Alness Academy best in the UK once again at National Science and Engineering Competition

This was at the Big Bang Science and Engineering finals in Birmingham.

The young science team went to the event representing Scotland after winning the Best Scottish Club Showcase at the Big Bang Scottish finals held in Glasgow in June last year.  Against very stiff competition from across the UK they followed this Scottish success at last week’s UK Big Bang final receiving both a Highly Commended award from the judges in the intermediate category and the Best Group award.

The Big Bang is the largest celebration of science and engineering for young people in the UK.  Everything is aimed at showing young people just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are out there for them with the right experience and qualifications.

Over 2000 schools from across the UK took part in the completion this year and the event in Birmingham brought together 200 finalists to compete for the Big prizes in the science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Alness Geoscience has now won the UK Young Engineers and Science Club of the Year 2012 and then the UK Best Engineering Project 2013 and have now made it a hat trick of wins at the UK finals.

This year’s team of Josie Tolliday (S5), Rachel MacRae, Sean Clark, Craig Munro, Michael Knox and Matthew Prescott (all S4) are supported by staff Liana Ballingall, Faculty Head Science, Alex Ferrie Faculty Head Geography and Geology and Eddie Malicki, retired Janitor. Their project this year has been centred on carrying out research on a pacific island with work on renewables including wave generators, wind turbines and underwater generators.  They have built a ROV for underwater research and their own ferry for transporting the ROV to deep water.  Part of the kit they invented included eye-catching solar powered helmets to repel midges and other biting insects.

Liana Ballingall said: “Over the last 3 years we have had a different team in every competition so this makes our success even more incredible.  Alness Geoscience is a very supportive club and supports every team member in every competition however, Josie along with the 3 staff and my green jumper have been in every winning team! 

“I am so proud of what they have achieved and we are also extremely grateful to our sponsors for their generous support.  Alness and Evanton Community Councils and N Power Renewables, Edderton Community Council and the Beinn Tarsuinn wind farm fund and our main sponsor Pat Munro who also provided us with our branded tops and hard hats for our “Midge helmets”.  Without all of these generous sponsors we would not have been able to represent Scotland at the UK finals for the third time.  The competition level from all the public and private schools taking part was very high which makes the team’s success  even more rewarding.  Alness Academy and the local community can be very proud of what the pupils from Alness Geoscience have achieved.”

Josie Tolliday who has been in the winning team over the last three years of the competition added:  “The projects we worked on really grabbed our imagination and the judges showed a lot of interest saying our enthusiasm came across clearly in our presentation.  It was good to meet other teams and see what they were doing and our Midge helmets caused quite a stir. The whole experience has been great and given us all the chance to meet lots of inspiring people.  I am sure we’ll be putting our heads together to come up with another idea for next year’s competition.”

The team will be travelling to Aberdeen in April for a science event at Robert Gordon University and in June will be taking part in the Scottish Big Bang event held during the Edinburgh Science Festival.


19 Mar 2014
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