26 June 2017 | Leyland

Dragons Den - The winner is...

Queen Bees win with Honey Powered Truck

The Queen Bee team from Broad Oak Primary School and their winning Truck of the Future at the Leyland Festival.

Quuen Bees and their winning design
Queen Bees

A team of young future engineers from Broad Oak Primary school are celebrating after winning a Dragons Den-style Science and Engineering competition to design the Truck of the Future.


Pupils from across Lancashire took part in a Dragons Den pitch at Leyland Trucks, with the winning school announced at the Leyland Festival last weekend.

Dragons Den

The all-female team – The Queen Bees -  from Broad Oak Primary School in Preston were crowned winners, with a model of their truck design powered by honey, unveiled at the annual festival.  The Truck came after the team of 10 and 11-year-olds began to think about habitats which need protecting.  


The competition was set up by South Ribble Borough Council, in partnership with Leyland Trucks and Educational Consultancy STEMFirst.  It seeks to promote links between schools and businesses, encouraging engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (STEM). 


Students were asked to design either a futuristic delivery truck to transport smaller packages to multiple locations, or a long-distance bulk vehicle to carry larger or heavy loads across long distances.  The team had to consider maintenance, fuel, and noise levels. 


Teachers Lousie Bush and Sally Coulson helped manage the competition at Broad Oak Primary and said the girls, all in Year 6, were thrilled with their win.  Sally Coulson, science lead at the school said: “We are so proud of the girls. They worked so hard on this project, and they were overjoyed to see the truck in the flesh.


“The scheme has opened their eyes to what engineering is, and what it could mean for their future and it was amazing to see the technology in the flesh at the Leyland Trucks site and was a great project for them to be involved with, and even better that they won!”


18 schools submitted designs, with the winning design becoming the 14th and final truck on the Truck Trail of model vehicles currently placed across Leyland, set up by Stone Create to showcase the town’s engineering heritage.


Pupils were asked to consider a lot of details, including the cost, look, safety factors, emissions, noise, adaptability, maintenance and size and weight – a big ask.  The STEM Ambassador judges marked each group on teamwork, research, ideas and creativeness, and design, allowing them to show us a broad range of their skills.


Leyland Trucks hosted the event as part of its continued work to promote STEM subjects in schools.  More than 36 submissions were received from 18 schools, with judges whittling down the entries to a final of 11 schools and submissions, where 54 pupils presented to the panel of ‘Dragons’ including district councillors, and engineers from Leyland Trucks and BAE.


The competition was designed and factilitated by STEMFirst, an organisation devoted to championing engineering and science with young people.  Helen Heggie Director of STEMFirst, and also an engineer, manages the Regional STEM Ambassador Hub, which is part of a National Government funded project. The Regional Hub is made up of 1,700 STEM experts volunteering in engagement projects across Lancashire and Cumbria, inspiring young people and the public about STEM.


Helen Heggie, said: “This project sought to illustrate to pupils of all ages , the incredible diversity of engineering and science and that combining skills, enthusiasm and creativity amazing things can be achieved that affect how we live now and in the future.


Heggie, who is a chartered mechanical engineer who worked for Ford and Aston Martin, also holds a HGV Class 1 licence, and admitted being thrilled the all-girls’ team won: “There is a lot of misconception about what engineers and scientists look like. Sadly girls are still drastically under-represented across the STEM sector but this competition sought to break down these stereotypes and link schools with inspirational role models.  The Broad Oak Primary team were so engaged with the process, they worked very hard as a team and had a ball – well done to you all girls, I hope we have set some wheels in motion for more STEM professionals of the future!”


Keith Malloy from South Ribble Borough Council said: “More than anything this has been about team work. The competition was one of those days for me when you realise what gets you out of bed come Monday morning.  A huge thank you to all involved, the teams presented amazing projects.”


Bryan Sitko, managing director at Leyland Trucks said; “Huge congratulations to Broad Oak Primary School for their winning design.  Each student who took part should be immensely proud of what they achieved. The judging panel had a difficult time selecting the winner, which is testament to the hard work of the pupils and the fantastic support from their teachers.


“The importance of engaging students of all ages with the application of STEM subjects should not be underestimated, these are the engineers and designers of the future and we are proud to be a part of such an inclusive campaign to further develop and build on the engineering heritage of the region.”

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