Gatsby Benchmarks 4 & 5 Case study: EastWest Rail – Destination Aylesbury 2018

with No Comments

Background and logistics

In June 2018 the Bucks Skills Hub welcomed EastWest Rail to deliver the challenge ‘Destination Aylesbury’ to over 150 students in Buckinghamshire. The challenge involved two rounds; the first day in school and the final at The University Campus Aylesbury Vale.  Three schools from the county took

part: The Cottesloe School, Bucks UTC and The Grange School.

In the first round, students were split into teams and given the task of redesigning London Bridge station.  The teams had to consider travel links, justify their choice of tourist attractions and locate housing, schools and a hospital on their map.  Once the map had been finalised, each team presented back to the judges.  The top two teams from each school qualified for the final round in July 2018.

On the day

The students arrived for the final at UCAV full of anticipation; the full details of the second round had not been circulated prior to the day.  It was revealed that the students were to regenerate their town, Aylesbury, manage a budget for the project and put together a presentation to showcase their project plan.

With input from local business volunteers each team devised a proposal that was both financially viable and showed an understanding of environmental issues.  The teams were to demonstrate social awareness, considering the varying needs of the local community, and be able to justify their plans to a panel of judges.

After four hours of planning, business proposal meetings and putting together a presentation, the teams were called in one by one to present their regeneration project to the judges.  Each team were given ten minutes to present, answer questions and receive constructive feedback from the panel.  A huge congratulations to ‘Radical Regeneration’ from The Grange School for delivering the most compelling project and winning EastWest Rail: Destination Aylesbury 2018.

The challenge was designed to cover a wide range of skills including team work, communication, problem solving, research, planning and presentation. It also explored social, environmental and economic impacts on communities.


A student from Bucks UTC commented: “I have learned to work as a team and to be with people that I would never normally work with’ whilst another remarked on gaining confidence when presenting.”

Bernie Munien from The Grange School: “The course directors were very interested in the students and helped and answered questions, making the students feel very comfortable.  They clearly enjoyed the challenge of the task.  They felt support and cared for today.  It was really lovely to see my students in a different light!”

Nick Han, Assistant Principal and Head of Construction at Bucks UTC: “This has been a fantastic experience for our students.  They have shown great maturity and professionalism.  Thank you to all involved in organising this event.”

Danny Miller, Social Value Manager and deliverer of the challenge: “I really enjoy running these sessions as you see the students come into their own and get immersed in the tasks and embrace the challenge. The calibre of students we had on this challenge was  very high and they all acted with great competence and delivered some outstanding presentations and justification.”

If you would like to book a speaker, a workplace visit or activities for your school/class, please go to or speak to your Enterprise Coordinator

If you would be interested in delivering an inspirational session to young people, you can register on, add yourself to the directory and post your offer


Gatsby benchmark Type of activity Industry sector Year group Skills or competencies learned
4 and 5 Employer-led interactive challenge Construction 9 and 10 Concept of regeneration


Presentation Skills