The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Announces Google as a Global Partner


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation today announced Google as its latest Global Partner accelerating the transition to the circular economy.

The partnership recognises Google’s commitment to developing innovative, market-leading circular economy initiatives at scale alongside the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s five existing Global Partners: Cisco, Kingfisher, Philips, Renault and Unilever.

As industry leaders, Global Partners work closely with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to identify circular business opportunities and to implement tangible programmes. As a global front-runner in technology innovation – with its extensive global network of data centres and real estate, a strong presence in the electronic devices market, and arguably the world’s leading data and analytics capability – Google is ideally placed to play a key enabling role in bringing about the system-level change needed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Google will build on an already impressive track record in energy efficiency and resource effectiveness to become a pioneer and global reference point for many aspects of the circular economy.

Over the coming months, the Foundation and Google will be working to explore and shape a series of initiatives to embed circular economic principles into the fabric of Google’s infrastructure, operations, and device programmes.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, stated: “Google’s ambition to lead the way on the circular economy represents a step-change opportunity – we are thrilled to be working closely together with such a visionary, innovative and transformational partner on this journey”.

Inspirational New School for Durham after Rebuild


A Durham primary school given a state-of-the-art new building through the government’s flagship rebuilding programme is officially re-opening today (25 September 2015).

West Cornforth Primary School is 1 of 31 schools in the North East to be rebuilt through the £4.4 billion priority school building programme (PSBP), which is transforming some of the most run-down schools in the country.

As a result of £3.3 million worth of construction, the school’s old buildings have been replaced with a modern single-storey building which sits in the centre of 6 acres of land. The new building has a multi-purpose hall, a new IT suite and light, spacious classrooms with access to outdoor teaching areas.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

Our investment in school buildings across the country is transforming the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers.

The re-opening of West Cornforth Primary School is a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the North East.

Ensuring all children have access to the best possible schools and facilities is just 1 part of our commitment to help all young people reach their potential regardless of their background. These buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose schools for pupils for many years to come.

During the re-opening ceremony, pupils and staff will be joined by a former pupil of West Cornforth, businessman Sir Moir Lockhead, who will perform the official re-opening.

Janet Sarsfield, Headteacher of West Cornforth Primary School, said:

One year on from the closing of the old school, the pupils, staff and governing body are delighted with their new school building. The building is a bright, warm and inviting learning environment that meets the educational needs of all our pupils.

Many of the spacious facilities, such as a high-spec wifi and IT system, hygiene room, food room, classrooms with independent access to the outdoor learning environment and additional spaces for working, are far more suitable to inspire, motivate and encourage our pupils to learn than what we had before.

We have a very happy and successful school community working in this wonderful building. All staff, governors and parent/carers work collaboratively and harmoniously together, to ensure our children receive a good start in life.

Ernie Hurrell, Chair of Governors of West Cornforth Primary School, said:

We have waited a long time for this to happen and now our hopes for a replacement school fit for the 21st century have been realised.

Thanks to the PSBP, school buildings are being rebuilt faster and cheaper than those built under the previous school building initiative – Building Schools for the Future (BSF). Under the BSF it took 3 years for construction work to begin. This was slashed to 1 year for the PSBP, with projects costing around a third less.

A total of 537 schools will benefit from construction through the 2 phases of the PSBP.

100ft Meccano Bridge Spans Clarendon Dock in Belfast


Engineering students from Queen’s University are hoping to set a new world record by building a 100ft footbridge made entirely from Meccano.

The temporary Meccano bridge is being built across Belfast’s Clarendon Dock.

It has been designed and built by a group of third year civil engineering students and school children.

It will be unveiled at a free public event on Saturday.

The year-long project is part of the university’s outreach programme to encourage more children to think about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Around 11,000 pieces of Meccano were used to build the bridge, which weighs 600kg (around 1,300lbs).

Representatives from Guinness World Records will be on site to confirm if the project has earned a world record for the world’s largest ever Meccano construction.

The project has received funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, AECOM, Meccano and Queen’s Annual Fund.