Portsmouth pupils ready to take on UK’s best robotic talent

The 'Meon Junior robotics team take the Champions Award
The 'Meon Junior robotics team take the Champions Award
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THESE engineering whizzkids are ready to take on Britain’s top young robotics talents after proving their skills at a major regional tournament.

For the second year running, Meon Junior School, in Shelford Road, Milton, was hailed champion at this year’s First Lego League’s competition at the University of Portsmouth.

The teams in action

The teams in action

The team of youngsters were up against 80 other children from across the south battling it out as part of a technical challenge using Lego robotics kits.

Teams from Fareham, Gosport, Portsmouth, Oxford, Reading, Ringwood and Basingstoke took part.

The squads were judged by scientists and engineers on how they built their robots, on their presentation of their research project and on their overall technical programming skills.

Meon Junior School was the only primary school but youngsters bravely battled it out against the other secondary school children and were awarded the overall prestigious prize – The Champions Award.

The competition under way

The competition under way

The team’s victory means it will now be battling it out for national glory next month. If they win there, the children could jet off to Florida to take part in the world championships.

Meon Junior computing teacher Jackie Kershaw was thrilled by the result. She said: ‘It is a tremendous achievement for a primary school to get to the national finals.

‘The children have a lot of work to do in preparation for it but they are certainly up for the challenge and can’t wait to start.’

Team member Ben Clarke 11, said: ‘I was amazed and so surprised when we won the award. It was really cool.’

The Meon Junior robotics team at the Lego competition

The Meon Junior robotics team at the Lego competition

Lydia Nixon 11, was overwhelmed by the news and said the work the Meon team had put in had brought them all closer together.

She said: ‘It was great because there were some children in my Lego team that I didn’t really know before and now they are my friends.

‘It has made me work better in class also because I understand the value of helping other people.

‘I am so excited about the final. I can’t wait.’

Meon Junior School’s Year 6 team included: Paige Baxter, 10; Lucy Brazier, 11; Ben Clarke, 11; Emily Dunn, 11; Bertie Ferrett, 10; Darcy Hester, 11; Estelle Hobbins, 10; Beau McGilp, 10; Max Messenger, 11; Lydia Nixon, 11.

The eager young engineers are now busy preparing for the finals, which will be held at the University of the West England, in Bristol, on Sunday, February 26.

It will feature teams from across Britain and Ireland.

If Meon’s squad wins, it will open the doors to further international competitions in America and Europe.

This year there are several places available at international first Lego League events following qualification at the UK and Ireland final:

n The World Festival, St Louis, USA, which is taking place between April 26 and 29 April

n The Open European Championship, Aarhus, Denmark from May 25 – 28

n The International Open Championship, Bath, England, which is being held from June 21 to June 25.