19 Dec 13

South Shields Community School competition winners treated to London science prize

A team of Year Eight students from South Shields Community School in Tyne and Wear have been treated to an all-expenses-paid educational trip to London after they were selected as joint winners of ‘The Big Energy Project’, a national sustainability competition.

The Big Energy Project, developed by EDF Energy and children's charity The Transformation Trust, saw teams of Key Stage 3 students from 16 schools across the country run their own energy efficiency campaigns over a six-week period. Each campaign was submitted to a panel of judges and entries were assessed against criteria such as environmental impact, creativity and measurable changes in behaviour.

South Shields Community School’s ‘Energy Kids’ campaign, which involved the creation of a website to promote money-saving energy efficiency tips to families, was selected as the joint-winning entry alongside ‘Does IT make a difference?’, a campaign submitted by Dyke House School in Hartlepool.

As winners of the competition, Paige Mann, Chelsea Duke, Lori McArdle and Chloe Seales, Year Eight students from South Shields Community School, enjoyed a two-day science-themed trip to London.

The excursion began with a visit to EDF Energy’s offices in London Victoria, where the pupils presented their winning campaign to the judging panel. They were then introduced to Will McLennan, who has recently completed EDF Energy’s graduate scheme and gave a talk to the pupils regarding career opportunities in the energy sector.

The students continued their London trip with a visit to the Royal Institution’s L’Oreal Young Scientist Centre, where they took part in a ‘Motors and Magnets’ workshop, learning how to build mini wind turbines. As part of their prize, the pupils were also treated to tickets to watch the West End musical, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, as well as a trip on the EDF Energy London Eye.

Jane Lovell, Science Teacher at South Shields Community School, said: “The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves during their trip to London and I am very proud of the work that they have produced as a result of taking part in the Big Energy Project. As well as educating themselves on the importance of saving energy, the campaign has encouraged our students to learn how to support one another and work collaboratively to produce resources. They have gained huge confidence in their abilities and are continuing to promote the importance of energy efficiency at school and at home.”

The Big Energy Project, which ran for the first time this year, aims to encourage a change in behaviour towards energy saving as well as to help students develop key competencies such as teamwork, problem-solving, enterprise and leadership skills. Evaluation of the programme has shown that as well as educating young people on the importance of sustainability, the Project also offers wider benefits. After taking part 76% of students agreed that they work better with other people, 78% felt more confident, 92% felt that they have learnt something new, 84% felt that they have achieved something and 88% want to do better at school.

Sally Cottrell, EDF Energy’s Community Investment Manager, said: “We developed The Big Energy Project with The Transformation Trust as part of EDF Energy’s ongoing commitment to encourage young people to make a measurable difference in their community in regards to energy efficiency, and we’ve been very impressed with the results. In the next year we will be doubling the size of the programme and are looking forward to seeing some more great work from the schools taking part.”

Amy Leonard, Chief Executive of The Transformation Trust said, “The Big Energy Project has been shown to enhance learning and help students develop new skills and competencies that will help them in the future. With EDF Energy’s support we are delighted to be able to offer this enriching activity to more schools next term and would love to hear from schools that would like to take part.”

The Big Energy Project is one of several initiatives that EDF Energy runs with schools. The Pod (jointhepod.org), EDF Energy’s flagship environmental education programme, now has over 17,000 registered schools and has engaged with more than 10 million students since its launch in 2008.

If your school is interested in taking part in next year’s Big Energy Project please contact: bigenergyproject@transformationtrust.org.uk.


For more information contact the EDF Energy press office: Charlotte Mitchell: charlotte.mitchell@edfenergy.com 07875114872.