At the start of February, a group of 18 STEM club students from Years 8 and 9 took the short trip across Black Bull Street from The Ruth Gorse Academy to Leeds College of Building in order to take part in a day-long activity organised by Class of Your Own, a company that supports young people to find out more about careers in Engineering and Construction and the Built Environment!

The purpose of the day was for students to work in small teams to create a sustainable ‘Eco-Classroom’ for their school or local community that could be used as a venue to engage people in Leeds to learn more about the importance of being environmentally-friendly in the 21st Century. The event started with a short presentation from Alison Watson MBE, CEO of Class of Your Own, who explained to students the importance of being eco-friendly and how simple changes, such as not leaving the tap running, re-using plastic bottles and turning the lights off, can make a huge impact on our environment!

Following the presentation, our students split up into two teams of nine, taking on a variety of individual roles including Project Manager, Sustainability Officer, Surveyor, Architect, Brand Manager, Marketing Officer and Landscape Architect. With their roles allocated, our students then split from their groups to take part in training sessions with real-life Architects, Surveyors and Landscape Architects, while the rest of the team stayed together to come up with ideas for how they would use their Eco-Classroom to encourage the local community to be more environmentally-conscious.

Once the Architects, Surveyors and Landscape Architects had reported back to their teams, it was time to decide on the layout and design of the building, based on the measurements and suggestions taken from the Surveyors! Our two Project Managers, Hisham Qureshi in Year 8 and Adam Brahimi in Year 9, led their teams extremely well but I think it is fair to say that they both now fully understand the difficulties that come with managing a team of people!

Following a final brainstorming session, the teams put together their presentations and prepared to stand and deliver their ideas for the ultimate Eco-Classroom! Both teams gave a fantastic account of themselves, particularly Architects Zuzanna Szczepaniak in Year 8 and Ryan Warner in Year 9, who explained their design concepts in great detail. However, there could only be one winner and although neither of the Ruth Gorse teams came away with the ultimate prize, a huge congratulations must go to Adam Brahimi and his team, who wowed the judges in a close-fought contest and walked away with the impressive runners-up trophy! Well done to all of the students who attended this trip for showing our hosts that Ruth Gorse students have the creativity and passion to change the future!