Pupils building blocks to success

Members of the Bawdsey Primary School celebrate winning the First Lego League regional competition.

Members of the Bawdsey Primary School celebrate winning the First Lego League regional competition.

A tiny Suffolk school with big ambition – and a growing collection of extra-curricular accolades – is in with a chance of scooping a national robotics award.

A team of budding mechanical engineers from Bawdsey Primary claimed victory for their school near Woodbridge in the regional heat of the First Lego League competition.

They beat a field of 28 other teams, including 24 from high schools across the region, to be named winners at Dunton Ford Technical Centre, in Basildon.

It means the school will go on to compete for a third time in the national final – held at Loughborough University on February 21 – and could then represent their country at the global version of the competition in America next April.

Proud headteacher, Rob Duncan said: “It’s a big achievement – especially when you think it included a research project, and that they were competing against secondary school teams.

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“We enter these big, high profile competitions because it encourages our pupils to excel. They’re excited to be involved.”

Bawdsey Primary pupils have also competed in four of the last 10 Jaguar Maths In Motion challenge finals, in which small teams compete to win a Grand Prix style race and become UK Champions.

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In recent years, the school has also competed in three county sports finals, finishing third in basketball, seventh in swimming, and third in hockey.

For the First Lego League, pupils had to design, build, test, and program an autonomous robot to solve the real-world problem of reducing and managing waste.

To build and operate their robot, the children had to use Lego Mindstorms bricks and programming software.

“A lot of hard work went into it,” said Mr Duncan. “The challenge can get very tense but they still came out on top.

“This is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s a great thing for the children to be involved in.”

Last year, two teams represented the UK and Ireland at the international First Lego League world festival – a group of home-educated students from Oxfordshire and a team pupils from a Sheffield primary school.

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