NO FEWER than 20 teams of students from 18 primary schools around the Cotswolds took part in the first-ever Junior Engineering Challenge at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford.

The competition, organised by the RAF Charitable Trust in collaboration with STEM (Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering) Works, asked the engineers of the future to design and build a vehicle to travel five metres in the fastest time, using a propeller or balloon as the means of propulsion.

Each school enjoyed a half-day workshop, introducing students to the methods they might use, before selecting their team to compete at the Air Tattoo.

The students - from Ashton Keynes, Avening, Bibury, Eastcombe, Fairford, Hatherop, Kemble, Kempsford, North Cerney, Powell’s in Cirencester, Rodmarton, Sapperton, Siddington, Southrop, St Lawrence in Lechlade, St Mary’s in Tetbury, Sherborne and Stow-on-the-Wold schools – completed a second engineering challenge at the airshow before the judging was carried out by members of the Red Arrows engineering team, the Blues.

Overall winners were Bibury CofE Primary School, which was awarded £500 donated by the RAF Charitable Trust. The K’nex Design Challenge honours, and £200 went to Eastcombe Primary and the Presentation Challenge prize, plus £200 went to Powell’s.

Mo Follis, director of STEM Works, said: “Our passion is to excite young people about STEM.”