Northern Education Trust

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred

Two Local Schools Show Off Engineering Talent

20th Jun 2014

Two Local Schools Show Off Engineering Talent

Two local academies, sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, have made it through to a national engineering competition, which is due to take place on June 17, in Manchester. The Blyth Academy and Thomas Hepburn Community Academy in Gateshead will both be competing as part of a squad of 25 schools nationally which were awarded ?3000 of Lego Mindstorms equipment under the Elite Engineering Programme for Schools (EEP).? Over 150 schools entered the competition.

The EEP is a new education initiative for secondary students across the UK.? Launched in January 2013, it is inspired by the past and Britain?s status as a world leader in engineering but driven by the present critical shortage of home-grown talent.? Its aim is to discover and motivate the expert engineers of tomorrow.

The Lego Mindstorms series of kits contains software and hardware to create customisable, programmable robots, together with an intelligent brick computer which controls the system and a set of modular sensors and motors plus Lego parts from the Technics line to create the mechanical systems.

In order to win the equipment initially, both Academies made a short video presentation which outlined how the equipment would be used to develop skills for students. Since then a group of staff and Year 8 students have worked together in after school sessions at both schools to master specific skills to programme and manoeuvre the robots around a mission board.

The culmination of the group experience is a national competition where students and staff will present information about their experience and how the project will further develop; both academies are hoping to win one or more prizes including additional Lego resources and the opportunity to attend an international competition.

The Blyth Academy team is delighted to be sponsored by NAREC (National Renewable Energy Centre) based in Blyth who have provided team clothing for the event. Roger Alston, chief executive of the Northern Education Trust, commented:? ?For us to have two of our schools competing when there are only 25 nationally is quite an achievement and we are very much looking forward to hearing how they fare in Manchester.

?There is a significant skills shortage in the engineering sector and this is a very worthwhile initiative.? It is also encouraging to note that there are a number of girls in our teams at both schools.? Northern Education Trust is committed to supporting and encouraging equality of opportunity for all but particularly keen to promote the role of women within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.?