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Eco-Schools present remarkable recycling concepts

By Philippa Siguencia Winnings

Students from Millfields Community School and Hackney Free and Parochial School presented their innovative ideas and designs to recycle waste on Wednesday, concluding an exciting two day ‘Eco-Schools’ Programme workshop, at the University of East London (UEL).

It was all part of the Young Crossrail Education Programme which runs curriculum-based courses to involve young people in the project.

For the past five weeks, 24 primary and secondary students have been researching to find out how rubbish is managed.  They interviewed the public and visited stations along the Crossrail route, including Stratford, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street.

The students looked at factors such as cleaning staff per station, the number of waste bins and how waste is currently recycled.  They found that 52 percent of waste in train stations was paper, including newspapers, with the majority of rubbish found on seats and next to escalators.  99 percent of the public interviewed agreed that more rubbish should be recycled.

In their presentations, the groups raised the issue of securing bins to avoid vandalism and addressed accessibility, visibility, location and visual design of waste bins.

Crossrail’s Executive Chairman, Douglas Oakervee OBE, who previously visited the two schools as part of the Prince's Trust 'Seeing is Believing' scheme, spent time with the students to develop their ideas together with student ambassadors from the UEL.

‘This project was devised to help young people understand how to improve their environment.  The programme is leading the way to bridging the gap between school and business, and now, between school and university,’ said Mr Oakervee.

‘We are dedicated to building strong, working relationships with the UEL and other colleges along the route.  We would like to thank the UEL, especially Tim Edmunds (UEL Schools Liaison Manager), Priya Khambhaita and the helpful student ambassadors, for their time and assistance in encouraging students to learn and go to university.’

Education Officer of UEL, Priya Khambhaita said: ‘It was a pleasure to host this event and to see both schools working hard to produce outstanding projects. We hope working in a university environment has helped to bridge the gap between school and higher education.’

‘It was a great opportunity for primary, secondary, university students and industry to work together to consider solutions to real life problems. We look forward to working with Crossrail on future projects,’ said Priya Khambhaita.

Crossrail’s Managing Director of Delivery, Richard Morris, who presented the students with Young Crossrail certificates and watched the presentations, said: ‘They delivered remarkable and innovative concepts and presentations.  The talent and enthusiasm of these young people is inspiring.’

Both schools are part of the 'Eco-Schools' Programme, an international group of schools working on projects that teach students to take responsibility for the future of their environment.  Crossrail has been promoting the programme to 750 schools along the Crossrail route and encouraging them to also become eco-schools.