Lakeside Energy from Waste, Grundon and Viridor have been working in partnership to deliver STEM education to five local schools around Slough, through the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), which is inspired by HRH the Prince of Wales. EDT is partnered with Industrial Cadets – a national workplace experience accreditation scheme.
The ten week Go4SET programme, sponsored by Lakeside EfW, was launched during the autumn term 2017. Working with their Lakeside and Grundon mentors, the schools have now completed their projects.
The students, accompanied by their Lakeside and Grundon mentors and their teachers, brought their projects to the unique Lakeside Education Centre in Colnbrook, Slough to be assessed by a team including representatives from Lakeside, Grundon, Viridor – and local Slough and parish councillor Dexter Smith.
The team from Trevelyan Middle School developed a fun, incentivised game which encouraged students in their school to recycle more paper and cardboard. Extra house points were awarded on the basis of the volume put in the recycling bins – with the house with most points winning a Mufti Day or a Fun Day.
The Eco-Hearted Upton Court Grammar School team focused not only on reducing food waste in their school – but also diverting the remaining waste to be composted in an eco-garden. Any produce grown in the greenhouse would contribute towards school meals. This project won The Students’ Choice Award.
Beechwood School – winners of the Best Overall Project Award – concentrated on how they could save energy around their school. The students used a thermal imaging camera to carry out an energy audit to see where energy was being wasted – and how this could be reduced. The team also identified some relatively easy ways of raising awareness and encouraging students to save energy.
Under their team name of The Eco-Gnomes, The Magna Carta School designed a single Maxifolder shell to accommodate all the students’ notes in a single folder, held together with a purpose designed connector clip. This would significantly reduce paper wastage across the school. This project won the Most Innovative Project Award.
Holyport College used an online software package to create 3D models of two of their old science block classrooms. The College is about to rebuild a new science block and the project team hope their energy savings and energy efficiency ideas (double glazing and solar panels) will be incorporated in to the new one.
Cllr Dexter Smith said afterwards it was a privilege to have been involved,
“I never cease to be impressed by the ongoing commitment of Grundon and LKS Energy from Waste to promote environmental responsibility and support the local community – making good use of their unique education centre” he said.
“The students all really embraced the challenge of practical science in action and were doing some joined up thinking – taking their ideas about recycling, energy harvesting and conservation through in to projects that could change behaviour and save money.
“I’m sure this will have inspired some students to consider careers in science, engineering, product development and project management. For me, this was better than watching The Apprentice: the ten week commitment made by these young people was far greater – and more edifying.”
The award ceremony at the end of the event was hosted by Johnny Ball – often described as “the maths and science teacher we would all want” – because of the way he brought these subjects to life in his award winning TV programmes Think of a Number, Mathmagicians and Think Again. As an ambassador for British Engineering since 1995, Johnny has inspired several generations of children towards studying mathematics and science.
Johnny entertained the students with a funny, but factual recitation of some of the key elements of the Periodic Table in the style of George Formby – accompanied by a regular chorus of “When I Cleaning Windows”.
Presenting the prizes, he told the students,
“Your generation must – and will – be better than our generation – better at managing the world. You will be the ones to make sure the UK continues to punch above its weight in sorting our environmental problems – and stopping them from happening in the first place.
“What I hope you learned during your participation in the Go4SET programme is that a deeper understanding of STEM subjects will give you the tools you need to make a lasting impact on the future of this country – and this planet.”
As well as presenting the prizes, Johnny gave each school a signed copy of his most recent book, Wonders Beyond Numbers. Each student also received an EDT Industrial Cadet certificate – a registration card providing access to an exclusive network – and a lapel badge.
Lakeside Energy from Waste already has plans to support the Go4SET programme during 2018/2019.