Student designers flying high after scooping prize in Navy competition

Young designers are on cloud nine after being announced as the best secondary school in an inaugural competition to inspire and introduce them to careers in the Royal Navy.

The team from The King’s Academy won the trophy in a challenge to design new aircraft at a special presentation event for the schools that took part in the competition, jointly run by Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership.

Their prize will be a visit by a Royal Navy helicopter, which is expected to land on the Coulby Newham academy’s all-weather pitch next month.

The Year 9 students’ ideas were selected by academy staff to go forward to a three-day intensive course with engineering teacher Gary Prouse, who worked with them to perfect their designs.

Tom Millward, 14, who is a member of The King’s Academy’s combined cadet force, explained:

We’re all doing GCSE engineering and for me this was something really good to participate in.”

Raheem Hussain, 13, who designed an aircraft carrier, added:

I’m interested in a career in engineering so I wanted to do this to help improve my drawing skills and to learn more about how aeroplanes work.”

Acklam Grange School won the overall prize. Petty Officer Dennis Harrison told the students at the presentation event: “You have gone above and beyond what we expected when we initially had the idea for this challenge.”

Royal Marine Captain Harry Lane added:

The guys have been absolutely blown away with the energy, enthusiasm and positive nature that you have taken into the challenge. You have all done an excellent job and I hope you go away enthused about the Royal Navy.”

The King’s Academy was one of just four schools in the North East in 2017 to be given approval and funding to establish a Royal Marines cadet unit under the Ministry of Defence’s Cadet Expansion Programme.

It offers students access to prestigious training, an annual camp, expeditions and courses designed to challenge them, build their self-confidence through new experiences and develop their leadership, communication and other life skills.