Lawn Manor Academy pupils have been taking part in a 3D printing innovation programme with local engineer Ben Edmonds.
Fourteen of the highest-achieving Year Seen and Eight pupils were chosen to take part in the week-long workshop this week, where they learned learn the basics of 3D printing and working together as a team.
They created a prototype to solve a problem based around transporting aid across a body of water.
The students were taught by Ben Edmonds, a Senior Engineer for Dyson who in his spare time runs a successful Inventors Club across the Swindon area, teaching young people aged 7-17 skills in problem solving, idea generation, lateral thinking and resourcefulness through design engineering.
He said: “This is a really exciting programme for Lawn Manor Academy. It’s great that the school has embraced it fully and has created this opportunity for their pupils out of the adversity of the last year.
“The focus is on accelerating learning through the school, rather than trying to repeat learning from the last year. It’s especially encouraging that this opportunity, which has been as a result of covid, will go to support the pupils who may never would have had the opportunity to use this sort of technology and develop these skills.”
During the pandemic, Ben worked with local care provider First City Nursing and Care in order to overcome PPE shortage issues, focussing on masks in particular. Ben optimised an open source design file to speed up the manufacturing process, and using 3D printers supplied by First City Nursing and Care created a rudimentary factory in his home.
He printed over 800 hygienic, sterilisable headbands with reusable acetate face shields for all the First City staff, NHS staff on covid wards at Great Western Hospital and local doctors.
The 3D printers have now been donated by First City Nursing and Ben in order to provide ongoing learning opportunities to pupils of Lawn Manor Academy.
Assistant Headteacher Marek Koza said: “The pandemic has limited the opportunities available to our pupils and so we were keen to introduce an activity that would challenge and stretch our pupils as much as possible and help them develop wider skills which would be of great use to them in the future.
“Thanks to the donation of the 3D printers, plus funding allocated for schools for catch up, we are now able to introduce a design and engineering focus to the school.
"These pupils will become our expert leads in 3D printing for the school as they will have the knowledge and skills to use the technology.
"From September we will have a room dedicated to 3D printing and technology to incorporate into the whole curriculum as well as running clubs for interested pupils. By harnessing and nurturing these interests, we hope that this programme will give them future skills for jobs – including technology and engineering jobs and specialisms that haven’t even been created yet.”
With 39 percent of pupils at Lawn Manor Academy classed as coming from a disadvantaged background, the school wanted to provide skills and opportunities that may not have been traditionally open to them otherwise.
More information about Mr Edmonds and his innovation sessions can be found at www.innovationben.com
The Lawn Manor Academy website is at www.lawnmanor.org