pupils can enter as a team or individually. Teams are entered into one of three year group categories: Years 7 & 8, Years 9 & 10, and Years 11, 12 & 13.

We advise that pupils present their proposal on six A3 boards so judges can understand the research process they have been through. These six boards need to tell the story of their design thinking process from research to final idea. You can find more information on how to structure these boards on page 9 of the Teacher Resource Pack.

The final deadline for submissions has been extended to 11 June 2021 - check our website for any updates.

Entry requirements

  • All pupils must be enrolled in Years 7-13 for the academic year 2020-21 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.

*If you are interested in entering the competition as a youth group or club, please contact to find out more.

In light of exam cancellations, this year we will be extending the competition to Year 11 and 13 pupils. The Award will give pupils a chance to undertake a purposeful project-based learning challenge that will continue to develop their creative confidence and design thinking skills over the spring/summer term.

Pupil Design Awards students presenting

Submission criteria

Pupils' proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

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

Have you under taken 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

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?  


Judging takes place in two stages. During the shortlisting stage, the judges look at all of the submissions. Then, using the judging criteria, they select a handful of projects per category to be shortlisted.

The RSA team then contacts all competition entrants to let them know whether or not they have been shortlisted. If your pupils' work is shortlisted, you will be invited to the final presentation event in July.

Pupils will have the opportunity to present their projects to the judges in any way that they choose. There will then be some time for the judges to ask questions before deciding on winning projects.

The judges for each category will include Student Design Awards alumni, Royal Designers for Industry, practicing designers and RSA staff.

Pupil Design Awards

Inspiring social change through design thinking.