Portsmouth Academy Students Enlist Local MP in Plastics Campaign

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School’s Debate Team wants to take inspiring initiative to wider community 

Students at The Portsmouth Academy (TPA) were excited to share their pioneering efforts to reduce plastics with their MP on Friday.

TPA’s Debate Team has spearheaded an impressive drive to reduce plastics at the school – and lead the way on this key environmental issue in Portsmouth.

Students aged 12 to 14 at the school, which is part of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, have launched a raft of measures, including:

  • Joining forces with the school’s caterer, ISS, to work towards eliminating all plastics – ISS have led the way on this by ensuring all its packaging is compostable and environmentally safe, and shared their expertise with students
  • Organising litter picks at school and on the beach
  • Presenting to the whole school on the impact of plastic waste and challenging fellow students to adopt eco-friendly measures, such as banning all Tetra Pak packaging and developing eco-gardens
  • Working with Go 4 Set to design an eco factory
  • Working with younger students who have studied plastics pollution in Geography
  • Sharing their work with other local schools as an example of best practice

Inspired by the plastics challenges faced by their local area – such as litter on Southsea beaches – they seized the opportunity to share their efforts with MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan on Friday (29th June).

After updating him on their work to date, they asked his advice on how to take the campaign to the wider community, and quizzed him on his day-to-day work as a Member of Parliament.

Mr Morgan also visited the school as part of the Vote 100 campaign celebrating the centenary of votes for women. In addition to the plastics campaign, Mr Morgan he celebrated equality with an ‘Equalitea’ afternoon tea – to mark 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

The school, in St Mary’s Road, is a member of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, a family of 14 schools across the South East which encourages students to actively form positive habits.

Natalie Sheppard, Principal of The Portsmouth Academy, said:

“I am so proud of the fantastic initiative shown by our students on this critical issue – they have single-handedly united the school behind their drive to reduce plastics.

“Their inspiring efforts demonstrate what we tell our students every day – that every young person has the power to effect change. I cannot wait to see what they will go on to achieve next.

“We were very pleased to welcome Stephen Morgan MP and offer him the opportunity to witness our students’ resourcefulness, and are very grateful to him for making time to visit us.”

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“I am delighted to have visited The Portsmouth Academy to see how students at the school are having a real impact with their important campaign to reduce plastics.

“It is a privilege to meet students who are so passionate about a cause which benefits the whole community. It was a real joy to hear about their continuing efforts, as well as celebrating the centenary of votes for women – all in all, a brilliant day to see democracy in action.”

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