Pupils at a Washington primary school have put the wheels in motion towards careers as engineers by winning a region-wide challenge.
Jagrup Uppal, Charlotte Porter and Lara Everett, supported by Rachel Lyall, all 11, and teaching assistant Paula Kent, made up Rickleton primary School’s ‘Hippy Chicks’ team and won the Engineer Level 1 section of the Primary Engineer regional final with their design of a small car.
Around 70 youngsters from schools across the North East took part in the competition at St Cuthbert’s RC High School, in Benwell, Newcastle
The challenge was organised by Primary Engineer, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to give children an interest in engineering in the hope of inspiring them into the sector when they leave school.
The contest has Apprentice Level 1 and Level 2 for Key Stage 1 pupils, and Engineer Level 1 and Level 2 categories for those at Key Stage 2.
Apprentice Level 1 is making shoeboxes on wheels, Apprentice Level 2 is making shoeboxes on wheels with safety features, and Engineer levels 1 and 2 is making small motorised cars.
Charlotte said: “It’s been really good to learn about engineering and to be part of this project. I’ve really enjoyed it - I might possibly become an engineer.”
The annual programme starts with two teachers from each school undergoing a day of instruction and returning to the classroom with their new skills, with engineers joining the children for regular training sessions to support and inspire.
The project is delivered to whole classes, which encourages problem solving and the use of practical maths and science.
Two or three children are selected to represent each school in the various categories on challenge day.
Vehicles were tested in front of a panel of engineering experts, including Eric Fisher, Secretary of the North East Region Institute of Mechanical Engineers, and Roger Anderton, the Chief Operating Officer of Reece Group.
Susan Scurlock, founder and chief executive of Primary Engineer, said: “It is a privilege to work with such enthusiastic teachers, pupils and engineers.
“The schools and companies in the North East have come together to inspire a new generation. The potential engineering holds for them extraordinary.”
The winning schools and children in each category received a trophy, medal and certificate.
The trophies and medals were provided by the Reece Foundation, a charity set up by late North East businessman and engineer Dr Alan Reece to promote manufacturing and support education relating to engineering, maths and physics. The medals were designed, made and manufactured by Pearson Engineering, part of the Reece Group.
Over 90 primary schools, in the last three years, from across the North East have been trained in the Primary Engineer project, engaging with around 5,000 primary school children annually.
Funders and supporters of the challenge in that time are Bignall Group, Darlington Borough Council, Durham University, The EEF Manufacturing Organisation, Erling Klinger, Ford Aerospace Ltd, GE Oil & Gas, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Hydram, Katmex, Newcastle City Council, Nissan, North Tyneside Council, Reece Group, Port of Tyne, Quick Hydraulics, Rolls Royce, Siemens, Sone, St. Cuthbert’s R.C. High School and Wood Group Kenny.