A group of ingenious school students from the Beacon School in Banstead have won global acclaim for their project to combat plastic pollution in the oceans.

The intrepid four-person team of Year 12 students Chloe Godfrey, Evie Mackenzie, James Crawford and Year 11 student Rae Sarssam claimed first place in the 15-17 age category at the British International Education Association’s annual STEM challenge recently.

The pupils at the school were part of the GLF Schools multi-academy trust and helped out by programmer Aidan Sinclair.

The Beacon School team saw off stiff competition of other teams hailing from 50 countries around the world and went onto pick up the overall winners’ prize of £1000 to boot, under the theme of 'Save Our Shores'.

They called themselves the Amet Activists and impressed the judges as they designed, built and demonstrated a machine to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans that "even included mealworms to break down and degrade polystyrene particles."

Chloe Godfrey, team engineer and physicist, described her joy at their success and claiming the top prize: “Being part of Amet Activists was amazing!" She said.

"Thank you so much to the BIEA for giving us a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the condition of our oceans. Congratulations to the other finalists and a massive thank-you to the judges."

Report writer Evie Mackenzie also shared her thoughts on winning first prize with their ethical project:

"The competition has expanded my learning, environmental awareness and my confidence and encouraged me to pursue a STEM career with all the skills I have learnt,” she said.

“To be globally recognised is an honour and now more than ever I think competitions like this are so important to get younger people to apply their learning and expand their interest in STEM to make the differences to the world they want to see," Evie added.

The Beacon School’s subject leader for science, Thandi Banda, who also runs the school’s Young Engineers’ Club, was thrilled by the team’s success.

“Working on the project with them has been a real honour and our hope is more students take up STEM at The Beacon and experience the world of possibilities for their futures that awaits them,” she said.

“The global recognition is a true testament to their resilience and high-level problem solving skills as well as their passion for STEM.

“The team is now preparing to publish its first-ever paper in Youth STEM Journal and will be sending their report to Young Scientists Journal too as well as gaining Gold CREST Awards. Well done Amet Activists and continue to solve global problems and stay passionate about the world we live in!”