• Oliver Hodgson

St Benedict’s Students Impress Businesses at Special Science Challenge



A group of talented Year 7 students from St Benedict’s Catholic High School have taken part in a special challenge entitled ‘Destination Milky Way.’


The students were tasked with investigating the most sustainable options for colonising a new planet for food, water and waste, home and building construction, energy and transport.


The challenge was supported by mentors from local businesses, with representatives from Story Contracting, Sellafield Sites, Northern Gas, Energus and Responsive Training.

The day aimed to inspire the students and giving them an opportunity to work with and interact with the business representatives.


Destination Milky Way is now an annual event at St Benedict’s and is organised by Mrs Kelso, Assistant Headteacher and Subject Leader for Science.


She had support from the local businesses including Kate Wilson from Business Toolbox Cumbria. She said:


“It was fantastic to see the students develop in confidence throughout the day, and once again reminded me that engagement with business during these formative school years is so valuable.”


“Not only did the teams take real advantage of time with their industry representatives, they also astounded us with their outstanding ideas, creative thinking and planning to colonise a new planet sustainably. We all enjoyed the excellent presentations which demonstrated #STEM knowledge, passion and application.”


The teams’ final proposals were presented to a panel of world leaders for appraisal, who was made up of Mike Farrer from Arup, Gillian Johnstone from Morgan Sindall, Gary Martin from McMenon and Kate Wilson.


Gillian Johnstone, Community Engagement Advisor from Morgan Sindall was one of the business leaders who judge the finished projects. She commented:


“It was great to be asked to assist with the judging of this event. I was really impressed with the preparation and delivery from all of the students involved.”

“It was apparent that each team worked extremely hard to address the issues faced and look for appropriate solutions. The students from the ‘Energy’ team who answered the ‘Nuclear’ question did this in a very mature and informed manner.  Overall very impressive, hard to believe they were only Year 7 students.”


Jo Mattinson, from Northern Gas, was one of the team mentors, she commented:

“I loved working with the kids and finding solutions for their new St Benedict’s planet. They were confident and open to ideas and had plenty of their own. The intelligence around the classroom was amazing and each group made such an effort to present theirs in the best way possible.”


Jordan Gibbon from Energus worked with one of the groups, he said:

“The students demonstrated a great deal of enthusiasm within their respective roles that gave a positive feedback loop which resulted in utter enjoyment for the entire day. The students were polite, interpersonal, and very approachable; and set a very good example of St. Benedicts school.”


“The Destination Milky Way project appeared to be well-received by all the students and it clearly showed by the level of effort they put into their presentations.”


More photos from the day can be found on the St Benedict’s website: www.st-benedicts.cumbria.sch.uk

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