The School: Chandlers Field Primary

Chandlers Field Primary School, based in West Molesey, are in their first year of working in partnership with Enabling Enterprise. Having experienced some enterprise education in the past, Year 6 took on their first Challenge Day earlier in the year when they tackled ‘Business in a Day’. These Year 5 students have also recently started to enhance their enterprise learning and skills development through the ‘Going Live’ Lesson-Time Project, where they will be launching their very own podcast.

The Business: Thames Water Hogsmill, Surrey

Thames Water serve 15 million customers in the Thames area… that’s almost one quarter of the entire population of the UK! Each day, they provide 2.6 billion litres of clean tap water (enough to fill 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools) and they also treat sewage: around 4.2 billion litres every day. In addition, Thames Water work to maintain 85,000 miles of pipes and water mains, enough to stretch around the world 3.5 times!

Paul, from the Thames Water team, worked with the students throughout the day to help them learn all about how the water treatment plant works and how they could apply this newfound knowledge alongside their enterprise skills to become waterworks engineers. In particular, the students’ Problem Solving and Working in a Team skills would be put to the test.

The Challenge: The Thames Water Network Challenge

The Chandlers Fields students were given a very detailed introduction to Thames Water and its operations as they were asked to think about the many different uses for water in our everyday lives. They were also introduced to some of the more innovative uses for sewage and waste water, including the ‘poo-powered’ lights and TV in the on-site classroom! By using toilet paper and baby wipes, the group was able to see how quickly different materials disintegrate and thought about how these would be filtered out of the waste water entering the plant.

After kitting themselves out in the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), the children enjoyed a fantastic tour of the Hogsmill Sewage Treatment Plant site, where they got to see (and smell) the various processes involved in filtering and cleaning waste water, including the aeration tanks and methane gas collection vats. It was also an opportunity to think about the surrounding area and the role Thames Water plays in retaining a natural balance for the local environment, particularly for the huge range of fish, birds and other wildlife along the neighbouring Hogsmill river.

Inspired by the tour and the additional knowledge gleaned from some very insightful questions directed at Paul, the teams set to their task. Working in a Team, they thought hard about how Thames Water develops a network of pipes to ensure its key customers are supplied with clean water. By initially mapping out their routes on a map of the area, the teams of engineers used their Problem Solving skills to ensure water could be supplied in an efficient, environmentally-responsible way.

The Results:

Paul was suitably impressed with the students’ creative ideas, teamwork and ability to Stay Positive in constructing their networks. The teams had thought carefully about mapping out an efficient network route and, when tested with a water tower filled with clean water, the teams were able to ensure a good supply to businesses, houses, hospitals and an industrial estate.

What they said:

  • “The tour was excellent and the children have all been engaged with the activities. Paul has made it a really fun trip and they will take a real understanding of teamwork and problem-solving skills from this.” – Teacher, Chandlers Field Primary
  • “It’s a bit smelly out there but I loved it!” – Student, Chandlers Field Primary
  • “The children worked brilliantly in their teams and really rose to the challenge. It was great to see how they thought creatively to solve problems and were all involved.” – Paul, Thames Water
  • “We had to change our plan but, when there was a problem, we stayed positive and solved it.” – Student, Chandlers Field Primary

Thanks to Thames Water for such a fantastic trip, and to the students from Chandlers Field Primary for coming along and making the day so enjoyable.

Enabling Enterprise are working in partnership with schools and businesses to support students to build enterprise skills and aspirations. Find out more by contacting us or visiting

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