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Thomas Bennett Community College becomes fifth Crawley school to send students home

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The fifth secondary school, Thomas Bennett Community College, has announced that with immediate effect years 7, 8 and 9 are to work from home until further notice.

In a letter to parents the headteacher said that due to a lack of staff available as a result of COVID-19 and self-isolating the school was left with no other alternative than to make this decision.

It was also pointed out that for students remaining in the school that parents should be aware that in order to maintain a safe and orderly school that those students may not be taught by their usual teacher or follow their normal curriculum.

The headteacher added that teachers are available during the term of the closure and will be communicating with students via Google Classroom to provide clear instructions on lessons.

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Crawley student crowned winner of national STEM competition

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A student from St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School has been named winner in the Senior category of the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, a national science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiative, supported by UK Research and Innovation, aimed at finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing modern society.

Claiming first prize, year 13 student, Rushil Patel, presented a project that uses offline artificial intelligence to accurately process a specific object or event in the world around the user, conveying limitless information in the most discrete way possible. Addressing the Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data, the young inventor hopes it can help people with Autism not only identify, but also respond to perceived emotions.

Judged remotely by a panel of STEM experts, including representatives from Network Rail; AI architects, Arm; and Manchester Metropolitan University, Rushil was awarded first place thanks to his creativity and innovative way of addressing the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Rushil, student at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School said:

“I am thrilled to have won the Senior category at the Youth Industrial Strategy competition. I really enjoyed working on our project and it was great to have the judges recognise the hard work and creativity that went into it.

“This competition has provided me with a great opportunity to get creative with my learning and it was incredibly rewarding to work on a project that could help solve one of the most pressing social issues today.”

With the live finals event cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the competition organisers, the British Science Association and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) asked schools to create videos of students presenting their finished projects and the information they’d been planning to share with judges.

Rushil and his teachers have worked incredibly hard to help enable the remote judging, especially at such a challenging time for schools and families across the UK and deserve special credit for their efforts.

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said:

“As this AI communications device shows, today’s students have an important part to play in addressing society’s biggest challenges. I would like to congratulate Rushil on his fantastic winning project and wish all the finalists every continued success in the future.”

Caitlin Brown, Project Manager for the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, said:

“The judges commended Rushil for his hard work, dedication and commitment to STEM. He thoroughly deserves to be crowned our Youth Industrial Strategy Competition Senior winner.

“We are thrilled with the level of engagement and interest we have received around the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, and are excited to see all these students, and more, continue to develop their love of STEM.”

The winners and runners up were selected from thousands of students, aged between 11-19 years, from across the UK, who designed projects responding to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s four Grand Challenges: the Future of Mobility, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Artificial Intelligence and Data.

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