Great Torrington School (GTS) has taken first place in an eco-schools competition which took pupils on a 12-week virtual journey around the South West Coastline.

Not only did GTS take the top prize in the South West Eco-Schools Challenge, but pupils Harrison Booth, Poppy Heard and Rowan Seldon Green were top performers in the Winning Pupils prize category.

The pupils had the chance to explore and connect with their local environment, learn about microplastics and how their choices make an impact on where they live.

The challenge saw students and their families join a virtual microplastic beach clean at 36 locations between May and September, using the challenge’s mobile app full of resources as their guide.

It encouraged pupils to rethink their relationship with plastic and look at opportunities outside the home to reduce plastic use and recycle what they use.

Some of the work that went into the South West Eco-Schools challenge.Some of the work that went into the South West Eco-Schools challenge.

Great Torrington Secondary School won the grand prize of a £250 donation towards the school’s Green Flag fee, which it received from UK recycling company Viridor.

Year 9 pupil Harrison was GTS’s first place Winning Pupil after he impressed the judges with his entry, with Rowan and year 9 and Poppy in year 8 claiming joint second place.

Harrison said: “My parents and I have had a very informative experience with going through and completing this great Eco-Schools challenge.

“We’ve loved learning about the different problems and solutions that the world is facing - our eyes have been truly opened.”

Some of the work that went into the South West Eco-Schools challenge.Some of the work that went into the South West Eco-Schools challenge.

GTS headteacher Andy Bloodworth said: “This was a fantastic achievement by our pupils and their families who embraced this project in lockdown alongside their normal schoolwork.

“Our pupils did an incredible amount of work for the challenge and we are very proud of their efforts and dedication towards helping to build a more sustainable future.”

Keep Britain Tidy Deputy Chief Executive Richard McIlwain said: “In a decade within which we need to urgently address some of our most pressing environmental problems, its vital that we not only educate young people about the challenges but also drive development of the pro-environmental behaviours required and the Challenge app is a fantastic example of a resource that does both.

“It’s so important that young people learn about the plastic pollution problem threatening our oceans and I’d like to congratulate the winning students but also all of the schools and students who participated and who now have a chance to put their learning to use in becoming part of the fight back on plastic pollution.”