“Solutions for the Planet is a great programme to inspire and develop students into independent confident individuals.  It has made me more aware of the issues surrounding our planet and how amazing our students are!”

Teacher, Alderbrook School, Solihull


New schools

We currently deliver the programme with Key Stage 3 and S1-3 students in schools across Central Belt Scotland, North England, Central England and the South England.

A region usually involves ten schools.
Some of the benefits that students see from the programme are:

  • High quality learning opportunities through challenging tasks that extend previous knowledge, skills and understanding of students, particularly around STEM
  • Opportunities for practical and technical skills to be developed
  • Development of students’ creativity, imagination, problem solving and presentation skills
  • Increased self-confidence and ability to be independent learners, creative thinkers and team workers
  • Mentoring from industry professionals
  • High levels of motivation to get to the finals in London and possibility for their idea to be recognized and adopted by industry
  • Inspiration to take action and lead change on issues that matter to them
  • Increased access of vocational opportunities, including apprenticeships
  • Increased awareness and aspirations often in previously unconsidered areas

Some of the additional benefits that schools see from the programme are:

  • Enhances the curriculum (particularly in Science, Maths, Geography, Citizenship, Design & Technology and ICT)
  • Staff development opportunities
  • New learning opportunities through sustained interaction with local industry and community partners
  • Careers information, raising awareness of the opportunities available in this industry through partnership with local companies

Our work with schools

The Big Ideas programme builds young peoples’ motivation to learn about science, technology, engineering, maths and environmental issues supported by companies that are leading in these fields internationally.

The Big Ideas are submitted to our competition with regional finals held at a universities and the national final at the Houses of Parliament in London. Entrepreneurship, teamwork, business planning and public presentation skills are central to the whole process.  Schools are left to select which year group and how many students they would like to participate in the programme each year. We encourage schools to involve a whole year group at the Big Ideas Day(s).


Meet the teachers

Our fantastic teachers from participating schools lead on the programme in their schools, running development sessions which mentors are invited to attend.  They work with the teams from their schools, creatively and collaboratively, to develop they Big Ideas.  We asked some of our current teachers to tell us a little bit more about themselves and what they get out of delivering the Big Ideas programme in their schools.

Gareth Darby

Heath Park School, Wolverhampton
Position: Science Teacher

“Solutions for the Planet is a programme to help pupils think about the planet and its future, as well as their own. It develops a lot of interpersonal skills in doing so… Do it!”

Read more from Gareth

Heath Park chose to work with Solutions for the Planet to extend our beyond curriculum learning within the STEM subjects and Entrepreneurship.

I have always had a passion for the importance of young people’s education beyond the classroom and experiencing things which are not usually accessible in the classroom or lab.

Our students have learnt the importance of

  • responsibility
  • ownership of their own work
  • taking opportunities that take them beyond the curriculum
  • teamwork
  • enterprise

They have developed

  • STEM knowledge
  • Business/entrepreneurship knowledge
  • Confidence in presenting and talking to others

As a teacher I have really appreciated the importance of STEM and entrepreneurship for future generations.

My teaching has improved through teaching pupils something outside of my specialism and opened my eyes to opportunities that are out there for our young people.

Seeing the students representing the school in such a professional environment and manner has been one of the best parts to the programme.

Committing time outside of school to see all pupils is definitely one of the few challenges. There are so many good ideas. It is difficult to give as much time as you really want to all teams because you get so involved with them all. Work with other staff as well as the business mentors really helps.

Solutions for the Planet is a programme to help pupils think about the planet and its future, as well as their own. It develops a lot of interpersonal skills in doing so.

I would say to others considering participation in the programme “Do it!”

Participating in the programme has very much met my expectations. It does a lot of young people a lot of good, so it must be a winner!

Mandy Tucker

Alderbrook School, Solihull
Position: Science Teacher and STEM Coordinator

“Solutions for the Planet is a great programme to inspire and develop students into independent confident individuals.  It has made me more aware of the issues surrounding our planet and how amazing our students are! “

Read more from Mandy

Alderbrook School got involved with Solutions for the Planet as it was a STEM activity that fitted into my job role and it sounded like an all-round activity that students would be interested in.  I personally feel it is important to make students aware of different STEM careers and also because am interested in making the planet a better place for future generations.

All of the students have gained a lot of confidence and learnt how to work well as a part of a team. They understand how to develop ideas and market them. They are also now very aware of the issues surrounding the environment.  Being involved has made me more aware of the issues surrounding our planet.

The best part of the programme has been seeing the students develop from shy into confident individuals and getting to the finals.

Solutions for the Planet has made me more aware of the issues surrounding our planet. How amazing our students are!  The most challenging part of the programme was getting the students to attend and complete on time and the amount of time I have had to give myself.

Solutions for the Planet is a great programme to inspire and develop students into independent confident individuals.

Participating in the programme has met my expectations because two of my teams managed to get into the finals!!  I would say to other schools go for it, you will be amazed at what the students can achieve, although it is hard work you will be feel proud at what they achieve.

Chris Metcalf

Tong High School, Bradford
Position: Consultant (Retired Primary Head teacher)

“S4TP is an exciting environmental project which gives students the opportunity to develop confidence and skills as they go on a journey to improve something in the world that they feel passionate about.”

Read more from Chris

Tong High School got involved in Solutions for the Planet three years ago because we were looking for an opportunity for Y7 students to develop new skills and have the opportunity to do something positive, working with others, to improve the environment.
Personally, I have always been interested in Environmental Education and as I was supporting the new Y7 students at Tong I jumped at the chance to take the lead and support the students.

I have the students involved grow in confidence in many areas;
They have further developed their research skills
They have a greater understanding of what is needed to develop a Business Plan
They have improved their presentation skills greatly and
They have learnt to cooperate and work collectively in a team.
They loved having the opportunity to further develop their original ideas and many students commented that the work they completed was the best thing they have done all year!

The programme has confirmed to me that students produce their best work when they are motivated and interested in what they are doing. I have developed a much better understanding of the various components needed to complete a Business Plan.
I always loved my teaching and this has given me the opportunity again to work with students and be creative. Seeing how excited and interested many of the students were during the lessons was very rewarding. I have also really enjoyed meeting the different people involved in the project too.  I have also learnt that students are very passionate about wanting to improve our world.

One of the more challenging parts of the programme is that I am not in school every day.  This has meant I have had to rely on others a lot of the time, however, the full time staff have given me great support and I can tell they really value the project.S4TP is an exciting environmental project which gives students the opportunity to develop confidence and skills as they go on a journey to improve something in the world that they feel passionate about.
Don’t hesitate, get involved! I have seen the positive impact it can have in school.

Participating in Solutions for the Planet has gone way beyond what I expected and it has provided many excellent experiences for everyone involved.

Meet the teams

Our teams of young people work together, with their business mentors and teachers, to create amazing Big Ideas to solve local, national and global sustainability problems. Over the course of six to eight months our teams share ideas, develop new skills and learn how to work effectively as a team.  Over the last three years we’ve had over 1000 Big Ideas, from across our School Partners, take part in the programme.  We asked some of last years’ teams to tell us a little bit more about themselves and what they got out of participating in Solutions for the Planet.

2019

EcoFumes

Biggar High School, Biggar

A product which will capture and dilute the carbon dioxide and will be in the form of a removable exhaust filter.

Planet Savers

Plashet School, Newham

An all-ages app which tracks CO2 emissions you are emitting including games and educational materials about the impacts of CO2 on the planet.

Love Life

The Halifax Academy, Halifax

A bracelet that tracks heart rate/blood pressure etc.

Focus

Arden Academy, Solihull

A waterproof product (a device called Focus Flow) that simply attaches onto a stand or goes in a bathroom to help you save water.

Energy Gym

Priory School, Portsmouth

A gym service where users workouts on machines connected to a generator and are rewarded for taking their health seriously.

RenewAbus

Mayfield School, Portsmouth

A bus 100%-powered by a combination renewable energy sources.

Power Down

Perton Middle School, Wolverhampton

An app that will limit daily use on mobile phones providing incentives for younger people to turn off their phones and focus on the real world.

06

Oaks Park High School, Ilford

A campaign using badges made from bottle caps to encourage people to reuse reduce and recycle.

Microkollector

Alderbrook School, Solihull

A filter that retrofits to the waste pipe of a washing machine to collect microfibres.

Ocean Revivers

Hodge Hill College, Birmingham

A campaign to get old people and children from inner cities out to beaches for beach cleans.

Fast ‘n’ Fashion

Heath Park School, Wolverhampton

A Campaign and workshops to raise awareness of clothing waste and upcycle your old clothes.

Bee Aware

Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster

A campaign providing drawstring bags containing bee-friendly essentials, which should be used to effectively transform our local environment into a bee-friendly place.

2018

Operation Recraft

Corbridge Middle School, Corbridge

A recycling competition in school where waste is used to create beautiful sculptures and art work.

Save our Seas (SOS)

Pudsey Grangefield School, Leeds

A sea-cleaning vacuum complete with a frequency-emitting sound system to frighten away fish and prevent them being caught in the product.

Skills4Change

King Richard School, Portsmouth

A service focused on educating homeless people, living within shelters, to grow their own produce.

PPU

CTC Kingshurst Academy, Birmingham

A drone to collect and spread pollen to counteract the decline in bees for pollination.

Rent-a-Bike

Plashet School, Newham

A rental bike scheme that uses old recycled bikes that would otherwise end up in landfill.

MediPing

Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds

A medical app designed to remind young people to take and complete courses of medication.

Workout Energy

Cams Hill School, Fareham

Exercise equipment and gyms powered by kinetic energy.

Stop Bullying

Moseley Park School, Bilston

A website and interactive Virtual Reality game that puts the bully in the shoes of the victim.

Cap Beast

Biggar High School, Biggar

A methane-capture cap for farmers’ slurry tanks and a system to re-use the methane for energy production.

Biomass Battery

King James 1 Academy, Bishop Auckland

A battery fuelled by algae to solve the issue of battery waste and pollution.

Turbo Turbine

Alderbrook School, Solihull

A product of capturing and separating CO2 from factory chimneys and using it to generate energy using a turbine and produce carbonic acid to sell to fizzy drinks companies.

Sea Savers

Hodge Hill College, Birmingham

A campaign to make Hodge Hill College (and then other schools) plastic-free.

2017

Team Hydration

Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford

An irrigation robot designed to convert urine into clean water to use on crops and grazing pasture.

The Hyper Monkeys

Heath Park School, Wolverhampton

The Hyper Monkey Band is a wristband and app to encourage young kids to be more active.

Redivivus

Stratford School Academy, London

An app that measures and rewards better recycling behaviours.

C.T.G. – Cut The Grease

Moseley Park School, Bilston

Campaign to raise awareness of and prevent fats, oils and greases (FOG).

Food 4 U

Grace Academy, Solihull

Campaign to tackle food waste including the Leftover Challenge.

Turbo

Eastlea Community School, London

A mechanism for shoes that generates energy as you walk/play.

Drone Aid

Longfield Academy, Longfield

A new system, using drones, to allow the emergency services to reach previously inaccessible people that needed their help.

Bin It to win It

Pudsey Grangefield, Leeds

Rewards-based app and game to encourage recycling in young people.

UTime

St Bede’s & St Joseph’s Catholic College, Bradford

An app to help children affected by autism to get into a routine and make decisions through the app.

Green Musketeers

Greenacre Academy, Chatham

A dome full of trees and human friendly animals demonstrating to raise money to protect jungles and a ‘take the dome home’ to raise awareness about the issues.

Nano-cells

CTC Kingshurst, Solihull

A nano-cell that looks and acts like a white blood cell to scan and potentially treat for cancer.

Filter Fresh

Dixons City Academy, Bradford

A water cleaning pack to be donated across countries with poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water.