The Thomas Hardye School-BBC School Report

Top of the Bench finals Loughborough 16 April


Chemistry students Jake Hatton, Dan Warland, Will Adler and Jacob Cox in Years 10 and 9 competed as the South West’s regional winning team at the national finals of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual ‘Top of the Bench’ competition, held at Loughborough University last Saturday.

Will Sadler reported back: “It was a once in a lifetime experience. We arrived on the massive university campus at Loughborough and were briefed and then had a 30 minute test. It was a 40 mark test with 10 questions on general knowledge and the remainder to do with this year’s theme - energy. The test was very challenging particularly the general knowledge section. Then, a quick lunch break was followed by a 2 hour long practical in the extensive teaching labs. The practical was all about creating batteries but it involved 3 main tasks and a lot of complicated maths. I think that everyone found it hard and not a lot of people were confident about it. Next, we had a talk where we had to bid for a research project to be funded by the university. This was followed by the prize giving. We didn't get a mention but there were 32 teams there and only 6 prizes were given. Overall I really enjoyed the experience and well done to the winners King Edward the 6th school.”

Jake Hatton agreed: “It was really interesting to see the kind of work that university students do and what we might do in the future. All in all it was thoroughly enjoyable and really worth going, and I think I really learned a lot.”

The team now holds the regional ‘Top of the Bench’ cup for a year. It will be engraved and a commemorative plaque will be kept on display in the school. This was the first time that the Thomas Hardye School has won the regional heat held at the University of Exeter and the team deserve warm congratulations.

Mr Januszewski, who accompanied the students at both events, commended the four students (who were younger than the average) for their all round performance; “this was a good result in that level of excellence”.