Three North East Schools qualify for robot building world championships in Texas

Children from three North East primary schools are flying across the world to take part in an international robot making competition.

Teams from Pelton Fell in Chester-le-Street, as well as Wardley Primary and Bill Quay in Gateshead, have made it through to the VEX Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas.

They are three of only five schools in the UK to have made it through to the worlds, where they will compete against more than 700 teams.

The tournament sees children build and code a robot, before working as a team to move it around a series of obstacles, trying to release orange discs and score points.

The winner is the team to score the most points in the minute timeframe.

The aim of the tournament is to get more children interested in STEM subjects, which includes; science, technology, engineering and maths.

The local teams are three of only five form the UK to qualify for the world finals. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Daniel Burfield is the teacher leading the team from Wardley Primary school in Gateshead.

He said: "If you think about it, they've been doing project managing, they've been doing engineering, they've been practicing all those skills that they're going to need if they want to move into STEM subjects later on or STEM jobs."

Many of the children will be travelling abroad for the first time when they go to Dallas for the competition, offering far more than just the educational experience.

Sarah Laws is from Pelton Fell Primary, she says she is incredibly proud of the progress the students have made since they started: "We are so incredibly proud of our children.

"To achieve this within two years is absolutely huge. The progress we've made in designing and modify in our robot and design in the code, and it's just unbelievable."

Travelling to Texas is a 'huge expense' for the schools. Keen for the children to have the once in a lifetime experience, local engineering firm Reece Foundation has donated more than £15,000 of funding.

One of the foundation's trustees says it's vital we support our scientists and engineers of the future.

Eric Morgan said: "It is engineers who solve most of the physical problems in the world today.

"Without engineers, without scientists we would be lost. You have got to have them and these children here today are the future."

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