St Aidan’s High School wins Blackpoolrobo 2019 Competition

Published on 08/07/2019 by nmoo

A team of four pupils from St Aidan’s CofE High School in Poulton-le-Fylde beat off stiff competition to win the 2019 Blackpoolrobo competition organised by Blackpool and The Fylde College.

Eight schools from across the Fylde took part in the competition, which took place in the Advanced Technology Centre at the B&FC Bispham Campus.

St Aidan’s came away with the top prize of £1,000 along with a trophy. Neil Ireland, Director of Technology & Computing at the school said: “It was a close call and came down to the final round. It’s great to come away with first prize.”

Second place went to Armfield Academy in Blackpool, which earned the school a prize of £750. Another Poulton-le-Fylde school – Hodgson Academy – were awarded the third prize of £500.

Blackpoolrobo is a robotics competition that aims to encourage secondary school students from Key Stage 3 to build an innovative robust robot and compete in a pre-designed arena with space and time constraints. It places a demanding challenge on team members to work together and utilise their academic knowledge and technical skills.

The six-stage challenge involved each team building and programming a robot that could perform a series of different tasks based on key landmarks around the Fylde. These ranged from feeding animals at Blackpool Zoo to navigating complex routes at the Pleasure Beach. Between each stage the robot had to be redesigned and re-programmed for the new and different next task.

Organiser of the event, B&FC engineering and science lecturer Nicole Dean, commented: “The Blackpool Robo competition is really important for our STEM* engagement with high school students. The aim is to provide them with an innovative and stimulating task to work towards, which will develop their interests in subjects such as engineering, robotics and programming and show them that these subjects are diverse and exciting.

“Many high school students have a preconceived image of engineering and may not consider this as a future career choice. Hopefully by engaging them in this competition and showing them a different, fun side to engineering and programming, we can expand their views and build an interest into a future career choice in a STEM related area.”

Blackpoolrobo 2019 was sponsored by BAE Systems and the Lancashire careers information organisation FutureU. Support was also provided by the leading engineering bodies The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

The competition was judged by two highly-qualified and experienced professional engineers, Keith Ridley from the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Mark Stephens, Programme Leader for Engineering at B&FC, along with Theo Blackburn from FutureU.