Young engineers at a secondary school have made it through to the national finals of a robotics competition within just a few months of taking up the hobby.

A team of eight Year 7 students from Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, beat 15 teams to reach the national final of Tomorrow’s Engineers Lego Robotics Competition.

The group took up robotics as an enrichment club when they joined the new school in September.

Team member Marcus Krencius said: “People thought we had taken part in a few competitions, but this was our first one. We were the only Year 7 team there.

“Our robot was really fast, so we were confident of winning.”

During the event, at Queen Mary University, students had to complete a series of robotics challenges to simulate an environmental issue, such as collecting waste from rivers.

They also had to create a presentation on an original idea that would help to solve an environmental issue with engineering.

Luke Burrows, head of computing, said: “Students have gained so much from taking part in this competition. They have been able to develop engineering skills, but also a variety of other skills, such as research, confidence, the value of working in a team and of hard work.

“They also got exposure to a university engineering faculty and the ability to find out about all kinds of STEM careers from a variety of volunteers on the day.

“They all had a great time taking part and loved every minute of the experience. We are very proud of their hard work and dedication.”

Headteacher Dee Conlon said: “The team worked really hard, working on their robot before and after school. The Year 8 and 9 team from fellow BMAT school Burnt Mill Academy also gave some time to coach our students.

“We received lots of complements on the day about our students’ behaviour and how smart they looked; people thought they were older than they were and could not believe they were from a small comprehensive in Harlow which has only been open for six months.”

The national final was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.