Littlehampton students win national STEM competition

A team from The Littlehampton Academy has powered to victory in the national final of a rocket car competition.

The year-seven trio designed and built a miniature rocket car that reached 66.1mph in less than one second in the final. They were presented with their prizes by the Countess of Wessex.

The winning students from The Littlehampton Academy receive their prize from the Countess of Wessex

The winning students from The Littlehampton Academy receive their prize from the Countess of Wessex

David Flowers, design technology teacher, said: “This is a massive achievement and we are hugely proud of them.

“On the day, the team had one hour to build their rocket car from their design plans before racing down the 20-metre track, aiming to achieve the fastest possible speed through the timing gates.

“The competition involved 17,000 teams from start to finish from across the country. The TLA team won the regional final before going on to compete against 57 other regional finalists from across the country.”

The Race for the Line final, at RAF Wittering in Peterborough, was inspired by the Bloodhound SCC supersonic vehicle and its land speed record attempt. The aim of the competition, which involved 78,000 students overall, was to encourage the best and brightest young engineers in the land.

Powered by miniature rockets, the students’ tiny cars reached speeds proportionate to the full-sized Bloodhound, topping its target of 1,000mph.

The Countess of Wessex watched the final, where The Littlehampton Academy car was the fastest, though actually 7mph slower than its own top speed in the qualifier.

Mr Flowers added: “It takes a massive amount of thinking and hours of engineering and practice. It’s an inspiring challenge, and I’m very proud of them.”

In addition to the main event, the schoolchildren were treated to displays by Spitfires, the latest RAF Typhoons and the Red Arrows.

Science, technology, engineering and maths advocates were also on hand to highlight the opportunities open to young people.

Commander Craig Wood from the Royal Navy, which supported the Portsmouth regional final where Littlehampton triumphed, said: “The sooner that we can connect the youth with these concepts and engineering in general, then perhaps we will break down that barrier that engineering is just mathematics and quite boring.”

Organiser The Learning Partnership had the support of all three Armed Forces for this year’s competition.

Lieutenant Commander Ross Lee, one of the mentors, said: “This event is a great opportunity to bring engineering to the younger generation in an exciting way. We just hope this experience will encourage more young people to take up STEM-based careers in the future.”