A YORK secondary school played host to former round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur for a one-off event.

Archbishop Holgate’s CE School launched its collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation by delivering a workshop to teachers, designers, architects and engineers.

The school is one of six nationwide awarded Pathfinder status this year, meaning it is taking a lead in educating students and teachers about the “circular economy” and the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The circular economy offers the opportunity to move away from our “take – make – dispose” model through careful design and innovative business models.

Dame Ellen and the school’s design and technology teacher Steve Parkinson, along with more than 50 delegates, worked in groups investigating how products could be redesigned in such a way that their valuable components and materials could be reclaimed and reused in manufacturing new products.

Mr Parkinson said: “The circular economy offers a new way of looking at design, manufacturing and ownership. If we can build a system where all technical resources are reused in making new products, and all biological materials are composted for use in agriculture, all run by renewable energy, then we have a model that can not only survive, but thrive indefinitely.”

Dame Ellen said: “The energy in the room was extraordinary. After three hours the designers and teachers present were coming up with surprisingly tangible ideas around how design in the context of a circular economy could play an important role for growth.

“It really was a brilliant evening and thanks go to Archbishop Holgate’s School for a brilliant venue, wonderful hospitality and a great facilitator in Steve Parkinson.”

Head teacher Andrew Daly said: “The event was a great success that showed the school in a fantastic light. We are delighted to be at the forefront of these ideas that may well shape the way the world economy runs for generations to come.”

Dame Ellen, 36, is best known as a solo long-distance yachtswoman. In 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown.