Colyton Grammar team wins a national engineering competition

The winning team from Colyton Grammar School 

The winning team from Colyton Grammar School - Credit: Rob Lacey

A team of budding inventors from Colyton Grammar School has won the main prize in the national schools’ competition run by the Royal Academy of Engineering.  

Two teams from Colyton fought off stiff competition from more than 130 schools across the UK to join the 10 school teams who made it to the Sustainable Futures Innovation Challenge final.  

A third Colyton team, while not making the final, won a prize for the school by completing a Mars Rover challenge the fastest.   

 The winning team won the Spirit of Engineering award for the best presentation and film demonstrating their STEM journey and engineering habits of mind.  

The team, made up of Year 8 students Delilah and Maisie from East Devon and Lucy from Exeter, achieved the accolade with their project ‘Composta wrap’.  

Delilah said: “I really enjoyed explaining our idea in different ways to everyone, and how the competition and the competitors were so friendly even though it was across the whole country.  

“It was treated as a day out instead of a big competition so it felt a lot less stressful.  

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“I also really enjoyed the build-up to the event, experimenting with how to create our plastics as it was an amazing experience to work on a project for so long. 

“Furthermore, I really enjoyed seeing how other people had interpreted the same challenge and brief to create incredible ideas and products, which was very interesting and exciting to see.”  

Maisie added: “We aim to see our product eventually make it to larger supermarkets and stores.  

“However, we will first attempt to develop our product further and expand its shelf life before releasing it to smaller scale businesses as trials to understand how the public receive and like the product, which will probably lead us to continue to develop our product and go through this trial circuit again until we feel it is ready to be released to larger shops.”  

Lucy said: “I overall really enjoyed the whole day and I felt it was really well organised as we got lots of fun breaks.” 

As part of the process, they had to give a presentation to judges and an audience of guests at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s headquarters in London.  

The judges also subjected them to close questioning about their project, and they were impressed by the students’ in-depth knowledge and maturity.  

The judging panel was made up of leaders from Shell, Amazon, the RAF and senior academics.  

The team identified that the mass production of products wrapped in plastics cause huge environmental problems and the disposal of these often mean they end up in the ocean and are ingested by sea-creatures causing them to become sick.  

Their solution was to create a reusable, edible, plastic-free container made from seaweed.  

Tim Harris, Headteacher at Colyton Grammar School, said: “We are immensely proud of our students.  

“It was a huge achievement to field two out of the 10 teams in the final, and for one of our teams to win the main prize stands testament not just to their brilliance, but also the dedication and commitment of my colleagues in our science departments. We are looking forward to seeing what comes next.”