On Wednesday, three Lower Sixth Economics students travelled to the Vinson Centre for Economics at the University of Buckingham, having made the national final of the Institute for Economic Affairs Budget Challenge competition. To reach the final, Benjamin Onions, Evie Palmers and Hannah Slipper had to submit a 5,000 word plan for the budget for the UK for 2022 and was judged to be in the top ten teams from across the country. Given that this was the first time that the School has reached the final, this was a fantastic achievement.
As finalists, they had to prepare a ten-minute presentation which they presented to the other finalists, teachers and judges. This was followed by ten minutes of questions and answers from the judges Philip Booth (Dean of the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and Senior Academic Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs), Dr Steve Davies (Head of Education at the Institute of Economic Affairs) and Ruth Kelly (former MP and, among other government posts, former secretary of state for Education and Skills and the youngest woman to be appointed to the cabinet).
The SVS team were the last to present, meaning that they had the advantage of watching the other teams, but the disadvantage of nerves building up across the day. Their prior rehearsals and meticulous planning paid off as they presented seamlessly and handled the questions raised to them with aplomb.
The judges’ feedback was universal in recognising the very high standards of presentation across all the teams, particularly given the age of the pupils who were mostly in the Lower Sixth. There was also some general feedback to the pupils about their futures as economists and how to approach their studies.
Having heard the names of the three joint runners up, SVS felt disappointed not to have been included in their number, but this was short-lived as they were announced as the winners and national champions. Their prize includes a cash prize of £500 shared between the team, a further £500 for the Economics budget and also the offer for each of them to have an internship at the Institute of Economic Affairs this summer.
Mr Metcalfe, Head of Economics, said, “it is a fantastic achievement for these three pupils and the amount of effort that they have put into this has been incredible and it has paid off with a fantastic opportunity in terms of their internships and sets the standards high for future years. For the School to achieve this in our first year of entry is very pleasing and is testament to the work and effort that the team put into the competition”.
Reflecting on the event, Hannah said, “I think we learnt a lot and are grateful for the chance to be able to participate in such a prestigious competition and to have gained great opportunities from this experience”. Ben agreed, “the task was one that gave us a lot of anxiety, but we knew it would be worth it and we are all very pleased with the turnout and the internship that was on offer”. Evie summed up, “from this challenge, I believe that we all developed transferable skills, and gained much insight into what I could do in the future especially with the internship gained”.
What a fantastic achievement, congratulations!