Many congratulations to Old Palace School Year 8 student Sumaiya, who has won the Secondary Engineer London Leaders Award with her invention of “The Athletes Menstrual Cramp Sensor and Relief” device.

For the past few years, Old Palace of John Whitgift has entered the Secondary Engineer London Leaders Award. This is a prestigious engineering competition that runs annually across Britain. Students have to answer the question “If I was an Engineer, what would I do?” They then have the opportunity to research engineering as well as interview an engineer from Atkins Global. This gives students an understanding of the different types of engineering that could be open to them in the future and an awareness of the career paths they could take.

In order to answer the question, students need to identify an issue that they see as a problem, (local or global) and invent a solution. They need to draw a diagram of their solution and annotate it and write a pitch letter to convince the engineers to build their design. The Preparatory School also takes part with students in Years 3 to 5 all entering with their ideas and inventions.

In previous years, we have been very successful in this competition. In the London area, two Year 8 students are chosen each year as Year 8 winners from all the entries received. In 2017 we had one Year 8 winner, Vishali, who designed a watch for diabetics to measure glucose levels in the blood. In 2018 several students received Distinctions and were shortlisted and two students entries received “Judges Highly Commended”. In 2019, both Year 8 winners were Old Palace students. Patricia designed an Adrenaline Anklet and Zaynah designed a Motor Turbine. The Motor Turbine has been chosen to be made into a Prototype by the Proto team at Kingston University and is currently under construction.

Last year, we had yet another Year 8 winner, Sumaiya, with her invention of “The Athletes Menstrual Cramp Sensor and Relief” device. Sumaiya has written a lovely article explaining what inspired her to invent this along with a picture of her design. The 2020 Year 8 shortlisted entries and the 2019 prototype can be viewed at the virtual exhibition. We are waiting with anticipation to see whether Sumaiya’s invention will be chosen by the Engineers to build as a prototype next year. Congratulations go to Sumaiya and Zaynah for their success.

Dr Susan Scurlock, founder and CEO of Primary Engineer Programmes said: “The creativity shown by the entrants has been remarkable and I hope that the Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards will encourage young people to embrace engineering and seriously consider it as a career choice when the time arrives.”

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