4 April 2017

Budding young civil engineers from North Tyneside took on the task of constructing a fully useable bridge from scratch.

The sports hall at Norham High School was transformed into construction site for the epic exercise to construct, cross and then dismantle a large scale, 12-metre model of a cable-stayed bridge.

Pupils from Norham High School, Churchill Community College, Battle Hill Primary School and Riverside Primary School worked with experienced civil engineers to complete the challenge in under two hours.


The task aimed to help pupils gain a better understanding of real-life civil engineering projects, including plans to reconstruct Norham Road Bridge over the A1058 Coast Road.


The hands-on bridge building allowed the youngsters to experience civil engineering directly, as well as learn about construction methods and principles of forces. They also used problem solving and team working skills.


The bridge building fun came courtesy of the Institute of Civil Engineers’ Bridges to Schools scheme, where pupils get to work with scale models of bridges and learn from experienced civil engineers. Staff from Norham High School, North Tyneside Learning Trust and Capita worked together to bring the bridge to Norham High School. The event was also supported by the Engineering at TyneMet team.


On behalf of North Tyneside Council, Capita is currently working at Billy Mill junction as part of the £7.2million A1058 Coast Road Improvement Scheme.


Pupils from Norham High School have already been working with Capita to understand more about the civil engineering that’s happening on their doorstep as well as design their own versions of the Norham Road Bridge.


David Baldwin, Executive Headteacher at Norham High School and Churchill Community College, said: “This was an unforgettable learning experience for everyone involved. The bridge looked fantastic when it was complete and I know that each and every pupil who took part in this exercise was inspired by the task.


“We’re always looking for new opportunities to enhance our pupils’ learning and understanding of the world around them, and we’re extremely grateful to the Institute of Civil Engineers, Capita and the North Tyneside Learning Trust for enabling this to happen at Norham High School.”


Richard Carmichael, Partnership Director at Capita, said: “We have a really strong relationship with Norham High School and are delighted to be working with them on this latest initiative.


“Events like this are rewarding for our staff and can encourage students to consider a career in engineering, which they may not have previously thought about.”


Over 140 pupils aged between 10 and 15, in groups of 20, took part in the exercise over the course of a week. 


You can find out more about the Bridges to School scheme at https://www.ice.org.uk/news/ice-ambassadors-inspire-with-bridges-to-schools

Check out our Gallery for all the photographs.