MP returns to Ron Dearing UTC as work on wildlife project progresses

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy returned to Ron Dearing UTC to see how the school’s Eco Club members are continuing to support a major wildlife project in the city.

The Eco Club is part of an extensive enrichment programme to broaden students’ horizons outside the classroom.

They have worked with Hull City Council to plant an area of Kingston Square, opposite the UTC in the city centre, with butterfly, bee and bat-friendly plants to increase biodiversity and pollination, applying their creative and scientific knowledge.

This is also part of the Butterfly City project, led by Emma, which aims to increase the wild butterfly population, particularly Brimstone butterflies, into the city by planting butterfly-friendly borders.

The Brimstone butterfly’s favourite plant is Buckthorn and Emma and her team, including Senior Researcher Sean Clough, donated three Buckthorn bushes for the UTC’s Eco Club to plant in the Kingston Square wildflower border.

The Buckthorn bushes were grown by the team at Mires Beck Nursery in Brough and funded by Reckitt, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners.

Rory Graham, Ron Dearing UTC’s Eco Club Leader and Biology Teacher, said: “Butterflies are not only beautiful animals for our gardens but one of our key pollinators which we rely on to ensure food security.

“Working with the amazing horticultural team from Hull City Council, our Eco Club has planted up two large borders in the Kingston Square garden with a range of plants which attract bees, butterflies, wasps, bats and other pollinators.

“The Buckthorne trees are a great addition to these borders and we’re looking forward to seeing the beautiful Brimstone butterflies that we hope they’ll attract.”

As well as adding the Buckthorne bushes, the Eco Club members sowed a range of different wildflower seeds in raised beds in the UTC’s own garden.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We haven’t got a great deal of outside space at the UTC, so it’s really important we make the most of the space we have.

“Last year the Eco club planted up three large borders at the front of the school with bee and butterfly-friendly plants and the stunning borders were buzzing with pollinators from May right through to November.

“The additional borders in Kingston Square are an exciting development this year and we hope our new raised beds full of wildflowers will encourage even more wildlife into the area.”

Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell also visited Ron Dearing UTC with Emma in December last year, meeting Eco Club members. Emma’s return visit enabled her to see how the beds have progressed over the last few months and find out more about the work the Eco Club members have undertaken.

Eco Club founding member and Year 13 student Fran Wilkes-Oliver, 18, said: “It has been great to be part of this project and really good to see how the project has grown from a basic idea to everyone working together to make our city a better place for wildlife.”

Emma said: “Kingston Square is a treasured area of greenery and a lovely, tranquil space where people can escape the bustle of the city centre.

“It was wonderful to return there again to see the progress being made by the young people at Ron Dearing UTC, nurturing and enhancing the natural environment as key partners in the Butterfly City project.”

Ron Dearing UTC student Charlie to represent England in ice hockey tournament

Year 10 Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) student Charlie Powell has been selected to represent his country in an international ice hockey tournament this month.

Charlie, 15, will travel to Tilburg, in the Netherlands, to play for the England Under 15s in the competition.

The weekend-long tournament at the home of the Tilburg Trappers will see countries from across Europe competing across 12 games.

It will be the first time Charlie, who is studying Engineering, Design and Photography at Ron Dearing UTC, has travelled abroad to compete.

He has played for the youth teams at Kingston Sharks since he first took up the sport at the age of six and says he can’t wait to represent his country in the Netherlands.

Ron Dearing UTC student Charlie Powell.


Charlie, who plays right ring, was selected following trials in Sheffield.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “I’m a little nervous too, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I’m out there.

“I’m proud to have been selected to play for my country – it’s a great achievement for everyone in the team.

“The hours training are long and hard but I’m dedicated to both ice hockey and my studies.

“Everyone at Ron Dearing is so supportive. They treat you like an adult and really want to see you succeed.”

Charlie said he enjoys the pace of the game, which he first discovered when his parents took him ice skating when he was little.

Ice hockey player Charlie Powell is excited to represent his country.


“I just love it,” he said. “It’s really fast-paced. With other sports, you can have strengths and weaknesses, but in ice hockey you have to be able to do it all. You have to be quick, you have to be strong and you have to think all the time.

“I’d love to be able to carry on as I am and eventually move up to the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL).”

Charlie trains for 10 hours every week, which he juggles with his 40-hour school week.

Natasha Whitehead, Attendance Manager and key member of the Student Support Team at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re all so proud of Charlie. He trains every night of the week but he’s always at school on time, getting on with his work.

“He’s got a lot going on, especially after now being selected for England, but he manages it all and he’s doing so well.

“Charlie’s really conscientious and makes sure he doesn’t fall behind with his studies, even though he puts so much into his ice hockey. He’s a role model for other students at the school.

“Everyone at Ron Dearing is wishing him the best of luck in the tournament.”