HSDC praises partner schools’ plans to combat climate change

April 8, 2022

Oaklands Catholic School pupil group

A mechanical fish designed to filter plastic from the ocean impressed judges of a climate change competition featuring HSDC’s partner schools.

Around 250 pupils across Hampshire took part in a Dragons Den-style conference on climate change, brought together by the Solent LEP and four colleges in the area.

HSDC, Fareham College, Isle of Wight College and Brockenhurst College invited nearby schools to put forward teams of Year 7 and 8 pupils who were interested in designing an idea to combat climate change.

Pupils from Cowplain, Crookhorn, Mayfield, Oaklands Catholic, Trafalgar and Warblington Schools all took part in the competition, which saw one winner from each college group as well as an overall winner.

The brief was to design an invention or idea that will contribute to a more environmentally friendly and prosperous community, supporting the Solent LEP’s net zero 2050 challenge.

There were fantastic ideas from all of the schools, with HSDC’s partners coming up with inventions including:

  • A hovercraft attachment which sucks up plastic from the ocean
  • A washing machine filter to trap microplastics
  • Eco tiles which collect wave power for ships
  • A device which scans rubbish to show if it is recyclable or not
  • A mechanical fish to collect plastic from the ocean
  • A greenhouse that farms algae to trap CO2

Richard Barlow, HSDC Deputy Principal, said: 

“It was so inspiring to hear all of the fantastic ideas from our partner schools. This generation are the future engineers and scientists who will help to tackle the effects of climate change, so it is heartening to see how much passion and creativity they have for this topic. We were so impressed with each and every entry to the competition, so a huge congratulations to all the pupils who took part.”

The filter fish prototype

The filter fish prototype

A panel of judges including engineers and people from businesses in the area judged each entry on how innovative, realistic and collaborative it was.

Out of all the fantastic entries from HSDC’s partner schools, Oaklands Catholic School were chosen as our winners with their 3D printed Filter Fish designed to clean up the oceans and coasts. 

Jackie Hardaker, STEM coordinator at Oaklands Catholic School, said: 

“The Climate Change Competition has been a very positive experience for staff and students at Oaklands.  I have enjoyed supporting the Year 8 students and watching them learn through trial and error; it has reminded me that young people are capable of great things and should never be underestimated.  

“We haven’t had an opportunity to compete against other schools for quite some time, so it was lovely to watch and listen to the other schools who also had fantastic ideas. This will certainly motivate us to continue with STEM clubs and projects across all year groups so that our students can be inspired and hopefully motivated to pursue STEM career paths and continue the drive towards a greener planet. 

“We are very grateful for this wonderful opportunity and would like to thank all those involved in organising and hosting the event.”

Each of the winning schools will receive £1,500 to take the winning group on a trip of their choice and a trophy for the school.

Eva Ng, one of the Year 8 pupils from Oaklands’ team, said:

“Being surrounded by a competitive environment was great fun. I loved working on making the fish come to life, as it also made me have something to look forward to every Wednesday! 

Pupils from Oaklands Catholic School

The winning team from Oaklands

“When it came to the presenting day, I was genuinely nervous about what the judges had to say about our prototype, but once our team of 10 were up at the front, it wasn’t as bad. Overall, the whole experience was amazing and I would 100% do it again!”

Teammate Axa Biju said:

“When we heard about the Climate Change Competition, we were hugely delighted to enter it. We then worked as a team of 10 to make a mechanical fish that consumes micro plastics in the ocean.

All of us had a part to play in this project to make the filter fish. The part I most enjoyed was the teamwork that we displayed and the effort we put in but in the end it was all worth it.”

Each school and pupil who took part will receive a certificate, and the overall prize went to Noadswood School in the New Forest, who will be given a desktop 3D printer for the school.

This competition was part of the Solent region’s skills accelerator programme, in which HSDC is working with nine other colleges to inform skills training and education in Hampshire.

Richard Barlow added:

“HSDC is a leading college within this programme, which spans three vital skills sectors – marine, carbon reduction and digital.  It aims to ensure that the region has sufficiently highly-skilled workers to ensure the future prosperity and health for all of us living and working in the local area.”