PENKETH pupils rose to victory out of 80 students who competed from secondary schools across Warrington in a United Utilities engineering challenge.

The year nine students from Penketh High School took part in the 20-week research project which asks groups to develop plans to build a community centre in the Lake District.

Beamont Collegiate Academy, Bridgewater High School, Padgate Academy, Penketh High School, and Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School all participated in the challenge.

Each week pupils worked with mentors from United Utilities to put their problem-solving skills to the test and come up with their designs for the centre.

The weeks led up to a Dragon’s Den style pitch where the pupils had to ‘sell’ their proposal to a panel of judges.

From pedal-powered community centres to technical colleges, this year’s teams came up with a wide range of innovative and sustainable ideas which demonstrated their research, design, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

The overall winning team from Penketh High School proposed a community centre called Windy Lakes, which had the needs of the community in mind and was designed to emulate the local hills.

Joanne Rands, head of process delivery at United Utilities, said: “Every pupil is a winner for taking part in this challenge. It can be very daunting, especially standing in front of the judges to present the final projects, so everyone should be very proud of themselves.

“The pupils have shown incredible resilience and innovative thinking over the past few months and have really impressed our mentors and judges.

“The winning team stood out for their research into the local community of Coniston, and their building design was particularly impressive in the way it incorporated the landscape of the Lake District.

“Well done to all the pupils who took part.”

Richard Doyle, Head of Chemistry at Penketh High School, said: “Giving pupils the chance to go beyond the curriculum and build new skills is something we’re very passionate about at Penketh, so an opportunity like this with a large local company is something that we really grabbed hold of.

“The challenge gets pupils working as team, talking to people in different jobs, and making new friendships, all while putting their learning into practice in a different way from classroom learning.

“We’re really proud of all our pupils who took part and are delighted that we had the winning team for the second year in a row.”