YOUNG scientists in Eastwood have won a top prize in a national competition for designing a wind turbine to power lights in their school.
Pupils at Eastwood Comprehensive beat 26,000 other contestants at the national Big Bang Science Fair, where they were named winners of the CREST Experience Prize.
The team of year ten pupils got to the finals in London after winning the regional CREST award for their wind turbine, which the six of them designed and built from scratch as part of a project to save and generate energy at their school.
Their invention is now powering the lights in the school’s greenhouse.
Head of science Fay Cracknell said the whole project was a huge achievement.
“They have worked incredibly hard,” she said. “They all got a lot out of it and the fact that they won a prize really sealed it and they totally deserved it.
“They got grilled in London by a panel of judges, almost like you would doing a PhD and they really held their own.
“I’ve been a teacher for nearly ten years and I’ve never met a bunch of kids so devoted to one project.
“They really have put lots into it. They have been amazing. They’re fantastic kids.”
The children who took part included Paige Roadley, 15, Samantha Farmer, 14, Luke Turton, 14, Wes Lawson, 15, Jessica Bates, 15, and Max Bradbury, 15.
With the help of science teachers Paul Farr and Rosamund Yarrington, they designed the turbine after deciding they were going to help save – and ultimately generate – energy for their school.
Ms Cracknell said: “We’ve noticed that for two or three of them their confidence has just gone through the roof and their scientific skills are also much better.
“For those that do engineering their teacher has also said that they are now beyond the rest of the class.”
The team are now mentoring another group of pupils in the year below who are trying to develop the idea and look at using the two metre high wind turbine in allotments gardens, in the hope of winning a prize themselves.