WHAT A BRILLIANT DAY WAS HAD BY ALL!
Our 2015/16 World Finals were held at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, on Wednesday 22nd June. With teams having travelled to the venue from England, Scotland and Spain the anticipation of some serious competition was almost touchable. The day’s proceedings started at 9:45 with a fabulously inspiring welcoming address from Lord Digby Jones, encouraging everyone to work hard and achieve by doing their best.
Soon it was time to start the serious business of the day and after some short housekeeping points the youngsters were shown into the room where their work was to be done. The morning was spent working on their cars, getting them into as good a ‘race shape’ as possible. Debates amongst the teams were rife when they saw that the race was to be held at the Silverstone Arena Circuit, a layout that they had never seen in their lives! There were warnings in the software that this Circuit was hard on tyre wear and the weather forecast represented a typical British summer’s day – all four seasons being represented! The long straights were really fast but there were also tight bends to consider. Problems, problems, problems – the set up was going to be critical! But, hold on, this was the World Final of ‘Maths in Motion’ so between the team members they got stuck into a bit of real-world problem solving and between them set up some brilliant cars! Mid-day soon came. It was time to stop work and a spontaneous choir of 100 voices shouted down the last 20 seconds – electric! Every one of the 32 teams taking part had managed to get a car onto the starting grid and things were getting VERY intense until the smell of lunch wafted into the room!
After lunch we got down to the business end of the day! The afternoon session started with the Teacher’s Race. This race takes place each year between the teachers of the finalists and the competition is taken very seriously indeed with reputations on the line. Some teachers told us that they had worked for hours on their cars and some were playing it very close to their chests and not saying what their strategies were at all but when the race started the noise level in the room went through the roof! After a few laps, one or two of the cars had blown up or run out of fuel and a degree of aquaplaning was quite noticeable but with over 150 overtaking manoeuvres throughout the race, it was hardly surprising that it was going to be close, and it was! Winning out was Kevin O’Donnell from St Patrick’s R.C. Primary School, Stockton-on-Tees and second place went to Gary Young from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys. A car entered by John Tebbutt from Chatham & Clarendon Grammar, Ramsgate, was third. John unfortunately could not be at the Finals so Callum MacFarlane, a colleague, collected his prize for him. They were presented with prizes (including the traditional bottles of Champagne) by Wendy Richardson and the audience gave them a tumultuous cheer as they returned to their seats. The heartbeats of thirty two teachers returned to normal – it was over for another year!
Brian then gave a short speech thanking all of the sponsors for their tremendous support throughout the year and for joining everybody at the event. He went on to particularly thank the parents, teachers and children from Colegio Palma, Valencia, for not only raising the funds to get their team to the Final but for allowing their children to have a few days off school (not that that was a problem for the children!).
His review of the year mentioned the many Teacher Training courses that are undertaken by the Challenge and particularly concentrated on the team work aspect of the Challenge. Soon, the moment arrived. It was time to start THE race of the day – The 2016 World Championship! There were to be two winners of the award as the race was divided into a Junior and Senior school sections.
Pole position was held by Chatham & Clarendon Grammar, with most of the ‘Maths in Motion’ big hitter’s close behind them, it had the makings of an incredible race – and it was! However, what was to follow was simply amazing! During the race the podium places changed many times and the fastest lap was recorded by St Patrick’s R.C. Primary school with an incredible time of 97.051s on lap 13. Cars were damaging their nose cones, spinning off and overheating their engines but with about ten laps to go, Aylesbury Grammar School for Boys moved into the lead with Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys in close attendance! Just behind them were Butler’s Court Primary School and then a gaggle of cars that appeared to be separated by split seconds!
Only six cars had retired by the end of the race but as the chequered flag fell, Aylesbury GSB had hung on to not only retain their Senior Challenge title they had become Overall Champions too! Tunbridge Wells GSB came home second and Butlers Court Primary third which also meant that they too had retained their Junior Champions title. The noise at the end was rattling the roof but it was over – the race had been run and the discussions started immediately about what and why things had happened!
Every competitor in the room was then presented with a Jaguar goody bag that contained a certificate, a CD ROM memorial clock, a Jaguar driver’s cap, pen and a keyring. One of the nicest moments of the day was when the teams from Colegio Palma came out to collect their goody bags, the audience broke into a very warm round of applause… a lovely moment indeed! The time had come to present the winners with their trophies and both schools received a standing ovation. It was over and what a day it had been! Our ‘World Champions’ had been crowned and, as they were leaving one of the boys from Prestwood Primary School asked me if I could set the countdown to next year’s Final going in the actual software as he fully intended to be back! What dedication I thought so I’ve done it!
On behalf of us all at the organising end of this Challenge could I just say a special ‘thank you’ to Mark and Bernard from Toshiba for setting up all of the kit for us and a personal thank you to Paul, Mandy and James in my office for what they did for me last week. So many people contribute to making this an amazingly successful day and without the support of Toshiba, Rapid Education, i-desk Solutions, Rising Stars, Parotec, Kudlian Software and Silverstone Circuit it just would not be the same. The prizes this year were, in the words of one 10 year old, “seriously cool”! Finally, we must also thank the five graduates who volunteered to help out during the day and everyone at Jaguar Land Rover for the continued help and support they give to us all in making this such a wonderful Challenge to be part of.
Good luck to all of you and we’ll see you on 21st June 2017.
Brian, Wendy, Paul and the rest of the Team.
|Junior Challenge||School||Local Authority|
|1||Butlers Court Combined School||Buckinghamshire|
|2||St Patrick’s R.C. Primary School||Stockton-on-Tees|
|3||St Joseph’s R.C. Primary School (Billingham)||Stockton-on-Tees|
|4||Lane End Primary School||Buckinghamshire|
|5||St Peter & St Paul’s C of E Primary School||Lincolnshire|
|6||Shrewsbury High Prep School and Nursery||Shropshire|
|7||Glenaire Primary School||Bradford|
|8||Chalfont St Giles Junior School||Buckinghamshire|
|9||Prestwood Junior School||Buckinghamshire|
|10||Hillyfield Academy School||London Borough of Waltham Forest|
|11||Stokenchurch Primary School||Buckinghamshire|
|12||Haddenham Community Junior School||Buckinghamshire|
|13||Pennyman Primary Academy||Middlesbrough|
|14||Colegio Palma||Valencia, Spain|
|15||St Anne’s C.E. (VC) Primary Academy||Staffordshire|
|16||St John’s C.E. Primary School||London Borough of Barnet|
|Senior Challenge||School||Local Authority|
|1 & Overall Winner||Aylesbury Grammar School||Buckinghamshire|
|2||Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys||Kent|
|3||The Glasgow Academy Senior School||Glasgow|
|4||The Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School||Kent|
|5||The King’s School||Worcestershire|
|6||Arthur Mellows Village College||Peterborough|
|7||Hanley Castle High School||Worcestershire|
|8||Queen Elizabeth’s Academy||Devon|
|9||Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School||Sefton|
|10||Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar||Lincolnshire|
|11||St Augustine’s RC High School||Lancashire|
|12||Barr Beacon School||Walsall|
|13||Eden Boys’ School (Bolton)||Bolton|
|15||Colegio Palma||Valencia, Spain|
|16||Watford Grammar School for Boys||Hertfordshire|