Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Scalextric4Schools 2013

June has been busy.

It started with OFSTED, and although I’m not allowed to give our grading until the inspection findings have been ratified, suffice it to say that we are pleased with the outcomes.

Immediately after came the finals day for a competition whichTim organises called Scalextric4Schools. You may remember that I wrote about last years competition here. Again I was impressed by the quality of the entries from all over the UK, and some from further afield. Some travelled from Scotland, spending a couple of nights camping nearby. Others used hotel accommodation or set out really early this morning in order to arrive at the RAF Museum, Cosford by 9.30.

I must pay tribute to the commitment from students, their teachers and technicians, parents and minibus drivers which was tremendous. One teacher (Bob - his team won the overall even last year) had recently taken the tip off his finger in an accident at school, but still made the journey down from Scotland bearing a lovely gift of a box of shortbread. Without this hard work and dedication projects like this could not exist. And this is the tip of the iceberg and compared to the hours of preparation that has to take place in school prior to the event. It also has to be remembered that in the UK June 16th was Father’s Day, so it meant that many of the teachers and supporting adults were spending time away from their own families.

Great to see the involvement of girls, although it would be fantastic if the fact that girls taking part in a CAD/CAM engineering project was so commonplace that it isn't worthy of special mention!

Tim is supported by Hornby, the manufacturers of Scalextric, who supply a large track and timing system, as well as a couple of enthusiastic people who travelled up from Margate to supervise and judge the competition. They also provided thousands of pounds worth of prizes. The staff of the RAF Museum and the Station Commander were all very welcoming and supportive. Other sponsors are companies selling Tim’s PTC CREO software, who give their time, skills and money towards promoting and judging the project. Chris and David, a couple of retired teachers, came to help out. Without the input of all of these individuals such competitions could not take place.

Last, but by no means least, were the fantastic group of students who excelled at the finals. They were a credit to their parents and their schools. The judging was very close and it was very hard to choose the winners because you know that some will go home disappointed. I just hope this will inspire the students to come up with even better innovations next year! This showed in that there were mostly different schools winning this year.

The students ranged in age from 11-17, although the marks are weighted to recognise this. One group of Y7 pupils from Skelmersdale who were very enthsiastic and entertaining could talk the hind leg off a donkey - me!

The team from Physics and Mathematics Lyceum 30, St Petersberg, Russia were very hard to beat, winning in two categories - best innovation, and fastest car for the Bloodhound challenge.

Fastest car around a track and best presentation were won by teams from Westbury in Nottingham, and the best overall team for 2013 was from Birches Head High School in Stoke on Trent.

They won large Scalextric sets, and each student who came to the finals day was presented with a Bugatti Veyron.

This car was designed for Hornby by Tom Malloy. PTC provided a paid internship for Tom when he was studying at Loughborough University - Tim is an alumni.   

Now, don't you wish you'd entered...


  1. Looks like a great event and I wish I could have entered. My daughter teaches in Skelmersdale and she can talk the hind leg off a donkey... She only teaches little ones BUT could it be instilled!!!

    1. It must!

      These boys were charmers and so enthusiastic and spent the whole day in their blazers.

  2. What a brilliant event - good for Tim! I wish it had been around when I was a teenager. I loved my Scalextric!

    1. I'll bet a lot of people still hav a kit, perhaps in the attic of a parent!

  3. When we win the Lottery... I'm building a model, real-steam, ride-on railway! As much as I like Sclxtrx... and I have rebodied cars, re-wound motors, etc... I like real steam [and beer - they cannot be split] more!

    Besides, when you have a 2CV you no longer need Scalextric...
    you become full Scale-excentric!!

    1. Next time I buy a ticket (and get a win, part of the winnings will go towards your project!!

  4. Absolutely fantastic, Gaynor. Well done Tim and everyone that took part - sounds like a really amazing event. It's the sort of thing I miss here in Spain. It may be that it happens and I don't really know about it, but there is a definite lack of 'creativity' in the schools around here that I so enjoyed in the schools in the UK. Good to hear you have wowed OFSTED!

    1. Thanks.
      This is where our scientists and engineers of the future will come from - I hope!

      OFSTED were wowed and were actually a very human team. However it will definitely be my last! I don't share Gove's vision for the future or his new science curriculum guidelines. One more year, during which I shall comply but be as pedagigically subversive as I dare!!!

  5. ... or even pedagogically - if such a word exists!!