Tes Awards 2020: Science, technology and engineering

The schools building the future: Ifield Community College and Ardingly College, West Sussex, win this year’s award with their solar-powered cars
13th November 2020, 8:32pm

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Tes Awards 2020: Science, technology and engineering

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tes-awards-2020-science-technology-and-engineering
Science, Technology & Engineering

The story of a group of secondary school students completing a 3000km cross-Australia race on a solar-powered car they built - and beating the University of Cambridge and Stanford University in the process - might sound like the plot of a heart-warming Disney adventure movie, but it's real.

The pupils were part of the Ardingly Ifield Solar Team, and the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia is not their only achievement.

Born as a collaboration between Ifield Community College, Ardingly College, 33 companies and three universities, the team designs, builds and runs solar-powered electric cars, with names like The Roadster and Basking Beasty. 

The project, which aims to increase awareness of sustainable transport, has put together a team composed in equal numbers of boys and girls from both schools. Beyond raising awareness of sustainable transport, it is giving students access to experiences and skills that will empower them to ace any career, not just in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths).

The students have led solar energy events with primary schools and encouraged younger pupils to participate. They have also led presentations to the Gatwick Diamond businesses, the Institute of the Motor Industry and other national and international events.

The next project of the students is a flat-pack supplied solar-powered vehicle, which can be used in developing countries and act as an off-grid generator for remote schools and medical centres. 

Lead judge Jo Foster said that the project was "absolutely exemplary". She added: "From success in international racing events to effective outreach to other schools both at home and abroad, this project goes the extra mile."

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