The School: Littledown Special School

Based in Slough, Littledown School is a special school which supports children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) with the aim to empower pupils with self-confidence. The school are in their second year of working with Enabling Enterprise, having previously demonstrated their Aiming High and Using Imagination skills on their ‘Day in Politics‘ Challenge. Back in school, students have had the opportunity to develop these skills further through Lesson-Time Projects, such as developing new reading areas, designing new toys and setting up pop-up bakeries!

Today’s trip was a fantastic opportunity for students from Years 3&4 to put their Problem Solving and Working in a Team skills to the test in an exciting, local setting.


The Business: Thames Water

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!
Liz, from the Thames Water education team, worked with the students throughout the day to help them learn all about how the sewage treatment plant works and how they could apply this newfound knowledge alongside their enterprise skills to tackle a series of challenges. In particular, the students’ Problem Solving, Listening Carefully and Sharing Ideas skills would be put to the test.

The Challenge: Network Challenges

The Littledown students arrived full of enthusiasm to see what goes on at a sewage treatment site that is so close to their homes and their school (and, therefore, treats their own sewage!). The day started off with the students reflecting on their own essential skills, in particular Using Imagination, as they looked at different ways to show creativity and then Shared their Ideas on how creativity and being inspired by others can be an important part of Problem Solving.
After an informative introduction to Thames Water’s role in cleaning and treating waste sewage so that it is ready to go back into the local rivers, students then explored what should be flushed down our toilets as they tested how well different tissues and wet wipes disintegrated in water, and learnt more about the problems caused by fatbergs. They were then 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 day culminated in teams applying their Problem Solving skills one more time as they looked at some of the figures and statistics concerning Thames Water’s pipe networks and the number of customers served. Teams then reflected on what they had learnt throughout the day and what skills they had seen in action.


What they said:

  • “Just from today’s visit, I can see that the children have already gained valuable experience of going to a place that they would never have had the opportunity to visit otherwise. The children were all talking about it to other children and staff when we returned to school which already demonstrated positivity and improving social skills. What I really like is that all of the work and lessons delivered at school, including the Challenge Days, are put into practice with these offsite visits.” – Teacher
  • “It’s really interesting to think about where water comes from and where it goes. Not many people get to see what we’ve seen today, so we’re pretty lucky!” – Student
  • “The students have used lots of different skills today and I have been really impressed by their problem-solving, by how well they’ve shared their ideas and also how they have worked in a team and helped each other.” – Volunteer
  • “I’ve learnt lots today and I was really surprised by the big numbers! It was also fun to learn about the ‘gas balloon’!” – Student

Thanks to everyone for such a great trip day!

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 enablingenterprise.org

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