In Pictures: Pupils go for glory in national robot competition

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Machine making schoolchildren have their sights set on winning a place in the final of the battle of the bots.

A team of Year 5 pupils from Rickleton Primary in Washington are in the running in the national round of the Ringmaster VEX Team Championship next month.

This latest success clearly shows we are growing the talent for the future in robotics.

Colin Lofthouse

It comes after Rachel Wilson, Elliot Curry, Sophie Dunn and James Southern beat 13 other teams from primary and secondary school from across the region at a heat held at Park View School in Chester-le-Street earlier this month.

They won the Teamwork Champion Award with their robot vehicle, which can move and pick up items, making the group the first primary to win the round in the competition’s history.

Now they are preparing to attend the VEX IQ UK National Championships in March in Telford, near Birmingham.

If they win, the team will they will be off to America to take part in the international final.

As part of their work, the team has been learning how to build and control robots as part of their IT and design curriculum, with support offered by Park View School and its tutor Mike Nelson.

Headteacher Colin Lofthouse said; “Rickleton Primary School has a long association with promoting engineering knowledge and skills through their close association with Rolls Royce UK Disks factory next door to the school.

“Their engineers come to work with the children in the school regularly and the pupils tour the factory to learn about the design and build process for their aircraft engines.

“This has obviously rubbed off on our pupils who all want to be engineers.

“Previous success winning the regional Primary Engineers’ Final with an all-girl team proves it is working.

“We are delighted and so proud of our Year 5 team.

“We have a track record at Rickleton Primary School of placing STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths - at the heart of our curriculum.

“We are hoping we can attract bright, enthusiastic pupils to consider a career in engineering, especially girls.

“This latest success clearly shows we are growing the talent for the future in robotics.

“The team are so excited to be going off to Telford for the National finals and who knows, America.”

He added his thanks to Samantha Patterson, the children’s teacher, and Mr Nelson for “supporting our pupils so well.”