A CHALLENGE set for North-East students impressed a house builder so much that it plans to use some of their work in its promotional materials.

Pupils at Hummersknott Academy, in Darlington, gained real-life work experience when they were asked by Robertson Homes to produce creative writing around the Coniscliffe Grange housing development at Low Coniscliffe.

English Faculty Leader, Peter Clarke, said: “Robertson Homes set a challenge for the pupils to do some research into the new development on Gate Lane and to write their own creative reviews of the Nasmyth Garden Room show home.

“They really engaged with it straight away and it gave them a great opportunity to produce a piece of writing for real purposes. With the current curriculum, they don’t get many chances to write for a real audience, so to do this for a commercial purpose was fantastic. It helps to prepare them for the world of work, which is becoming more and more competitive.

“At the time, the kids were in isolation, so it was a great project for us to do remotely. We’ve shown that we’ve got some great talent in the school, from the youngest in Year 7 to the oldest in Year 8.”

Sharon Spinelli, sales and marketing director at Robertson Homes said: “The students’ work exceeded all our expectations, and it is clear a great deal of thought and effort went into producing some compelling reviews.

“It was fascinating to see what aspects of a new home appeals to children and how so many of them understand creating a home is far more than simply bricks and mortar.

“The children produced very persuasive content and were able to convey all the positive and exciting emotions which come with buying a new home. It was genuinely a moving experience reading all the reviews and we intend to use some of the work on our own marketing platforms as it was so good. We want to thank every student who took part.”

Assistant Faculty Leader, Joanna Raine, helped to organise it for all the students, who produced close to 500 pieces of work.

Robertson Homes offered more than £600 in prizes for the best submissions, ranging from £100 to £10 for 30 winners, which covered both writing and design.

Evie Wilson and Skye MaConnachie both scooped first prizes, with an additional donation of £500 for the English Department to spend on books.

“We asked them if they wanted us to select the winners, but they wanted to read all the entries themselves,” said Peter. “I know they found the judging process to be a difficult task and they ended up increasing the number of students who won a prize”

Robertson Homes is currently building 30 four, five and six-bedroom homes at Coniscliffe Grange and the development is already 50 per cent sold. Robertson also has new developments at Nunthorpe near Middleborough and Wynyard Estate in County Durham.