Speedy learning curve for future engineers

Future engineers from local primary and secondary schools learned about the science and technology behind a 1,000 mph record attempt during a visit to Reaseheath College in Nantwich.

Twelve schools from Nantwich, Crewe, Sandbach, Haslington, Stoke and Cannock were invited to take part in activities involving the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC), the vehicle which will attempt the 1,000mph land speed record in South Africa in 2016.

Georgina Hardy and Adam Caunt, both 13, from Brine Leas School with their Kinex car

Georgina Hardy and Adam Caunt, both 13, from Brine Leas School with their Kinex car

A replica of Bloodhound SSC, along with its education team, was a key attraction at Reaseheath’s Family Festival in May and remained on campus for a week to allow local pupils to learn more about the exciting project.

The event was run in support of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths), a national education initiative to inspire young people to consider engineering as a career. The UK needs to attract 100,000 new engineers into the industry each year and currently recruits just 30,000 annually.

Up to 120 pupils at Key Stages 2 and 3 visited Reaseheath each day to learn about Bloodhound SSC’s development, which is being supported by some of the world’s leading engineering companies including Rolls Royce.

Braden Jones, Ben Jackson and Bloodhound ambassador Claire Stewart watch Joshua Malkin on simulator

The young people had a chance to look at the car and those who asked the best questions were rewarded with a drive on a simulator. Other activities included constructing and testing an air driven Kinex car, 3D printing and planning a specially prepared desert base for the car and its support teams.

Brine Leas School, Nantwich, Year 8 pupil Georgina Hardy, 13, who had just tested the aerodynamics of her Kinex car, said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do for a career but this has definitely given me an insight into engineering. The whole day has been very interesting and a lot of fun.”

Reaseheath FE Marketing Officer Stephanie Owen explained: “We invited our local schools into college so they could make the most of the wonderful opportunity offered by Bloodhound and its team. Reaseheath totally supports STEM projects and we hope that some of our young visitors will be inspired to become the engineers of the future.”

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Young bakers’ cakes are fit for a Queen

Budding bakers from across the region were crowned winners in a hotly contested schools challenge laid down by Reaseheath’s food department.

Just ten entries from a total of 120 made it through to the final of Reaseheath’s Year 9 Schools Bake Off Competition, which was held in our specialist Food Centre last week. Contestants had to bake a cake or pastry with a royal theme.

The judging panel, made up of professional chef Brian Mellor, Cheshire WI judge Mary Hignett and Peter Wright, Chairman of sponsors the Wrights Pies Food Group, were looking for originality, presentation and taste.

The competition attracted entries from 45 secondary schools in five counties. Teams of our food technologists selected the finalists after visiting schools throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Wirral and mid Wales to view and taste the cakes and to test the knowledge of the young bakers. These contestants had already won through from a first round consisting of a mood board with photos of the finished product.

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Winner Charlotte Parton with her entry ‘Fit for a Queen’

Overall winner was Charlotte Parton, 13, from the Grove School, Market Drayton, who won a £100 cash prize plus two iPads for her school. Charlotte’s entry ‘Fit for a Queen’, was a Victoria sponge decorated with hand crafted butter biscuits shaped like soldiers and topped with a sugar crown. Second place went to a coconut and cherry cake made by Megan Glover and Louise Brown from Stockport School and third was a sponge decorated with roses made by Sam Platt and Lily Peachment from Cransley School, Northwich.

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Stockport School’s Megan Glover and Louise Brown with their coconut crown

Other finalists were Charlotte Hesketh from Sandbach High School, Alex Thacker and Nicola Stockdale from Manchester High School for Girls, Izzy Burton and Anna Davies from The Marches School, Oswestry,  Elain Wyn and Elin Evans from Llanfyllin High School and Fiona Collins from Cheadle Hulme School.

Styled on the hit TV programme ‘The Great British Bake-Off’, Reaseheath’s competition was so popular that we plan to repeat it next year, this time with a savoury meat theme.

Mary Hignett said: “We have just witnessed the bakers of the future, all of whom have very good technical ability and excellent skills. Their cakes had wonderful textures and flavours. The standards were so high that it was very difficult for us to select the top three.  In our opinion, all the finalists were winners.

“Reaseheath’s food department should be congratulated on running such an inspired and exciting competition.”

Reaseheath Food Curriculum Manager Nick Blakemore, who led the project, said: “We were amazed at the pupils’ novel ideas. It was a very hard job to select the finalists because each entry had something to bring to the table. It was even harder to select the winners!”

Charlotte, a keen home baker, said: “I wanted to make my cake original and I tried out lots of ideas at home and at school. The competition was brilliant fun and I got great feedback from the judges. It’s made me even keener to look at food science as a career.”

You can find out more about our Patisserie and Bakery courses here.

Zoo trip prize for Bury budding scientists

Budding scientists from Bury Church of England High School saw some of their lessons come to life during a behind-the-scenes visit to Reaseheath’s zoo.

Twelve pupils from Years 9 and 10 helped to feed ring tailed lemurs and meerkats and flew birds of prey during an action packed trip round our animal management department.

Pupil Lucy Tyrer, 15, won the chance to spend time with Reaseheath’s zoo keepers after becoming one of the top prizewinners at The Big Bang Fair in Liverpool, a north west event aimed at encouraging young scientists and engineers.

Her project, ‘The Perfect Cup of Tea’, was awarded top marks for enthusiasm and commitment to STEM (education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The category prize was sponsored by Reaseheath College.

Lucy chose to bring 11 fellow science enthusiasts on her day out. All the pupils have completed CREST (Creative Science and Technology) awards. Lucy, who wants to become a vet said: “This was a really good experience. All the colleges near us are in towns so being out in the country and meeting all the animals was amazing.”

Chemistry teacher Amy Jackson, who accompanied the group, said: “Our pupils, particularly girls, are become more and more interested in science. This was a great opportunity to come to Reaseheath and spend time outside doing practical activities. The facilities here are stunning. The whole group had a really good learning experience and loved every minute.”