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Gatwick Airport hosts LEGO® robotics tournament for local schools



For the fourth consecutive year, Gatwick Airport hosted the Sussex and Surrey FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) regional tournament, which saw teams of students from seven schools in the region compete to build LEGO® robots.

FIRST® LEGO® League is an international robotics-based competition, which the airport has partnered, to excite young people aged 9 to 16 years about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). FLL is a collaboration between FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) and LEGO®. It started in the USA in 1998 with 210 teams and has now grown to a global competition with 30,000 teams involving more than half a million young people.

The event took place took place in the Sofitel Hotel, North Terminal, and was attended by 10 students from each school. The roboteers had up to 10 weeks before the tournament to build and program their robots around this year’s ‘Hydrodynamics’ theme – use, transportation and disposal of water – before putting them through their paces to complete a set of missions on the thematic play surface.

The judging panel, which included members of Gatwick staff, chose Reigate St Mary’s School as the overall winners, who will go through to the FLL UK and Ireland Final, held at the University of West England. The winners of the National Finals will then represent the UK and Ireland at an international championship in either USA, Hungary or Estonia.

The event partnership forms part of Gatwick’s Community Engagement ‘Inform, Inspire, Invest’ education strategy, including  partnerships with other STEM initiatives, such as the Big Bang Fair and Learn Live broadcasts.

The airport is also supporting the Government’s national ‘Year of Engineering 2018’ campaign, which launches today, and is celebrating engineering and helping to raise its status as an aspirational career path among young people, their parents and teachers.

Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s Chief Operations Officer, said:

“Gatwick is proud to have once again hosted the regional FIRST® LEGO® League tournament and thanks all of the schools and their students for participating. With a background in engineering myself, I was extremely impressed by the standard of entries and the high level of enthusiasm with which the teams approached the competition.

“Our objective as an airport is to inform the next generation of young people about the wide range of jobs that STEM skills are needed for, and help to build a pipeline of talent for the future.” 

Mandy Workman, Education Manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said:

“FIRST® LEGO® League is a great competition because it develops the skills needed in our future engineers such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork. It really inspires students and makes STEM subjects so much fun!” 

Jo Mckinney-Green, Operations Manager, STEM Sussex, University of Brighton, said:

The day is always such an action-packed and vibrant event and it is a pleasure to be involved each year. It is incredibly rewarding to see the young people taking part with great enthusiasm and talent and we are delighted that it has such a positive impact on them in terms of their immediate studies and on their future ideas and aspirations.”

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Crawley students’ A-Level success!

Find out how students across Crawley got on in their A-Level exams.



Students in Crawley and across the country have today be finding out their A-level exam results.

Tears of joy, relief and possibly sadness will be shed as pupils open the envelope that decides their fate for the next few years.

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One success story from St. Wilfrid’s Catholic School was that of Toby Read. He was left momentarily speechless after seeing his results.

Toby (right) and his friend opening their A-level results at St. Wilfrid’s.

He was awarded two A* and a B in his A-levels and was listed as one of St. Wilfrid’s ‘outstanding performers’.

Toby said:

“I’m surprised. I’m surprised about Maths – I got an A* which is better than my predicted A.”

Toby is off to Loughborough University in September to study Maths for three years.

“There’s been a lot of work [this year], especially in Maths. I mean, I probably could’ve put more work in though as I got a B in Economics.”

Although he’s not sure what he wants to do for a career yet, Toby is happy with his decision to study Maths further as “Maths goes into many things”.

Toby from St. Wilfrid’s received two A*s and a B and will continue to study Maths at University.

Michael Ferry, Headteacher at St. Wilfrid’s said:

“We’re in the second year of massive changes in A-Levels, lots of exams have moved towards terminal exams at the end of two years, the value of coursework has been reduced, so it has become harder by the very nature of those changes.”

“Given the fact that predictions yesterday were going to be that the top grades were going to, nationally, drop because of all the unconditional offers that have been made by universities, we haven’t experienced that hit.

“We’ve done really well, this is our second best ever set of results, from a progress point of view. We’ve maintained and improved some of our top grades. Students have worked phenomenally hard, staff have as well in terms of making sure that they’ve adapted to the changes in all of the specifications and we’ve been blessed with some fantastic results. There’s going to be a lot of happy people this morning.”

Some of the students have already gained apprenticeships since leaving Year 13, with many being successful in gaining university places from September.

Mr Ferry added:

“Although it is early days, we believe that every student who applied for university has been offered a place. We wish them all the very best for the future.”

Over at Hazelwick, the school is celebrating an A-level pass rate of 99 per cent. An incredible 78 per cent of these were A*-C.

Headteacher at Hazelwick, Ann Fearon said:

“We are delighted at another hugely successful year for Hazelwick sixth form, particularly in light of the increased demand of the new linear A Levels.

“We are very optimistic that, with these excellent results, the vast majority will be able to progress to their university of choice.

“One of our top-achieving students has gained a place at Oxford University. One student has been accepted for Medicine at King’s College London.

“These fine results are the reward for two years of dedication and hard work from students and teachers alike – our students have once again risen to the challenge admirably!

“We are not only proud of our sixth formers’ academic success, but also immensely grateful for the enormous contribution they have made to the wider life of the school community”

Hazelwick’s Keely Holland aims to study English Literature after getting three A*s in her A-levels.

Hazelwick student, Anand Boldbaatar plans to study Economics in Manchester after receiving two As, a B and a C.

Rahul Patel will be staying in Sussex as he studies Law at the University of Sussex after getting an A* and two As.

Oriel High School are also celebrating the achievements of it’s Year 13 students. In a year when many new qualifications have been assessed for the first time, there were successes across the board. The school say they “saw strong performance and fulfilled potential in both A-Level and BTEC qualifications, reflecting the diverse nature of our student body and their passions.”

A spokesperson for the school continued to say:

“The range of destinations and pathways open to students is ever increasing. Whilst the largest cohort ever from Oriel High School are now headed to university, many having received unconditional offers during their application process, others are embarking on their first full time employment or beginning one of the increasing numbers of Degree and Higher Level Apprenticeships available locally and nationally.

“A number are seizing the opportunity to complete a Gap Year and voluntary work. We are incredibly proud of our students wherever their next steps may take them. We wish them every success for the future.”

Students from Oriel High School including some top achievers: Lydia Grahamslaw (2nd from left), Charlotte Cole (4th from left), and Holly Boaks (right).

Lydia Grahamslaw (2nd from left in photo) will be studying Biology at York University after receiving two As and a B. Charlotte Cole (4th from left in photo) aims to study Nursing at Surrey University after getting two Distinction* and a Merit. Holly Boaks (right in photo) will go to Lancaster University to study Maths after being awarded two As and two Bs.

Find out how Bridgeham can help with exam anxiety. Stand tall, be a pineapple

One student at Ifield Community College receiving a lot of praise today is Harry Poil, after he was awarding fantastic grades despite battling leukaemia in his school years.

The school say:

“Harry Poil stands out as a student who has overcome so much diversity to achieve distinction and merit in double Sports BTEC and merit in Health and Social Care BTEC.  When Harry had begun year 7 at ICC he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

“He undertook a programme of chemotherapy which caused a severe reaction, resulting in him spending a year in hospital, throughout most of which time he was completely paralysed. Harry had a long battle of recovery with ongoing physiotherapy but with his strong determination to succeed, today he is deservedly celebrating these results.”

Headteacher, Rob Corbett said:

“Sixth Form Results Day is about securing young people’s futures. I am extremely proud of all of our students and the staff who have supported them so well.

“We set ambitious and challenging targets for our students, work with them to develop their confidence and provide an ethos in which they can study and thrive.

“We wish them all great success in their futures and we now look forward with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to welcoming the new sixth form joining us in September.”

Ifield has seen a large increase in the number of students achieving university places this year, most especially in top universities, as well as securing highly competitive apprenticeships. They’ve had an increase in the number of top grades for a third year running; 43 per cent of passes are grades A*-B (or equivalent).

Students at Ifield Community College celebrate final A-Level results.

Despite cuts and problems with funding, Thomas Bennett Community College have achieved an overall pass rate of 80 per cent at grades A*-C (or equivalent), with many students meeting and exceeding their national predictions.

Head of Sixth Form, Shouvick Ghosh said:

“It’s been a difficult school year for various things that have been well charted in town, but considering the challenges that the school’s had and the sixth form’s had I think we’ve had a fantastic set of results and it’s a credit to the students and the teachers that they’ve got past that.

“Our vocational results were our best ever but that is just down to the work of the staff and students that they’ve done it. We got 80 per cent A* to C, overall and 72 per cent of our kids got Distinction or higher for BTEC.”

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