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Primary school students join forces with environmental experts to tackle climate change

Primary school students join forces with environmental experts to tackle climate change Seven primary school teams from across Surrey, Middlesex and Doha, Qatar have been selected as finalists of the inaugural ACS Future Impact competition, organised by ACS International Schools, and will now be mentored by sustainability professionals from organisations including Allianz, Unilever and University of Surrey.  

During the final in April, teams will join a virtual judging session and will have their presentations judged by a panel of environmental experts, including: The Rt Hon. the Lord Knight of Weymouth, Sam Kendall and Bran Howell from the Eden Project’s education team and Sian Sutherland, Founder of A Plastic Planet.

ACS Future Impact challenges children aged 7-11 to work in a team to develop and present a proposal for how their school and/or their local community can reduce its negative environmental impact. Over the past few months, multiple teams from each participating school have been working to research their chosen issue and develop their solution. Overall winners from each school have now been selected and will progress to the inter-school final in April.  

With proposals covering hedgehog conservation and reducing food waste to solar energy and solutions to ocean pollution, the entries were as creative as they were impactful. To help students take their proposals to the next level, ready for the final, each finalist team has now been allocated an industry mentor:     

St Peter’s Leatherhead will be supported by Abbey Dudas, University of Surrey, who is currently doing a thesis on the mental health benefits of biodiversity       

West Byfleet will benefit from the expertise of Olivia Green, Screwfix’s Sustainability Manager ·Field End Junior School has an unmissable opportunity to work with Anthony Waring, part of Allianz UK’s sustainability network       

ACS International School Egham will be guided by Catrin Lewis, who leads Allianz UK’s sustainability network

ACS International School Hillingdon will be aided by Jade Willets, Environmental Sustainability and Engagement Manager, University of Birmingham

ACS International School Cobham will be working with Nanna Blomquist, Senior Environment and Sustainability Adviser, University of Hertfordshire

Students from ACS International School Doha gain insight from Clive Allison, Global Sustainability Director, Unilever.  

Graeme Lawrie MBE, Partnerships Director, ACS International Schools, said:

“ACS Future Impact intends to help children to learn about the impact of climate change and think creatively about potential solutions, while developing their science and mathematics capabilities. We have really enjoyed seeing all of the finalists’ entries so far. Each team has come up with a climate change solution that is creative, well-thought out and impactful.  

“In our first year of running the competition, we are overwhelmed to have received such amazing support from experts working to tackle climate change. Over the next few weeks, teams will work with our incredible line-up of industry mentors; not only enabling them to enhance their projects, but providing them with an unmissable opportunity to learn from those who are driving the sustainability movement across the globe. At the virtual final, teams will answer questions about their proposal from our panel of judges, further connecting the bright minds of tomorrow with today’s environmental changemakers.”

The ACS Future Impact final will take place on Thursday 21st April 2022. All participating schools will receive a comprehensive sustainability review from Sustainable Advantage, a consultancy that helps organisations become more sustainable. Each school will receive a bespoke action plan, setting out clear targets and advice on how to achieve these in the coming year.  

Team prizes will also be awarded across a range of areas – from the creativity and impact of the solution, to how much research has gone into the proposal and how thoroughly teams have considered the financial implications of their project.

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