Schools shine at Bright Sparks award 7 July, 2016

Students from across the county were invited to submit collaborative science projects using cross-curricular skills in maths, IT, science and engineering to investigate, innovate and invent.

The top ten initiatives were selected to compete at a Dragon’s Den-inspired final at Discovery Park in a bid to win trophies and a £500 cash prize.

The finalists were filmed in advance at school and each video was screened at the awards prior to the team appearing on stage to further inform and excite the audience.

Students were quizzed by a panel of eight dragons including Kimberley Anderson of Discovery Park; Robert Crook of Pfizer; Dr Richard Guest and Dr John Dickinson of the University of Kent; Jane Abbott of Benenden Hospital; Karen Arnold of Golding Homes; Paul Gannaway of Betteridge and Milsom; and Bal Sandher of Hectic Lifestyles.

Mr Sandher said: “Being a dragon at the Bright Spark Awards is a wonderful opportunity to get a direct look at all the inspiring and innovative work schools are currently producing. Seeing these fantastic scientific and technology-based ideas has been eye-opening, and even as a biomedical scientist myself, has been very advanced!”

A number of schools were awarded experience prizes donated by the dragons which included site visits to medical establishes including Pfizer, as well as being on-site for a Golding Homes demolition session.

Dr Dickinson added: “The sheer range of projects that have been submitted have been incredible. I never expected to see such a broad variety of ideas and inventions, and such a remarkable attention to detail either.”

All teams were granted certificates for their involvement in the final, whilst Tonbridge Grammar School were crowned champions and awarded the top prize for their Falcon Project which wowed the dragons and spectators alike.

The project features a developmental flight simulator which is designed to truly immerse the occupant by situating them in a functional cockpit, complete with original programmed software.

Bright Sparks Ambassador Jane Priston of the Amy Johnson Project – an ode to the famous female pilot and an operation to inspire young women into aviation and engineering – has agreed to help support and further the Falcon Project.

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team which organised the awards, said: “To see pupils showcasing such rich creativity and imagination is why we are so passionate about the KM Bright Spark Awards. It enables students the opportunity to incorporate a wealth of their learning, as well as further it, and hopefully open doors to rewarding career paths later on in life.”

Mr Dolby also made a call for businesses interested in supporting the 2017 awards: “We are searching for fearsome dragons to help us judge the scientific creations of the future. If you and your business would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact the team.”

Businesses can apply to become a KM Bright Spark Awards dragon by calling the KM Charity Team on 0844 264 0291 or by email at sdolby@thekmgroup.co.uk