03 July 2018

Schools’ computing contest soars into the Stratosphero

A-mazed? You will be!

Whizz kids from four partner schools put their coding skills to the test on July 3 in the final of a computing competition. Pupils went head to head in a Robot Wars style tournament that saw an all female team from Hill West Primary navigate their way to victory.

Tech-savvy year 6 pupils from the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership’s (ATLP) Brookvale, Hill West, Mere Green and Slade primary schools, competed in the annual inter school computing contest. This year, the event revolved around Spheros – small robotic balls, generously funded by Mere Green School’s parent teacher association (PTA).

This is the second time primary schools have competed in an annual ATLP computing competition. Following the success of last year’s Drone Day, this latest event took place over four weeks, with small groups of children coding their Spheros to travel through individual mazes. At the end of each week, children streamed live through Skype to another primary school and a winner from each academy was chosen.

All four winning groups met at Mere Green for the final to code their Sphero on one of four identical mazes. Children added balloons and spikes to their Spheros to battle it out in a Robot Wars style match. They gained points for any rival balloons popped and lost points for any of their own burst balloons.  Hill West just pipped (or should that be popped?) the other schools to the post.

Judges and spectators included ATLP executive headteachers Neil Warner Anna Balson, Arthur Terry School headteacher, Samantha Kibble, and Mere Green Primary’s associate headteacher Jenny Maskell and deputy headteacher Sean Boyd.

Organiser Terri Coombs, IT lead at Mere Green School and ATLP specialist leader of education (SLE) for computing, said:

Congratulations to all our students for taking part and to our winners, Hill West on their fantastic computing skills and teamwork. Throughout this competition, we have seen some incredible coding and some brilliant mazes, with all of our year 6 pupils taking part. There’s been an incredible response to this project and the children have been so inventive and accurate in their coding, and competition has been fierce. This event has boosted learning skills and confidence in a fun way, widened access to computing and brought together children from different schools – a great example of partnership working.”

Irfaah Rashid, a year 6 pupil from ATLP’s Slade Primary School, said: “It’s been quite a challenge but we’ve enjoyed working with the other schools and learning more about coding.”

Slade staff member, Mohammed Minhas, said: “It’s been a really nice opportunity for the children to play with more tech after last year’s drone competition. The children have been developing their computing skills and we even made a Sphero golf course at Slade!”

Celebrating their collective ‘girl power’ the winning Hill West team of friends Rebecca, Emily Mimi and Myla, said: “We really enjoyed taking part and working together. This was all about teamwork and we are so happy to be taking this award back to our school.”