31 Jan

Inveralmond Community High School: F1 in Schools STEM Challenge

In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund is supporting an exciting programme of 11 high-quality initiatives, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. We are highlighting each of these initiatives through a series of blogs; looking at how they inspire, enable and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, with a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide. In the third blog in this series, we are looking at Inveralmond Community High School and their use of the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge to engage young people from around the country.

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, with support from the Formula 1 community, is a global not-for-profit initiative that offers young people something truly unique – the opportunity to design and produce a model Formula 1 car that reaches speeds of 20 metres per second, utilising cutting edge digital manufacturing technologies and working alongside instantly recognisable global businesses.

Pupils aged 11-18 work as part of a team to design their own model Formula 1 car, utilising 3D modelling, testing and simulation packages, then operating rapid prototyping equipment to turn their digital concept into a physical model, which they will then race against teams around the country in the hope of making it to the UK finals, followed by the 2018 World Finals held in September. Underpinned by science and mathematical principles, the F1 in Schools Challenge supports the development and application of a broad range of digital skills, including digital creation and production, animation, and coding. Teams must also work together using soft skills such as project management, communication, and marketing to secure team sponsorship and manage budgets to fund their research, travel, and accommodation costs.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeInveralmond Community High School is currently Scotland’s only F1 in Schools Centre of Excellence. They offer a range of digital resources which any school from across Scotland can utilise free of charge in order to compete in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Finals, ranging from industry standard CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) machines and resources through to state of the art 3D modelling and printing facilities. Support from Digital Xtra Fund has enabled Inveralmond Community High School to purchase the final piece of their resource jigsaw, an official F1 in Schools race track and timing system. This will allow participants to not only design and build their cars on site, but also test them in an official capacity – greatly improving their chance of success on a UK and global level.

David Dodds, Principal Teacher at Inveralmond Community High School said “The support from Digital Xtra Fund has been fantastic. This new equipment will enable teams to properly test their custom cars in the build up to the Scottish Finals later this month [23 Feb]. Every student involved in the challenge relishes the opportunity to celebrate months of hard work as they race their cars down the new track on competition day in a bid to get to the UK finals in March. The procurement of this state-of-the-art system will add a new dimension to the development and application of digital skills in Scotland”.

The F1 in Schools Scottish Finals will take place at Inveralmond Community High School on 23 February when 20 teams comprised of 120 pupils will travel to Livingston from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Midlothian, and West Lothian to compete in this exciting and unique extracurricular activity while enjoying STEM in action.

This hands-on programme provides a fun way for pupils to challenge themselves and gives them the opportunity to develop key skills which will form the foundation of their future, in whichever career path they choose. Digital Xtra Fund’s support of this programme will have a lasting legacy for F1 in Schools in Scotland, and is made possible thanks to the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeAndrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools said “Scotland has always produced very strong F1 in Schools teams, with ambitious, engaged students who really relish the challenge that F1 in Schools offers them. We haven’t had a World Champion team from Scotland yet, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time, particularly with Inveralmond Community High School now having the luxury of a race track and timing system for the Scottish schools to use for track testing.  We wish all the teams competing at the Scottish Finals the best of luck and we look forward to seeing the winning teams at our National Finals at Silverstone race circuit on 19th and 20th March.”


Thanks to our industry Partners, donations, and in-kind support, Digital Xtra Fund is able to provide annual grant awards to support projects like this, contributing to our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.


F1 Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Event


Interested in seeing the F1 Schools STEM Challenge in action? Looking for an apprentice with hands-on experience to join your team? Join us at Inveralmond Community High School on 23rd February from 10:00 – 14:30.

The event will bring together over 120 students as they compete for a place at the UK Finals. If you fancy a day of digital skills, friendly competition, and fun – please sign up to attend here.




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