Somerhill team makes its move at the robotics final

    FOCUSED Yardley Court pupil George Rook with presenter Jason Bradbury.

    A GROUP of budding engineers from Tonbridge put their problem-solving skills to the test as they took part in a national robotics competition.

    An eight strong team from The Schools at Somerhill travelled to the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol on Sunday, to compete against 500 other young people in the First Lego League.

    Calling themselves Telekinetics, the group of ten to 13 years old took part in a series of missions, demonstrating their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication.

    The challenges were all themed on ‘Animal Allies’ – with each project intended to provide solutions for ways to improve the relationship between humans and animals.

    Despite not winning the national event, Telekinetics received praise from the judges on their proposals for a device that would help keep dolphins safe near fishing nets.

    It was a long route to the final for the Tonbridge youngsters, with the competition starting in September. Teams were given 12 school weeks to design, build and programme and test their robots as well as researching and developing a project to present to a panel of judges.

    In December last year, the team with students from both Yardley Court (boys) and Derwent Lodge (girls) preparatory schools were crowned Kent champions. They beat 22 other teams to qualify for Sunday’s national final in Bristol.

    The Sunday event was hosted by CBBC presenter Fran Scott and former Gadget Show host Jason Bradbury.

    Organised by the Institute for Engineering and Technology, the competition was established to tackle the UK’s engineering skills gap with the aim of encouraging school-age children to take up the discipline.

    The winners and runners up were from Standborough School in Hertfordshire and a team of home schooled children from Chippenham.