Beechwood Park was the only school in the country to boast two teams in the National final of the Toyota Technology Challenge 2010 (TTC). One team won the top prize in their PIC microcontroller category and the other came second in their solar power class, at the event held at Toyota's Manufacturing plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire on Saturday, May 15th.

The top prize went to the Vetronics team, comprising Matthew Coster (12), Edward Horn (13), William Bigwood (11) and George Poole (11) and they beat teams from schools across the UK competing at the Final of the competition, developed by Toyota Manufacturing UK, in partnership with electronics supplier Rapid. As winners of the PIC microcontroller category, the team, which was sponsored by Merial, the veterinary supplies company, has won £1,000 in cash for the school and an action-packed adventure holiday for the team in Greece, which will be taken in the summer holidays, with Lis Rowley, Beechwood Park's Head of Design Technology.

The Solor 7 team - Sam Machell (12), Tristan Brown (13), Robbie Lightowler (13) and Felix Terrell (13) - competed in the solar power section and were placed second.

The teams presented their project folders and vehicles to a panel of judges from Toyota and Rapid. The climax for most competitors was the moment they set their vehicle loose on the Challenge racetrack - a straight race for teams in the solar power category, or guiding their vehicle around obstacles for teams in the PIC microcontroller category. Lis Rowley commented: “I am so pleased with our teams' performances. Once again, we were the only school in the country to have a team in each category.This competition encompasses everything that is important in life as well as Design Technology. It makes us aware of the environment and how to preserve it and teaches us how to work with others in a team, especially when things get tough. It helps the children to become confident individuals who learn a great deal about science and engineering which they will be able to use in the future.”

The TTC, developed by Toyota Manufacturing UK in partnership with educational supplier Rapid, aims to stimulate the interest of young students in technology and engineering, whilst encouraging pupils to consider the environment and the potential use of recycled materials.

Targeted at students aged 11-16 years old, teams of pupils are challenged to design and build an environmentally friendly model vehicle using either solar power to race on a straight track, or PIC microcontroller technology to guide their vehicles to avoid obstacles on a track.