PDA information and support - RSA

Information and support

Pupil Design Awards information and support

Find out how the RSA Pupil Design Awards work and what support we offer to help you run the design challenge in your school. 

About the Pupil Design Awards

The RSA Pupil Design Awards aims to encourage young people and their teachers to join us in this mission. The Awards’ vision is one in which young people develop creative self-efficacy through engaging with real-world problems. We want them to leave school with the agency and capabilities which enable them to flourish in their personal lives and contribute to the flourishing of their communities. We do this by:

  • Broadening teachers’ and pupils’ knowledge of how social design can be applied and understood through challenging, relevant briefs and comprehensive evaluation criteria.
  • Introducing social design thinking to teachers and pupils through interactive workshops delivered in collaboration with design education experts.
  • Connecting schools to their local communities and enabling pupils to design solutions to local and global contemporary challenges.
Image of Pupil Design Award winners
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How to run the Pupil Design Awards in your school

Once you’ve registered, you can decide how you want to design and deliver the RSA Pupil Design Awards in your schools:

Subject Prompts to consider
English, Media Studies How could creative writing and communication be used for a campaign to enhance skin confidence?
Mathematics How can Pupils incorporate statistics, data analyses, and general mathematical knowledge to better adapt climate change solutions to local contexts?
Science How may knowledge/theories from biology, physics or chemistry spearhead the creation of nature inspired products and services to protect people, places and our planet? 
Art & Design What kind of creative mediums could be introduced to create a critical understanding of each of the issues that the briefs are addressing?



What does the co-creation of ideas, spaces and community-based activities to enhance debate in these topics look like? What would the outcome be?
Computing How would using analytics, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills, draw on new and innovative ways to address the impacts of climate change?
Geography  How could human and physical geography contribute to enhancing the understanding of human beings from all over the world, their cultural practices, and the relationships between us, the planet and the resources that shape humanity? How might an understanding of population demographics help us address the needs of older adults and their carers?
Physical Education  How could physical activity be used to foster relationships between people from different generations and increase confidence in one’s ability to move and feel good on the inside?


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. We encourage delivery across a range of subjects, not just art or design and technology.

Other schools have run the Awards as part of an extracurricular club. See the ‘teacher insights’ page in the 2023-24 teacher resource pack for information on how other teachers have run the Awards in their own contexts.

Whichever way you choose to deliver, the process is there to help you to raise the profile social design in your schools and to encourage a wider interpretation of the function and practice of design to develop important capabilities such as collaboration, confidence, and creative and critical thinking among your pupils.

Then, support pupils to choose one of the three briefs and make sure they have read the pupil brief pack. Each brief contains a real-world problem for pupils to solve, and some ideas to get them thinking about the challenge.

Submission Handbook

This handbook includes tips and tricks to help you craft an impactful and memorable submission.

Learn more about the Pupil Design Awards and get involved

Pupil Design Awards

Inspiring social change through design thinking.