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Closure-hit school comes out fighting in robot wars challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:52 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:34 30 January 2018

Pupils from Alderman Swindell are celebrating their success at a robotics competition. Photo: Alderman Swindell

Pupils from Alderman Swindell are celebrating their success at a robotics competition. Photo: Alderman Swindell

Alderman Swindell

Articulated machines with an unusual lifting mechanism have helped a group of Great Yarmouth school children edge closer to a championship title.

Children from Alderman Swindell Primary School showed off their technical wizardry at the local round of the VEX IQ Challenge - a competition that encourages youngsters to push technical boundaries.

They were among 12 teams from six schools to test their creative and programming skills at the Aviation Academy in Norwich.

Headteacher Alison Hopley said the Year 4 and 5 pupils had embraced the project with unrivalled enthusiasm creating the devices out of kits and deploying them in a task moving discs around a board.

And on the day the design and build strategy proved a winner, earning the team enough points to take them to the regional stage in Telford in March.

Miss Hopley said that being first time entrants made their success all the more remarkable.

The school in Beresford Road has been growing from an infant to a primary, giving it older, competition-age children for the first time.

However, it faces closure in July under a controversial merger with nearby North Denes Primary.

MORE: Plans to close Great Yarmouth primary and merge it with another will go ahead

Meanwhile Miss Hopley said the school was still keen to take part in everything that was going on.

She said: “We have a very strong focus on maths in Great Yarmouth and a good tradition in engineering.

“Children love the practicalities and they love their programming. We want future engineers.”

She said the children had taken part in a taster session before entering the competition and were “really inspired.”

The kits were paid for by grant funding and the Friends organisation that supports the schools.

Two teams of four from Alderman Swindell took part on the day, battling it out for points over collaborative and competitive rounds.

“Ours is quite different apparently,” Miss Hopley added. “Ours did lifting whereas the others did pushing.”

Now, having seen what is required the children are busy re-programming their machines to do different tasks ahead of the Telford round on March 1,

The challenge aims to develop teamwork, communication, and project-based organisation as well as computing skills.

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