Haughton Academy students are floating on air

Education Village

Thursday, 29th March 2018

Haughton Academy students are floating on air

YOUNG engineers take up hovercraft challenge

YOUNG engineers took up a challenge to build and pilot working hovercraft in a matter of hours.

The Year 10 students from Darlington schools pitted their technical skills against each other in the annual challenge to build and pilot working hovercraft, hosted by Darlington’s Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College and delivered by specialists J & J Projects for Schools.

The event, now in its sixth year, forms part of Foundation for Jobs STEM initiatives helping students understand the benefits of careers in engineering and the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths both at school and in further education.

The national award-winning Foundation for Jobs, which is funded by the Careers & Enterprise Company, has worked with more than 8,300 young people since its launch in January 2012.

Students were challenged to design and build a working hovercraft in just four hours, from insulation board and plastic sheeting, by carefully calculating the dimensions and proportions of the vehicle, taking into account the weight of the pilot as well as other design constraints including the size of the engine which was fashioned from a garden leaf blower. Each team of students then decorated, tested and raced against each other before prizes were awarded for performance and design.

The trophy, awarded each year, was won by a team from Haughton Academy, part of the town’s Education Village, with designs by St Aidan’s Academy in joint second place and Hurworth School, QE Sixth Form and Longfield Academy also scoring highly.

Haughton Academy DT and engineering teacher Paul Bartle said: “Coming first and joint second is an outstanding result for the students who showed great team-building and problem-solving skills. Some of our students really stood out and took a lead in the hovercraft design and fabrication and all of them contributed something to a project which tested them to the full.”

Foundation for Jobs Coordinator Owen McAteer said: “This is the sixth year that we have challenged teams of students across Darlington to take part in the hovercraft challenge.

“It really is a fantastic event that inspires young people and challenges them to put the scientific, mathematic, engineering and creative skills they have learnt in the classroom into practice in an industry related way.”

Foundation for Jobs is a joint initiative involving Darlington Borough Council, schools, colleges and The Darlington Partnership of private firms and public sector organisations, which has also enjoyed support from businesses and industrialists across the whole North-East region.

For further details contact owen.mcateer@darlington.gov.uk.