Thursday December 20th 2018
Written by Richard Watt, STEM Coordinator, Newbattle High School
In early December Newbattle High School sent a team of S2 pupils to Glasgow Clyde College to compete in the Scottish regional finals of the VEX IQ 2019 competition.
The competition was set earlier in the session for pupils at participating schools to build, program and drive a robot using a kit of parts and scratch coding software.
The Newbattle team worked on their robot each Wednesday during the STEM elective class for 13 weeks, honing and tweaking the design of the robot and practicing driving and moving objects. This work put them in good stead to compete against the best young roboteers in Scotland.
The competition lasted a whole day with heats in the morning to seed each of the schools. In the afternoon, schools were put into ability pairings with other schools with similar success from the heats to compete in the final.
Newbattle were seeded second along with St Ninian’s High School, Renfrewshire and found themselves in the final tie-breaker… and won!
As a result of winning the Scottish competition, the team have been invited to attend the UK finals at the International Centre in Telford to be held on 3rd March 2019. Qualifying from this event would see the team being invited to Kentucky for the World finals in April.
We have high hopes for the team, but we have one stumbling block: The costs associated with these events are much too high for the pupils’ families to cover or indeed for the local authority to be able to support.
Newbattle High School serves to educate a very high number of pupils whose families are of the lowest SIMD. The school ethos is to ensure that poverty will not hamper education or opportunities and experiences such as the VEX competition and we constantly look for ways and means to be able to offer as much as we can to our pupils through prioritising funding in areas such as: free instrument lessons; free food technologies; free craft design and technology project materials; whereas before, parents were expected to pay a sizeable annual ‘contribution’.
We also look to extend partnerships to HE, FE and more importantly, with businesses. Our head teacher, Gib McMillan, has approached businesses far and wide to secure sponsorship in terms of allowing our pupils to attend work experience or apprenticeship schemes to help enable our pupils to follow a route into vocation.
Watch the action from the final below.