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Schools receive bank funding to bring climate ideas to life

NatWest awards nearly £30,000 to schools from across the UK in a bid to encourage pupils and teachers to think about the role they can play in taking on the challenge of climate change.

In advance of COP26, the funding has been awarded to the winners of NatWest’s MoneySense Climate Savers Top Trumps challenge. The first round of the competition gave teachers the chance to win up to £15,000 to fund new green projects for their school, while school pupils were also tasked with designing an exclusive set of the iconic playing cards promoting sustainable behaviours. 

Bolton’s Thomasson Memorial School saw off competition from nearly 2,000 entrants to take home the top prize of £15,000 in the teachers’ competition. Our Lady of the Missions Primary School in Glasgow and Brookfield Primary School in London have also been awarded £7,000 and £4,000 respectively.

Charlotte Siggers, the winning teacher at Thomasson Memorial School – a school for deaf children aged four to 16 – received widespread praise for her project, which will see the creation of an area within the school’s grounds where pupils will be given the opportunity to grow their own produce and be responsible for the upkeep of the land. 

Commenting on the award, Charlotte Siggers said: “Most people recognise that we need to involve the younger generation in climate change, but it’s crucial that we give a voice to those who are often left behind in these conversations.

“Our pupils access information in a visual and hands on manner and this funding from NatWest will allow us to create a project for them to work on in our grounds throughout the year, enabling them to witness first-hand the importance of the environment as well as being able to learn sustainable behaviours in a practical setting.”

The competition also asked primary school pupils to create their own versions of the cards that show the everyday actions young people can take such as switching to a reusable water bottle or cycling to school. 

Of the schools and pupils taking part, 26 of the winning card designs will feature in an exclusive Top Trumps deck which will be shown to delegates and world leaders throughout the COP26 Conference in Glasgow.

Nearly 2000 entries to the competition were received in less than a month. NatWest Group’s Chief Financial Officer Katie Murray was one of the competition’s judges, alongside TV presenter Ade Adepitan.

COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma said: "The interest and engagement that NatWest’s climate competition for schools has generated shows how important this issue is to schoolchildren across the country.

“It has been a fun programme which has allowed everyone – pupils and teachers – to get involved and it will be exciting to see them bringing their ideas to life.

“Everyone can play their part by going one step greener and MoneySense Climate Savers Top Trumps is a great way to also make it a fun and creative process.”

Katie Murray said: “COP26 is a once in a lifetime event and a great opportunity to get children to join the discussion on climate. 

 “This competition shows just how much young people want to get involved and make a difference – and what innovative ideas they have for doing that.

 “We received an overwhelming number of entries and the quality of ideas and solutions impressed all the judges. It was hard to decide who should win. It was also brilliant to see the geographical diversity of the entries.  

 “Importantly, the competition has shown that, with the right mindset, the journey to a greener future can be fun and inspiring and I’d like to thank all those who took part. 

 “As principal partner for COP26, we’ll be taking the cards to Glasgow and telling delegates from across the world about the winning schools and the winning pupils – something they should be very proud of.”

The winning pupils are being sent a goody bag containing prizes including a pair of Adidas Parley trainers - made from recycled ocean plastics, a Top Trumps bundle and 30 sets of the competition cards to share with their friends and family.

The campaign builds on the bank’s MoneySense programme, which, for more than two decades, has been teaching financial skills to young people. It follows the 2020 launch of the bank’s Island Saver game – a video game built for games consoles and mobiles themed around cleaning up a magical island, collecting litter and building money skills. The bank is principal partner of the climate summit.

To see the full list of winners visit the MoneySense website.