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Birkenhead School scoops double honours in national ship design competition

posted on December 21, 2018 categories In The Community
Pupils at Birkenhead School in Oxton have scooped top honours in a national naval engineering competition.

The school was the only one to win prizes in two separate age categories as part of the 2018 RN-UKNEST Naval Engineering Competition, an initiative involving the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom Naval Engineering Science & Technology (UKNEST) Forum.

Run to coincide with The Year of Engineering 2018, it challenged schoolchildren to design a vessel capable of rescuing up to 1,000 people from the sea. The competition aimed to raise the profile of engineering in society, while also reflecting the significant humanitarian role played by the Royal Navy.

Youngsters in the 11-16 age group category at Birkenhead School were awarded a prize for their design The Lifesaver, while pupils in the 16-18 age group won top honours for HMS Catamaran.

Apple iPads were awarded to schools, colleges and youth organisations after judges selected the three best designs in each of three age categories.

More than 200 entries were received from across the UK and in excess of 1,200 children and young people involved.

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Captain Matt Bolton of the Royal Navy, said: “The standard of entries was particularly high making the competition extremely difficult to judge.  It was fascinating to see the attention to detail and how the children came up with innovative solutions to this difficult problem.

“The RN-UKNEST Naval Engineering Competition has challenged young people to think in a different, more analytical, way and I hope it will inspire them to harness their creativity in solving real-world problems leading to a rewarding career in engineering.”

Some ship designs made use of conveyor belts and nets to rescue people from the sea, while others features stress and pet rooms to help relieve tension. Judges noted a strong awareness of environmental issues across the board.

According to competition organisers, plans are already underway for a similar competition to be run in 2019.

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Full list of winners:

5-11 Age Group:

Grove 1000 (The Grove School, Totnes),

RS Rescue Ship (Coaley Academy, Coaley),

HMS OPS BARC (Overmonnow Primary School, Monmouth)


11-16 Age Group: 

Sea Star Squad (Budmouth College, Weymouth),

The Lifesaver (Birkenhead School, Liverpool),

SS Legion (Bell Baxter High School, Fife)


16-18 Age Group: 

HMS Catamaran (Birkenhead School, Liverpool),

HMS Charybdis (Wallsend Sea Cadet Corps, Newcastle Upon Tyne),

Neptune (Ricards Lodge High School, London)