National STEM Success for Leighton Park Student

22 Apr 2020

A student from Leighton Park School has been named as a finalist in the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, a national STEM competition organised by the British Science Association, that will see him compete at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair from 11th-14th March in Birmingham.

Over 2,000 students participated in the competition which saw their teams submitting projects that address one of the UK Government’s four Grand Challenges: Clean Growth, Artificial Intelligence and Data, Ageing Society and the Future of Mobility. Of these entries, the fifteen finalists have been selected for their innovative ideas and practical applications.

A national competition, this initiative, developed in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, asked secondary students aged 11-19 to find creative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing modern society.

Harry (Lower Sixth) from Leighton Park School designed a project that proposes standardised interchangeable batteries for electric vehicles, responding to the challenge of the Future of Mobility.  

As a Quaker school, Leighton Park has embraced the values of sustainability for over 130 years, and ensures its students are imbued with a desire to become change-makers, protecting the planet and understanding that small changes can make a huge difference. With this ethos backing up the activities of the school’s weekly ‘Club STEAM’, a co-curricular activity attended by Harry which encourages students to pursue their own scientific interests with support of teaching staff and external industry experts, Harry’s idea has been nurtured into his Youth Industrial Strategy Competition entry.

Through Club STEAM, Harry has already visited the Reading headquarters of Porsche Retail UK to discuss the potential for his idea and is hoping that the London Electric Vehicle Company, famous for their black cabs, may be interested in talking further in relation to their TX Electric Taxi. 

At Big Bang in March, Harry will present his ideas to a panel of industry experts and celebrity judges, including Konnie Huq, former Blue Peter presenter, with first place winners in their age category, Junior, Intermediate or Senior, taking home cash prizes for themselves and their school.

Mark Budge, Mathematics teacher and Club STEAM Co-Ordinator, at Leighton Park School said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition. Over the past few months, Harry has been working extraordinarily hard on his project and we are incredibly proud of how he has stepped up to the challenge.”

“The competition has given teachers the opportunity to rethink how we can teach STEM in the classroom and look to using more interactive strategies in the future to help foster this greater love of learning.”

Caitlin Brown, Project Manager for the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, said:

“We have been blown away by the creativity of the entrants and how they have engaged with the Grand Challenges. The range, breadth and technicality of the projects has been incredibly inspiring and exceeded our expectations. 

“We are really looking forward to seeing the finalists present their projects at the Big Bang Fair in March and bringing their ideas for the future to life.”

Following the finals at the Big Bang Fair, winners will be announced during British Science Week for each age category as well as the highly commended runners up. 


Image: Harry at Porsche Retail UK