Birmingham pupils join in Big Sleuth

City’s primary schools compete to win Inspector Claw-So bear sculpture.

Primary school pupils across Birmingham are tracking down a mysterious sun bear character as part of a competition by The Big Sleuth’s Educational Sponsor, The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham. Over 100 teachers and their pupils are already on its tail, with more continuing to join the search daily to be in with a chance of winning top prizes including a professionally painted cub sculpture, exclusive tickets to The Big Sleuth auction and personalised artwork.

The competition is part of The Little Bears Detective Club, The Big Sleuth’s creative education initiative for the city’s young people. Educational Sponsor The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham is supporting creative producers Wild in Art and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity to bring the programme to life, which will see over 100 cub sculptures join the giant sun bears on this summer’s free, family-friendly art trail across Bear-mingham and surrounding areas.

Children have until the beginning of April to piece together the bear’s journey across the city, which is being revealed in a series of photographic clues. They then mark the identified location on a map, unlocking the next part of the challenge – a creative writing task. Stories received by Monday 15 May will be judged and the school that submits the best entry could win the top prize of Inspector Claw-So, a colourful cub sculpture that has been created by artist Jenny Leonard.

The top three schools will receive a bespoke photo-mosaic created from photographs of their pupils with their teddy bears. Plus, they will have the opportunity to come along and watch The Big Sleuth’s auction of giant bears raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham has roots in the city since 1552 when King Edward’s School was founded. John Hoyland attended the school in the early part of the 20th Century and it’s his remarkable life story, recently uncovered in the school’s archives that gave the organisation even more reasons to get involved with The Big Sleuth.

Denis Ramplin, Director of Marketing & Communications for The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, explains: “We recently discovered that Old Boy John Hoyland, Jack to his friends, helped the people of Birmingham and India by making teddy bears to raise money for good causes. He attended our school from 1901-1907 and went on to be a parent, teacher, sportsman, poet and author. He worked in India and was a strong advocate of Indian Independence, having personally met with Mahatma Gandhi.

“But it was while he was in hospital later on in life that he learnt to make toy bears, first for children at Birmingham Royal Institute for the Blind and then to help UNICEF fundraise. He made and sold more than 4,000 teddy bears and raised thousands of pounds for charitable causes.”

“His story is truly inspirational and so when the opportunity came along to be Educational Sponsor of The Big Sleuth, it was a perfect fit for us and our aims to open our doors to even more bright children and help raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. We hope our competition brings out the detective in all children!”

Annie Laughrin at Wild in Art added: “We’re excited to see the competition take off and provide yet another way for young children and teachers to take part in The Big Sleuth and The Little Bears Detective Club. It combines detective work, literacy and amazing prizes – what’s not to love!”

“The fun challenge for primary schools could inspire activities in the classroom or at home over the next few weeks. What’s more the top prize is a beautifully decorated bear sculpture that has an uncanny resemblance to the mystery character we see snapped in the competition clues!”

Annie Eytle, Acting Events and Regional Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “At our hospital we are passionate about the development of children and young people and The Little Bears Detective Club competition is another great way to bring the excitement of The Big Sleuth into the classroom and beyond.

“The Big Sleuth is a major part of our fundraising plans this year and we hope that as the children get involved with the project, they will consider helping us to raise much-needed funds at the same time.”

It’s not too late for teachers to register for their school to take part. Simply email to receive a competition pack with all the instructions. The pack contains classroom posters, answer sheets and story sheets, as well as teddy bear name tags and details on how to submit photos for the personalised large photo-mosaic.

For further information and full competition terms and conditions, visit Follow clues on @schoolsofkevi and #LittleBearsDetectiveClub.