Bright Stars Primary Schools Triumph With ‘Make a Difference’ Campaign

Bright Stars 2021

BAE Systems has been backing the Bright Stars 2021 programme which saw almost 50 Cumbrian primary schools and their business partners create a huge variety of campaigns designed to ‘make a difference’, dealing with everything from littering and loneliness among the elderly to road safety and raising the mental wellbeing of pets.

The focus of Bright Stars this year moved from ‘making a profit’ to ‘making a difference’ in the wake of the pandemic and the tiny entrepreneurs set up and ran their own social enterprise businesses with the help of local companies and organisations.  

Over eight weeks the children learned about leadership, teamwork, marketing, accounting, creativity and communications – the full range of skills that go into running a business.  The schools delivered outstanding results with ten of the teams also collecting prizes for their efforts at the virtual Bright Stars online celebration.

Bright Stars is funded by local businesses passionate about nurturing the leaders of the future and getting kids excited about the world of business and delivering long term and sustainable benefits.   For 2021 a record 49 schools were involved with extra support from BAE Systems and Sellafield to encourage supply chain companies to join the programme. 

Cumbria Community Foundation also provided additional support to enable more charities to partner with schools.

Neil Doherty, Senior Management Advisor Corporate Social Responsibility at BAE Systems, said: “We were delighted to support the Bright Stars programme this year, enabling an increased number of schools from the south of the county to get involved. Not only did the young people taking part get to develop important life skills such as communication and teamwork but they have also made a huge difference to the communities in which they live. 

“It has never been more important for the next generation to recognise they can make a difference and the programme has hopefully highlighted how they can do just that. We were also grateful to our partners and suppliers for also acting as mentors for the young people taking part and we hope this positive experience will encourage them to get involved in even more social impact activities taking place in the local area.

Bright Stars offers young people the opportunity to be inspired and see that their actions will be recognised and their voices will be heard.  Pupils are exposed to positive role models from the world of business and the programme encourages leadership, building confidence as they showcase hidden talents and develop new skills.

CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass said the high standard of the campaigns made it tougher than ever to judge:  “The children and their business partners have obviously had a fantastic time coming up with ideas and putting them to work.  A key driver for the campaign was giving the opportunity for the children to demonstrate leadership and team-working, and to encourage a culture of aspiration and enterprise.  The schools and their partners wholeheartedly embraced that ethos, creating digital marketing campaigns to champion the worthwhile causes chosen by the children.” 


Barrow MP Simon Fell keenly followed the progress of the 8-week campaign after speaking to the children via video at the start of the Bright Stars 2021 programme, and Cumbria’s other MPs also got involved and their staffs joined the judging panels to decide the winners: 

Winner of the ‘Best Example of Collaboration’ was Ormsgill Primary School in Barrow, partnered by Rolls-Royce with BAE Systems support.  Ormsgill campaigned to “Stop speeding – protect the people of Ormsgill – save lives!”.  Pupils collected signatures on a petition and canvassed support from local people. Barrow MP Simon Fell backed the campaign joining pupils placing stickers and posters to highlight the dangers of speeding.

Other schools from the Furness area involved in Bright Stars included: Newbarns Primary – partnered with Orian – focused on making, sharing & promoting healthy food, Sir John Barrow Primary – partnered with the MoD – aiming to reduce food waste,  South Walney Junior – partnered with Cap Gemini –  campaigning for more ‘Crossings for Kids’, and Chetwynde Primary – partnered with BAE – with pupils focused on protecting the environment and organising events including a Litter-Pick.

Now in its ninth year, Bright Stars enables children to learn through experience about  key business principles while linking with core curriculum subjects including English, maths and design & technology. 

For companies, Bright Stars creates on-going links with local primary schools, connects with young people and makes them aware of what the companies do, while positively impacting communities and providing development opportunities for staff who get involved.

To ensure the COVID-safety of everyone taking part in Bright Stars 2021, digital contact replaced face-to-face interaction between children and their business mentors, and also reflected changes in the ways businesses are operating with more remote working and online collaboration.

CfLP is celebrating ten years working with young people and businesses across Cumbria to develop and encourage leadership.  Executive Director Sarah Glass adds: “We demonstrate through a huge variety of initiatives and programmes that we can all show leadership, and that better leadership leads to better lives.  It can start at primary school and is part of a lifelong journey through further education and university to the workplace and the boardroom.” 

To find out more about Bright Stars visit