4 Sep 13

South Shields students win national sustainability competition

A team of students from South Shields Community School has been 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, has seen teams of Key Stage 3 students from 16 schools across the country run their own energy efficiency campaigns over a six-week period. The initiative, run for the first time this year, aims to encourage a change in behaviour towards energy saving as well as helping students develop key competencies such as teamwork, problem-solving, enterprise and leadership skills.

South Shields Community School’s ‘Energy Kids’ campaign, which involved more than 100 Year Seven students, was selected as one of the best in the country, coming joint-first with Dyke House School in Hartlepool. Entries were assessed against criteria such as environmental impact, creativity and measurable changes in behaviour.

The ‘Energy Kids’ campaign saw South Shields Community School pupils speaking in assemblies, creating leaflets and designing their own website to inform others of how they could save money and help the environment by being more energy efficient. The students also involved their families by getting them to complete an ‘energy efficiency’ survey, encouraging them to turn off lights and switch appliances off standby.

Early results from the survey have shown that as a result of the campaign, the families involved are now using around 2 units of electricity a day less than they were before. The ‘energy efficiency’ website which the students created has also had more than 1,500 hits since it was launched.

Students taking part in the project were supported by EDF Energy employees Carol Anne Woods, Richard Austin and Judith Roche from the company’s Customer Services team, and Simon Warrilow, a Health & Safety Delivery Specialist, who all work at the company’s office on Doxford International Business Park. They offered advice and technical knowledge, as well as introducing students to The Pod, EDF Energy’s online sustainable schools programme. The Pod (www.jointhepod.org) offers free educational resources and materials to help young people learn about energy, science and sustainability.

Sally Cottrell, EDF Energy’s Community Investment Manager, said: “We’re delighted to announce South Shields Community School as joint-winners of the Big Energy Project. The judging panel were really impressed with the students’ campaign, which engaged hundreds of their fellow students, families and their local community in the topic of sustainability.

“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 this project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved.”

As winners of the Big Energy Project, students from South Shields Community School have been awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to London, which includes a visit to the Royal Institution’s L’Oreal Young Scientist Centre and a trip on the EDF Energy London Eye. The students will also get to visit EDF Energy’s London office to learn more about careers in science and engineering.

Jane Mather, Science Teacher at South Shields Community School, said: “Our students are really pleased to have won The Big Energy Project. The initiative focused their engagement with science and sustainability, encouraging them to learn about electricity generation as well as energy efficiency in school and at home. The students’ website has been popular with staff, students and parents and the team are really keen to continue promoting their ‘energy efficiency’ message to the wider community.”

Amy Leonard, Chief Executive of The Transformation Trust, said: “We are delighted that the Big Energy Project has enhanced learning at South Shields Community School and helped students to build new skills for their future. As a children's charity our mission is to offer enriching activities that will help students develop and discover hidden talents and interests. We have been inspired by the creativity and depth of thinking demonstrated by students taking part in The Big Energy Project and look forward to offering this activity to more schools in the future.”

ENDS

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