Pupils scoop two major STEM Awards at Big Bang Event, NEC
Ysgol Glan-y-Môr School has scooped two of the major STEM Awards at the Big Bang Event at the NEC last week. They beat off strong competition from across the UK to win the Young Engineers School of the Year, as well as one of their pupils; Charlie Hall aged 14 winning the prestigious Broadcom Award. This award will see Charlie join two others to form Young Engineers Team GB for a visit to a major STEM conference; the Intel ISEF in Phoenix Arizona in May. This will be a life changing opportunity for Charlie who has ambitions to become a Biometric Engineer. Charlie also played a part in the winning School of the Year team, who not only impressed the judges with the range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities they had been involved in, but were also the youngest team to represent their school at the finals.The awards are the culmination of eighteen months hard work which has seen the school reach the finals of five national STEM competitions; taking first place in three of them.
The STEM journey started back in spring 2015 when two of the school’s entries for TeenTech reached the Award Finals at the Royal Society in London; the only school from Wales to be represented at the finals. One of the entries from the “A Brains” Charlie Hall, Bradley Webb and Lewis Ellar for a sensor guidance system for wheelchairs won the transport category; their prize was presented by James May from Top Gear. Then in December 2015 a team from the school won the Regional Lego League Competition and went on to represent South Wales at the British and Irish Finals at Loughborough University last month. For this competition the pupils had to use a combination of engineering and computer programming skills to build and program a robot to carry out a series of set tasks.
Also last month the school scooped two of the three team prizes for the National Alu Challenge. Jasmine Palmer, Rhiannon Sturgess-Jacob, Jasmine Peters and Jessie Leigh Craig all aged 14 won the single person vehicle category with their design for a combination of recumbent bike and small car. Charlie Hall this time worked with Ben Harris and Rhys Rowlands, again all aged 14, to win the creative garden building category with their living leaf roof design. A third team from the school also took the runner up prize in this category.
In addition to the school taking part in the Young Engineers School of the Year Competition at the NEC last week, two teams also reached the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition which was also judged at the Big Bang Event.
The achievements have been recognised by both Mr Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills for Wales, who visited the school recently and HRH The Duke of York, who has now met with Ysgol Glan-y-Môr pupils on three occasions; at the TeenTech Awards last June, at Buckingham Palace in November when the A Brains; Charlie, Lewis and Bradley attended a TeenTech winners reception and last week at the Big Bang event where he spent time talking with the pupils and was very enthusiastic and complementary about their achievements.
Winning these prestigious awards marks another huge step forward for Ysgol Glan-y-Môr; three years ago the school sat close to the bottom of the Welsh Government Banding table with just 30% of its pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and Maths at G.C.S.E. Last year the school had doubled that figure to 60% and are targeting an even slightly higher figure for this summer.
Headteacher Mr Paul Jones said "What Glan-y-Môr has achieved has been nothing short of extraordinary. The commitment and quality from both staff and pupils has been truly amazing. The school now sits at the very top in terms of STEM schools within the United Kingdom. The Governing Body along with the parents are incredibly proud our all our young learners. It is truly an exciting time to be part of the Glan-y-Môr Learning community"
The school will be proudly showing off all its awards and examples of its STEM work at the South Wales Big Bang (organised by EESW/STEM Cymru) at Swansea University on Thursday 23rd March 2016.
Charlies interview on youtube