The School: Cowley St Laurence CE

Based in Hillingdon and part of the Frays Academy Trust, Cowley St Laurence have worked with Enabling Enterprise to develop their students’ enterprise skills and aspirations through business trips and Challenge Days. Teachers work hard to ensure every student is given the opportunity to develop and succeed, and Cowley St Laurence is proud to be an inclusive school. Today, this group of Year 5 students were given the exciting opportunity to take on an engineering challenge at Thames Water’s Hogsmill site.

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!

Tracy, from the Thames Water education 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 Cowley St Laurence students arrived full of enthusiasm to see what goes on at a sewage treatment site. After an informative introduction to Thames Water’s role in linking rivers, drinking water and waste sewage, they were ready to go on an exciting tour of the site, taking a first-hand look at the processes of cleaning and recycling sewage waste.

The group were also given the opportunity to quiz Tracy further on her own role at Thames Water, as well as thinking about what other jobs people carry out as they saw the importance of Working in a Team to Thames Water employees. Inspired by the tour and this knowledge, 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:

Tracy 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. When the time came to switch on the taps, all 3 teams were delighted to see that their networks, whilst all different in their design and route, had been successful in establishing a clean water supply to its customers!

What they said:

  • “I have been on dozens on school trips and I can honestly say that this is right up there as one of the best I have been on.” – Teacher, Cowley St Laurence CE Primary
  • “Engineering is so cool!” – Student, Cowley St Laurence CE Primary
  • “They were such a bright and engaging bunch. I love knowing that they will go home from here and talk to their friends and family about exactly what happens when you turn on a tap or flush the toilet!” – Tracy, Thames Water

Thanks to Thames Water for such a fantastic trip, and to the students from Cowley St Laurence CE 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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