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Sefton chemists create winning formula

28 May 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan plays host to chemistry competition.

Budding chemists from Sefton will represent the North West in the final of a national schools’ chemistry competition after beating off hopefuls from across the region.

Pupils from Range High School in Sefton won the North West regional heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Schools’ Analyst Competition held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston.

The three AS level chemistry students; Jonathan Baker, Ciara McQuaid and Chloe Uffendel triumphed over 10 schools from across Lancashire and will represent the North West region at the prestigious UK final which will also take place at UCLan in June.

Each team undertook various practical analytical experiments based on problems relevant to industrial or social needs. These were judged on skill, understanding and accuracy using tests intended to promote team work and safety in the laboratory.

“This was the first time our school has attended the event and so I was extremely proud that they won the North West heat.”

Jillian Stretch, a chemistry teacher from The Range High School, accompanied the pupils to the UCLan event. She commented: “This was the first time our school has attended the event and so I was extremely proud that they won the North West heat. They are looking forward to representing the region in the national final.

“The students thoroughly enjoyed working on the tasks and worked well as a team. The one thing they all agreed on was that they had fun. It has increased their confidence in their analytical skills and given them a taste of facilities available at university.”

It’s the first year that UCLan has hosted the final of the much respected competition, which attracts the brightest young chemists from around the country, and the seventh year in a row that the University has hosted the regional leg. The idea behind the annual RSC event is to encourage students to consider chemistry related careers while at the same time giving participants a taste of university life.

The competition takes place in laboratories within the University’s new £11.5 million J.B. Firth Building, which has been specifically built to support teaching and research in chemistry and related disciplines.

Hutton Grammar School was named as the regional runner-up and last year’s North West winners, Bolton School Boys’ Division, was awarded third place in the competition.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the 20 school teams from across the country to put their analytical science skills to the test and see who will be crowned the overall winner.”

UCLan Senior Lecturer in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Dr Rob Smith commented: “Congratulations to the pupils from The Range High School. Once again we saw just how capable young chemists from across Lancashire are and what great lab and analytical skills they have.

“This year’s RSC competition is particularly special for us as UCLan will host the final next month. We are looking forward to welcoming the 20 school teams from across the country to put their analytical science skills to the test and see who will be crowned the overall winner.”

The University’s new JB Firth Building houses the schools of Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. It includes four laboratories for up to 160 students as well as two chemistry rooms, one analytical laboratory and a fire laboratory.