VIDEO: English Martyrs ready for blast-off!

IT was all systems go at a Hartlepool school where a rocket-launching competition was voted a sure-fire hit.

Eight teams of students gathered at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College in Catcote Road for the event which has become a real attraction.

Pupils taking part in the rocket challenge

Pupils taking part in the rocket challenge

They came from schools across the North-East including in Sunderland, Bishop, Auckland, North Shields, and Peterlee.

They all joined pupils from English Martyrs for the Rocket Launch competition which has been held for the past five years as part of the Catholic Partnership of Schools.

And there was joy for the home teams with the English Martyrs teams finishing first and second this year.

Pupils from St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School in Peterlee finished in sixth spot.

Martyrs technology teacher Tia Percy-Brown, who organised the event, explained how it all worked.

She said: “Each team has three students and they design a rocket which is made out of paper. They try to fire it the furthest distance.”

Students also had to design a poster to advertise their rocket, and that contributed towards the final result.

Tia added: “The event is really popular and the students seem to really enjoy it. There is certainly a lot of rivalry between the teams.

The first part of the event saw each team designing their rocket. They were also given “manufacturing time” to make their product and a period to design the poster to go with it all.

Tia added: “The students can test fire their rockets but if they do that they do lose points.”

And then came the moment when the teams came to fire their finished product.

Each got the chance to attach their rocket to an air pump in the Martyrs back field before firing it as far as possible. Extra points were awarded to any team which managed to get their rocket into a series of rings set at points across the field.

Tia added: “In previous years, we have seen rockets which have gone for 100 to 120ft.

“You find that some can really travel if the wind catches them just right.

“The children get quite excited and they get really competitive.”

Organiser described the event as a chance for pupils to demonstrate their creative design skills and manufacturing ability.