QUESTION - F1 in Schools STEM Challenge- 18/10/2018


The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:36): I thank the member for Morphett for his question. As an engineer, I know that he, along with the members for Gibson and Black, will be particularly proud that one of the schools that support students in his local area was world champion in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge. The Horizon team from Brighton Secondary School was successful this year.

I would like to talk a little bit about this challenge because it is an extraordinary competition. It is the largest STEM competition in the world. Each year, more than 17,000 schools from 44 nations take on the challenge of developing the world's fastest miniature Formula One car. If members want to know what one of these cars looks like, on the news tonight I think they will see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex trying out one of them at an interstate school. That school's team was amongst all those other schools defeated by the students from Brighton Secondary School.

Here in Australia, 22,000 students are involved every year, and the final competition, held in Singapore in September, was contested by students from 23 countries in 51 teams, with cars, finances, brand and pit display over a 16-month period. It mimics the world of a Formula One team, with groups of students having to follow a pathway of engineering and manufacturing disciplines, and design, analyse, test, make and race the cars. They are provided with access to real-world technologies, and they develop specific STEM skills as well as project management skills, entrepreneurialism, marketing and a series of other skills useful in life.

The Horizon team from Brighton Secondary School was not only overall world champion but they also won for the fastest car and for the best engineered car and were nominated for the research and development award. So congratulations to the team members—and I know I speak on behalf of all members of parliament—these years 10, 11 and 12 students: James Gurney, James Lloyd, Luke Battjes, JJ Elliss, Tom Lightfoot and Lukla Moase, as well as principal, Olivia O'Neill, and her staff members Finn Galindo and Emma Golding, who supported the students in their task.

Rick Persse, the CE of the education department, and I were very pleased to visit the school to congratulate the students in person, hear their presentation and try their car—and my car went faster than the CE's, I was very pleased to see. The students particularly expressed their thanks to all the people in the STEM community, and indeed in the business community, who supported them.

They particularly singled out the Minister for Sport, Corey Wingard, the local member, who introduced them to many of those businesses and people who were able to donate to the significant fundraising task they had. They mentioned his name a few times. I think they were very grateful, and I certainly know that the parliament is grateful. This is the way local members of parliament can support their schools.

Previously, the Minister for Environment and, I know, this year, the member for Morphett were involved as well. The students were grateful and they have a great future ahead of them. We are very proud of their achievements and, on behalf of the parliament, I think the Brighton Secondary School Horizon team can be very, very proud of their efforts. We look forward to seeing what they achieve in the years ahead.