Blackheath High School students are Girls’ Day School Trust winners in 3D Design Challenge for WaterAid

On Thursday 10 March, students from Blackheath High School took part in the final of the first ever Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) 3D Design Challenge.

Working in teams of no more than five, students from across the GDST were asked to design a 3D printable product to support the work of international charity, WaterAid.

The charity works to improve access to clean water and improved sanitation in some of the world’s poorest countries, where many women and girls have no choice but to walk miles every day to collect water for their families, leaving little time for education.

Students aged 12 and 13 from Blackheath High School submitted designs that included a shower operated by a foot pump and a collapsible barrel on wheels.

The students presented their ideas to a distinguished panel of industry experts and innovators who judged the entries on the concept behind the technical design and the engineering element.

The Challenge helped students develop new skills, confidence and knowledge of the career options available within the broad field of computer-aided design and digital technology.

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the GDST, said:

“The GDST 3D Design Challenge is an exciting, creative and collaborative opportunity for our students. The entries were of a very high standard and I want to thank everyone involved for their enthusiasm.All our schools encourage young people to develop an appreciation of technology early in life and I look forward to hearing more from our finalists in the future.”

Helen Seacombe from WaterAid said:

“One in ten people lack access to clean water, while one in three have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. This injustice hits women and girls the hardest, affecting their health, dignity and life chances.  “WaterAid is grateful to the GDST for helping to raise awareness of this global crisis as we work towards a world where everyone everywhere has access to these basic resources by 2030.”

Mary Aspden, Head of Creative Arts at Blackheath High School was delighted that both of her Year 8 teams won prizes in the challenge, saying:

What a fantastic day! Our Year 8 students have been working on the Challenge design brief during their 3D Printing club sessions since Christmas.  Team ‘A little Hope’ which comprised: Bianca Cole, Karen Whitely and Sophie Waite designed and made a model of their foot pumped shower which would enable women and girls in developing countries to shower, helping to keep themselves clean. The shower head was 3D printed and they won the junior category for ‘Global Impact. ‘ Team ‘3LEE’ comprised: Lily Yue, Ella Watts and Elena Zeeven who designed a model of a collapsible barrel that could be used to transport water from waterhole to village. The barrel could be dragged along on its wheels using a telescopic handle. They won the overall Junior trophy and a 3D printer for the school! The result could not have been better, well done to all the girls!!”


About Blackheath High School

Blackheath High School  is an Independent girls’ school (for girls aged 3-18) in Blackheath, London SE3 with 740 pupils on roll and is member of the Girls’ Day School Trust network, and is rated ‘excellent in all areas’ by Independent Schools Inspectorate (  May 2014.  Twitter @blackheathhigh

About the GDST

The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the leading group of independent girls’ schools in the UK, with nearly 4,000 staff and 20,000 students between the ages of three and 18. As a charity that owns and runs a family of 24 schools and two academies in England and Wales, it reinvests all its income in its schools. Founded in 1872, the GDST has a long history of pioneering innovation in the education of girls.

For more details about GDST schools, please go to and follow us on Twitter @GDST

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s nearly 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water.
  • Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation.
  • For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.