Children show their skills at solving technology challenges

A GROUP of young people from West Cumbria head to Bristol later this month to take

part in the national finals of a global competition.

Gosforth Primary School, sponsored by LLWR, won the regional finals of the FIRST

LEGO League held at Lakes College, Workington.

The tournament theme was ‘City Shaper’, and as part of the challenge the teams had to

run a project about a problem faced by a local building or community space.

A nine-strong Gosforth team of nine-11-year-olds chose the problem of parking in their


They interviewed local businesses and councillors, completed questionnaires with

nearby office workers, conducted fieldwork and compared the costs and benefits of

different solutions.

In the end they put forward the idea of a delivery van that would enable continued

access to shop services, while taking cars off the road.

The team also took part in a robot challenge, completing a range of complex missions

against the clock, and won the third element of displaying the competition’s core values

of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun.

Sarah Layzell, assistant head teacher at the 118-pupil school, said: “The children were

fantastic. They were very professional and presented the community project really well.

They left the judges very little to ask because they were so thorough.

“The children have grown in confidence and learned to work together really well during

the competition.

“I was in utter disbelief when it was announced we had won, and the children were so

pleased, they couldn’t believe it. For our tiny school to be one of the schools

representing Cumbria in the national finals is amazing.

“The children are really looking forward to going to Bristol now to see the competition on

a grander scale and are very excited about staying away for the night!”

Paul Pointon, LLWR managing director, said: “Four years ago, when Pete Woolaghan,

of REACT Engineering, asked us to get involved in FIRST LEGO League we were

happy to accept and contribute to his vision of one day having 100 Cumbrian schools

take part. We’re proud to play a part in shaping the engineers and problem solvers of


Pete Woolaghan, co-founder of REACT Engineering and the charitable REACT

Foundation, said: “Through this TeamCumbria approach we are creating a community

of like-minded individuals in businesses and organisations across Cumbria who are

looking outwards from the county and doing great things.

“This is what Cumbria should be doing more of - giving our amazing young people the

opportunity to shine on the national and international stage.”

The REACT Foundation and REACT Engineering, of Cleator Moor, were presented with

a trophy at the regional finals by C-STEM director Fran Ward, in recognition of their

support for the initiative.

This year’s national finals will be held on February 22 with winners going forward to the

world finals in the USA later in the year.