Hard-working pupils from an inner-city Derby school picked up a prestigious award at a science and engineering fair – beating off competition from more than 40 schools across the region.
They were the only Derby school to pick up an award which was presented to them by former Great British Bake Off finalist Andrew Smyth, who works at Rolls-Royce, in front of 4,500 visitors to the event in Derby Velodrome and Pride Park.
Fourteen-year-old Maggie Purcell said: “I absolutely couldn’t believe it when they read out our name – we never dreamed that we would win anything, it just doesn’t happen to schools like ours.
“There were loads of teams from private schools all over the East Midlands and we were sure their models would beat ours. We did get lots of positive feedback from people looking round so our teachers kept saying we were in with a chance.
“We are really pleased to have won a trophy, especially since this was the first year we have entered and some schools have been there before.”
Each group entered in the competition had to give a presentation to two sets of judges, drawn from various areas of the industry.
And each student participating in the project was awarded the Bronze level Industrial Cadet, an industry-led accreditation for workplace experiences designed to create a skilled and motivated workforce.
The focus of the competition was to get students to use their creativity, scientific and technological knowledge to solve real engineering problems with an aim to reduce the annual shortfall in the number of engineers in the UK.
The Bemrose School station of the future was powered by electricity generated by footsteps on the floor and the hyperloop trains were operated by vacuum allowing them to reach speeds of 1000km an hour.
The station was environmentally friendly wherever possible, with solar panels on the roof and smart toilets using less water and the model itself was made from recycled materials wherever possible.
The youngsters picked for the project had all been identified as being capable but in need of more confidence and they were led by science teachers Usman Hussain and Sajid Rafiq, a former pupil from the school.
Mr Hussain said: “The children met up twice in the school holidays and every Tuesday after school to work on this project, so I’m absolutely delighted that their hard work and commitment has paid off.
“It has been great to see them all growing in confidence every week and I was extremely proud of how well they coped with their presentation to the judges, especially answering some of the questions which were rather technical.
“The pupils chosen for the project were a credit to the school and organisers commented on their impeccable behaviour and we were delighted with their positive attitude towards the task.”
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