From the journal

7billionideas and United Learning host the finals of #United2018 in London and Warwick

On Friday 9th June 2018 pupils and staff from United Learning Schools around the country assembled for the finals of #United2018 at IBM’s offices in London and Warwick.

7billionideas and United Learning run two national enterprise competitions – #UnitedApp and #Uni

tedIDEAS, Both have proven hugely popular with children and their teachers since their inception.

For the fourth year running, Year 9 students across the United Learning family were challenged to think of a unique idea for an educational app as part of #UnitedApp. #UnitedIDEAS returned for 2018, after a successful launch in 2017 to give primary pupils the chance to develop world-changing ideas of their own.

The finals day saw activity spread across two venues, London and Warwick and followed months of hard work. The competitions kicked off in October with a series of roadshows. Over 1,000 children and their teachers have taken part in ideas generation workshops and planning sessions within their own schools. From the initial 400+ #UnitedApp entries, 11 school teams were invited to the final. Likewise, 30 primary schools spent months honing their ideas and creating a final video submission to present to the #UnitedIDEAS judging panel.

Both competitions don’t just encourage competition but work with the students to harness their creativity, test the boundaries of their thinking and to provide them with the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial skillset that will benefit both their immediate education and future employment paths.


At the finals day in London and Warwick, primary finalists for #UnitedIDEAS set up exhibition stalls to explain their world changing ideas. Centred around addressing local and global issues that they wanted to solve the pupils presented to the judges and their peers from other United Learning schools. Alongside the overall competition prizes, schools were able to compete for additional awards for Best Model, Best Poster and Best Stall.

The judging panel included representatives from United Learning, IBM, INDS and 7billionideas. Based on the video submissions, pupils from Kettering Buccleuch Academy were awarded first place for their idea of a bumblebee drone to reduce air pollution.

Second place went to Timbertree Academy and their plan to provide food vending machines that use community work as credit rather than money; Bournemouth Collegiate Prep School achieved third place for their Ocean Sweeper proposal, addressing plastic pollution in our world’s oceans.

Other prizes included:

  • Best Model: Wilberforce Primary School and High Hazels Primary School;
  • Best Poster: Surbiton High Girls Preparatory School and Grange Primary School;
  • Best Stall: Surbiton High Boys Preparatory School and Corngreaves Primary School.

Kettering Buccleuch Academy pupils’ winning idea will be captured in a book, which will feature them as the main characters. Once launched, this will be made available to buy on Amazon.

Darran Ellison-Lee, Primary Director at United Learning, said:

“#UnitedIDEAS is a unique opportunity for primary pupils across our Group to show leadership, practice teamwork and express their creativity all in one competition. From the roadshows and video submissions to the finals in London and Warwick, it was great to see pupils enjoying the challenge and articulating their ideas so confidently.

“Equally, the proposals that pupils came up with were thoughtful and inspiring, demonstrating an interest in and understanding of issues that impact on our society – from pollution to homelessness. I would like to congratulate every pupil that took part this year, with particular praise for those that made the finals and the very deserving winners from Kettering Buccleuch Academy.”


#UnitedApp entrants spent the morning of the finals warming up with a series of workshops led by students from IBM, who then advised them during the final rehearsals of their presentations. In the afternoon, they did their best to impress the judging panel of United Learning’s Director of Technology Dominic Norrish, Kate Ross from IBM and Darren Claymen from IDNS, which partly sponsored the event.

The judges had a difficult job narrowing down the fantastic presentations to just three top prizes but, eventually, it was announced that the students from Carter Community School had been chosen as #UnitedApp champions for 2018.

The team designed an app called ‘Improvise’, which would help students improve their creative writing. According to their proposal, the app would work by allowing users to level-up their vocabulary; the three stages being Cocoon (simple), Caterpillar (medium) and Butterfly (complex). Once at this third stage, students would be more adept at crafting complex and engaging stories.

The Carter students involved will now have the opportunity to work with United Learning’s Technology Department to develop their winning app idea. This will be launched in the next academic year for purchase on the App Store. It will be available alongside previous winning ideas such as Richard Rose Morton Academy’s anti-bullying app STOP.

In a close second place were Surbiton High School, with their a meditation app, ‘Meducate’, designed to combat stress and anxiety in teens, and in third, Bournemouth Collegiate School, with an app to support people with dyslexia.  Other awards went to Northampton Academy, for Best Presentation, and Nova Hreod Academy, for Best Video.

Dominic Norrish, Director of Technology at United Learning, said of this year’s competition:

“Once again, the quality of entries from our secondary schools has been incredibly high, with a broad range of creative responses to the opportunities and challenges presented by school life. It is brilliant that, each year, #UnitedApp demonstrates the impact that thoughtful use of technology can have in education – both in terms of supporting lessons directly and providing helpful resources for students to use outside of the classroom. This year’s winning team from Carter Community School put forward a particularly exciting and well thought-out proposal to help pupils improve the quality of their creative writing, including scaffolding their efforts and encouraging them towards more effective or adventurous word choices. We are looking forward to working closely with them to turn their ideas into a fully functioning app over the next six months.”

David Harkin, CEO of 7billionideas, added:

“7billionideas is in the business of creating memorable education moments that last a life time. That’s what we did with the final of #United2018 in conjunction with United Learning. This year the creativity took new heights with outstanding stalls from the primary schools and world class presentations from the secondary school students taking part in the final of #UnitedApp.  Seeing the excitement of the winners who won both competitions is something we will never forget. Thank you to our sponsors, schools and of course the support of United Learning in making the competitions a huge success.”

We are delighted to announce that United Learning and 7billionideas are entering into our 5th year of partnership. We are very much looking forward to seeing what the academic year 2018-2019 brings.

7billionideas is an ideas company, existing to connect the 7 billion people on the planet with their own ideas through their social media app, their corporate business and their education business. They have proudly worked with over 60,000 students over the last 5 academic years from all over the world, some of the largest companies in the world and have tens of thousands of users using their platform and following them on social media. To learn more about 7billionideas visit

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