Repton School Pupils Win the 2023 ICE CityZen Award

Repton School Pupils Win the 2023 ICE CityZen Award (2)

Four Lower Sixth pupils from Repton School, Derbyshire, have won the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) CityZen Award 2023. The pupils competed against other schools in a four-week digital game and created a video project on repurposing disused cooling towers to generate green energy.

The ICE CityZen competition encourages young people to pursue engineering at university or apprenticeship level by offering insights into engineering career options. The competition also gives pupils aged 16-18 further insights into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, including curriculum-relevant content.

The First Stage of the ICE CityZen Competition

Last autumn, Reptonians Seb R, Jacob I-O, Louis C, and William M competed against pupils from other UK schools in the first part of the CityZen competition: a digital game. Pupils play the game over four to six one-hour sessions. The Repton team — aka RepTech — said the experience was “great fun.”

“Alongside the teamwork and collaboration needed, [the game] introduced us to new concepts from the world of civil engineering and gave us a real insight into the considerations and decisions we needed to make [for the video project],” they said.

The digital game has received the Gold Award for Best Learning Game at the 2023 Learning Technologies Awards. It has also received the Secondary Free Digital Content App or Open Educational Resource category in the 2024 Bett Awards.

RepTech’s Clean Energy Idea: Transforming Willington Power Station

Next, RepTech put together a creative video, pitching their idea of how civil engineering could improve their local environment. The team chose to show how the disused cooling towers at Willington Power Station could become a biogas generator.

Willington Power Station closed 28 years ago. So far, no plans to make use of the cooling towers or the brownfield site have moved forward. The pupils’ video explains how their plan would turn Willington into a net-zero green power production plant.

Not only would the plant produce zero carbon dioxide, but it would also save food waste from the local area. Leftover food from supermarkets and households would serve as fuel.

Anaerobic bacteria would then ferment the organic compounds to produce biogas. Burning the resulting methane to boil water would create steam to turn a turbine, generating electricity for the National Grid.

“Working on the video allowed us to apply what we learnt in the game to a real situation,” the pupils explained, “in our case the Willington power station and the generation of a novel source of renewable energy.”

The Four Phases of RepTech’s Willington Project

RepTech worked on the concept with Alyx Murdock, lead civil engineer for Jacobs, a Fortune 500 company that employs over 80,000 employees worldwide. Murdock is also the ICE’s STEM ambassador.

In the video, the pupils explain the project’s four phases:

  1. Proposal: the team came up with the idea.
  2. Planning: the team decided what the project would involve.
  3. Suitability: the team assessed whether the site was suitable for such a large project.
  4. Results: the team identified how to  evaluate their project and determine whether it was a success.

As part of the planning phase, the team spoke to local residents in the Derbyshire area to understand their perspectives. The pupils also budgeted the project, calculating a total cost that came out much lower than the price of building a nuclear power plant.

Repton School Pupils Win the 2023 ICE CityZen Award (1)

A Trip to London for the Winners

As the competition winners, the Repton pupils received:

  • A cash prize.
  • A communications workshop for 100 Repton pupils from Loud Speaker. This organisation, which runs public speaking workshops for young people, supported the video-creation stage of the competition.
  • An interactive learning session for Repton School from the JBA Trust. This charity improves people’s resilience to risks in the water environment via education, engagement, and research.

The ICE also invited RepTech to the association’s headquarters in London. The pupils had lunch with the ICE President, Professor Anusha Shah, and Clare Mulley, daughter of late ICE member David Butler, who helped fund the award.

“This competition allowed us to feel and think like civil engineers, and to explore in detail this area of engineering,” the pupils said. “We are now all seriously exploring civil engineering at university, which in truth is solely due to this wonderful competition.”

RepTech thanked Murdock, their “inspirational mentor,” and the ICE, for giving them the “incredible opportunity to explore the world of civil engineering.” The pupils called the competition “thought-provoking, challenging, and great fun from start to finish.”

Repton’s Head of Science, Dr Stuart Ingleston-Orme, also supported the team throughout the competition. He said the pupils discovered that “real-world STEM is truly multidimensional” and free from the limitations of exam specifications or academic programmes.

The Repton pupils recommend the ICE CityZen competition to young people who are interested in pursuing a civil engineering degree. “It really has opened our eyes to the opportunities and rewards this career would bring,” they said.

Repton School’s Award-Winning STEM Programme

Repton has an award-winning STEM programme, which runs from Repton Prep to Upper Sixth. The programme received the Education Business STEM Award in 2022 for its focus on real-world applications and hands-on learning.

A university-standard Science Priory with an observatory sits at the centre of Repton’s campus. The mathematics block, design technology labs, and Sports Centre flank the impressive Science Priory.

Science days for Repton Prep pupils at the senior school include observatory visits and practical lab lessons. Meanwhile, Year 8 pupils take part in the CREST awards, a scheme that inspires young people to engage with STEM. Repton also organises regular talks and workshops with well-known speakers like Professor Robert Winston.

Reptonians enjoy a flexible, creative approach to learning STEM subjects. For example, top-set maths pupils can study topics beyond the curriculum via the School’s Maths Orbital programme. As a result, budding mathematicians develop a richer understanding of real-world maths problems.

Repton School and Repton Prep also run various STEM-related clubs and societies, such as the Engineering and Medical Societies. The Engineering Society tackles various fun projects, like designing and building a functioning hovercraft.

Repton’s STEM departments often host partner state schools from Repton village and around Derbyshire. On top of this, Repton hosts an annual cultural exchange with Toyota Nishi High School Japan to promote scientific collaboration.

Repton also works with pupils from the Repton Family of Schools on dynamic, international STEM projects. The educational group includes schools in the UK, the United Arab Emirates, China, Egypt, and Malaysia.

About Repton School

Repton School is an independent co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 13-18. Internationally renowned for its outstanding education, Repton encourages pupils to achieve a healthy balance between their studies, sports, and an exciting range of extracurricular activities.

Academic excellence is at the heart of a Repton education. Pupils aim high in their studies and receive comprehensive support from dedicated teachers across a breadth of subjects. The School provides extensive enrichment opportunities to broaden pupils’ academic and cultural experiences.

Repton is a Microsoft Showcase School, with Microsoft 365 playing a key role in the School’s information technology provision. The software empowers collaborative learning, with pupils benefitting from round-the-clock access to academic materials.

Additionally, Repton offers personalised learning support for every pupil. With many academic staff members housed on-site, pupils can turn to their teachers for support even once the school day has ended.


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