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Consumer Challenge Quiz


Birmingham's Consumer Challenge Quiz, a quiz developed for children with learning difficulties, has won a prestigious award from the European Commission for the 'Most Original Idea for a Consumer Campaign in Europe'. The presentation was made by Commissioner Meglena Kuneva at an awards ceremony in Brussels. The Commissioner praised the quiz for its innovative approach to helping vulnerable young people.

Consumer Affairs Minister, Gareth Thomas, said: 'I congratulate the Birmingham Trading Standards team on this award, which recognises the truly innovative way they targeted a specific group of vulnerable consumers.I am pleased to see the Commission raising awareness of consumer issues. Schemes like this which boost the profile of consumer issues and encourage people to know and use their rights are extremely important.

Consumer Challenge Quiz details

The Consumer Challenge Quiz has been developed in Birmingham for children with moderate learning difficulties, in conjunction with teachers from three local Special Schools. It aims to help young people with learning difficulties to become better informed and more confident consumers. The questions are based on curriculum material and the format is very interactive. The event is becoming more and more popular and schools are invited to take part through their local Trading Standards Department. In 2004, only four Local Authorities entered teams but by 2007 this number had increased to thirty five.

Teachers report that the children gain far more from taking part than just the knowledge about their rights. They benefit from increased confidence and self esteem and learn to work as part of a team. For some children, travelling to the national final was the first time they had travelled on a train and the first time they had ventured outside their home town.

The 2007 national final took place at the Trading Standards Institute Annual Conference in Manchester. It was won by the Oxfordshire team from Woodeaton Manor School. The winners received personal DVD players, 0 gift tokens, book tokens, bags of toiletries, CDs, confectionery and ,000 for their school.

In 2008 the national final took place at Bournemouth. Over 30 trading standards authorities entered the quiz with 21 making it through to the final. As usual it was a closely fought affair, but the team from Aynsley School, Stoke-on-Trent emerged victorious. They received a variety of prizes and a cheque for ,000 for their school. However, there were no losers in the quiz as all the teams received bags full of prizes.

We were pleased to be joined again by radio presenter and journalist, Liz Barclay. Liz has supported the quiz for several years and generously gives us her time to act as question master.

In 2009, the final of the quiz moved to Brighton. Nineteen local authorities were represented including teams from Scotland and Wales. The Final was very close with the lead changing hands throughout. However, at the end of the quiz, the team from Birmingham (Lindsworth North School) had triumphed by a single point.

We are very grateful to all the organisations which sponsored the quiz. Main sponsor was DSG International (Currys and PC World) together with the Office of Fair Trading, Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, Experian, Pertemps, Argos, Claire's, Validate, BPI, Nivea, Ambre Solaire and Birmingham Assay Office.

Further Information
We have developed an information pack including a CD Rom which provides examples of the type of question material used and extensive information about the quiz. If you work in Trading Standards and are interested in establishing the quiz in your area please contact us for a free copy of the information pack.

We have received feedback from both team members and teachers and some of these comments are included below:-

Comments from Team Members

  • "I enjoyed the quiz. Our Team did well. I was proud of us. I had a great time."
  • "I enjoyed the day, it helped me to learn more about my rights."
  • "I learnt a lot of things I didn't know."
  • "The team worked together on the quiz and I am proud that we got into the final and came third."
  • "I felt a bit nervous and excited at the same time. I'm really happy we came second."
  • "The day was brilliant. I enjoyed it all. Thank you."
  • "Thank you , thank you, thank you. We so loved it."
  • "I really enjoyed taking part. It was the best."

Comments from Teachers

  • "It has made our students more aware of their rights as consumers."
  • "The whole school was very proud of the success of all team members."
  • ""Boosted confidence and self esteem."
  • "Team members have gained considerable confidence."
  • "The social skills the children developed as a result of travelling, staying in a hotel, are priceless."
  • "It has helped develop team spirit in the school."
  • "All pupils have learned so much, which they then pass on to class mates."
  • "Thank you for a great day."
  • "Helped raise the school's profile and recognition of the achievement of our pupils."
  • ""It really is a fun way to get pupils to join in and actually learn."
  • "Thank you for a wonderful day."

If you would like more information about this or any of our other consumer education events or activities please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454040506.