Richmond School students win chemistry contest

L-R, Richmond School and Sixth Form College students Charlotte Kell, 17, of Darlington, Jay Ward, 17, of Northallerton and Biani Bell, 17, of Richmond.

Young chemists from Richmond School and Sixth Form College used the appliance of science to good effect in a competition designed to test their skills in the lab.

For the first time, students from the school competed on the national stage in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual School Analyst Competition finals.

A three-strong team comprising Jay Ward, 17, of Northallerton, Biani Bell, 17, of Richmond and Charlotte Kell, 17 of Darlington, took the honours in the regional heat staged at Teesside University earlier this year.

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This allowed them to compete against 20 teams of 60 students from around the country in the national finals at the University of Sussex, Brighton.

In the regionals the students were given a scenario around discovering why a worker had fallen ill after drinking from a copper kettle.

The final saw the trio determine the source and impact of a chemical leak into a river in a three-hour test of their chemistry skills.

Chemistry teacher Kevin Sandell said: “It was the third time we had taken part in the regional heats but the first time we had won, allowing us to reach the finals. The students performed exceptionally well and even though they finished outside the top three, managed to complete the task which many teams didn’t.”

Jay said: “We were just delighted to reach the finals and really enjoyed gaining a feel for life in a university lab. We worked together really well, each tackling a particular element of the challenge then pulling together the overall results; it was great fun.”