DOZENS of youngsters had the chance to take part in an interactive workshop to see for themselves what goes on behind the scenes at North Yorkshire County Council.

The Pupil Innovation Festival, organised by North Yorkshire Education Services (NYES) at Thirsk Racecourse, gave the opportunity to use artificial intelligence, create their own wormeries and work with a leading chef to develop new school meals.

Emma Grunwell, Head of Marketing and Innovation for NYES, said: “We decided to use a completely different approach to develop our services by focusing on the end user. The pupils had an energised, fun-filled day in the process. It’s been great to see such a positive attitude from the students and such great ideas.

“I’m especially keen to see more children making pianos from bananas and getting involved in sampling a meal created by a chef working for a group of restaurants with a Michelin star – not many pupils will get that on their menu every day.”

Pupils also talked to staff about what they love about school and what they believe makes a great teacher to help the county council’s in-house teacher recruitment team.

The festival focused on helping to raise attainment and awareness of pupil’s mental health. External experts Deputy Mitchell and Chimp Management provided techniques and new ways of working to help pupils to manage their emotions.

Christina Alexander, a teacher at Alverton Community Primary School, Northallerton, said: “It’s been an education for the pupils in the widest sense, as education isn’t just about lessons – the pupils’ horizons have been broadened through this event, so it has been really valuable.”

Councillor Patrick Mulligan, the council's executive member for education and skills, said he hoped the authority would use the pupils' insight to develop services.

He added: “Our pupils had so much fun and were full of wonderful ideas so we are really looking forward to seeing some of these come to life over the next few months."