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Marshland High School

Marshland students make a splash

Aspiring engineers were put through their paces when Anglia Water held a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Workshop at Marshland High School.

Richard Park from the water company spoke to 50 Year 9 students about possible careers in his industry, as well as setting them their own engineering challenge.

“Students had a two-hour session in which they had to design a pipeline from a water supply to a range of different places, including towns, schools, hospitals and farmland,” explained Maddy Hitchcock, Science Teacher at Marshland, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust.

“The first task was to plan where the pipes had to go. They had to take into consideration the cost of the land they were crossing, trainlines, rivers, bridges, and protected lands which they could not cross or cost more money.

“Once they had planned their session, they had to cost their project. There was a budget of £12,000 and this had to cover the cost of the land and the pipes they were using.”

The workshop also had a practical element, with the students able to put their plans into practice.

“Once the costing had been done, students were able to build their plans,” continued Miss Hitchcock. “Here they were able to troubleshoot any issues that came up, and many were able to change their designs and update any costing when needed.

“All students could then run water through their models to see how the water was distributed. Here we had many leaks and buildings without water. However, students were able to discuss and fix their issues, so that all areas had water.”

In addition, the group received career information and advice from Mr Park, who spoke about work opportunities with Anglia Water and the apprenticeships that the company runs across the county.

“He was really good at encouraging students to consider what they wanted to do after school and where they may go,” said Miss Hitchcock. “Lots of discussions were had about careers and further education.”

Many students were inspired by the session.

One said: “The experience was really fun and motivating – it allowed me to see there were other careers out there that I didn’t know existed,” while another agreed, “The session was really informative and Richard was able to tell us lots about all the different jobs at Anglia Water.”

A third student said: “I really enjoyed the practical side and that it was hands-on. I am interested in engineering and it has shown me that this is the career for me.”

Miss Hitchcok added: “Overall this was an excellent opportunity for our students, and it allowed them to get hands-on experience as an engineer.

“I have been working on promoting STEM subjects across the school, and the session provided allowed them to explore an area not normally covered.

“It also gave the students a chance to explore possible careers and think about their futures.”