Schools compete in national coding comp

PA Consulting Group announce winners of Raspberry Pi coding competition

The UK’s brightest innovators from schools across the country competed in the final of PA Consulting Group’s fourth annual Raspberry Pi coding competition.

Nine teams of finalists presented their inventions to an expert judging panel including Emma Young, Vice President IT business change & delivery, ARM and Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology correspondent. The competition challenged participants to use a Raspberry Pi to drive innovation in sport and leisure.


The winners

Primary school: academic years 4 – 6  Egglescliffe CE Primary School

The winning entry in the primary school category was a competitive game called Colour Smash. This tests and improves people’s reflexes and reaction speeds, while also being affordable, easy to replicate and fun to play in a group. Players need to watch the screen for the colour displayed and hit the corresponding colour zone on a large playing board in front of them. 

Why the team won: The judges loved the game, because it was a simple but energetic and brilliant idea. The judges liked the way the team worked and their passion for their game. Best of all they liked how the team was able to take the judges ‘behind the scenes’ of their entry to show them the code and method.

Finalists: Daviot Primary School; St Mary’s CE Primary School

Secondary school: academic years 7 – 11  Wick High School

This team created a robot to improve the spectator experience at rugby games. The robot, which can be controlled by a mobile device, has a camera fitted that live streams video and can be driven onto the pitch to provide pitch side rugby fans with a unique view of a conversion. The robot as well as the camera can be controlled remotely, so both can be adjusted to give a perfect view of the play. 

Why the team won: This team of two had incredible enthusiasm and demonstrated great teamwork when explaining their project to the judges. Technically it was a great project which was well thought out and documented. The team worked hard to find a creative solution to making the overall game experience useful for the players and spectators.

Finalists: Lavant House School; Tanbridge House School 

This year’s finalists produced really smart inventions which the judges thought could all easily be applied in the real world and it is this creativity and problem solving that is making the competition what it is today

Secondary school/college: academic years 12 – 13  Highgate School

The winning team created a device to record race times and capture photo finishes in an accurate and cost-effective way. The team’s invention utilises a camera and an infrared motion sensor to accurately document race times and training splits. The device also has a photo finish function which can send the results of a race or training session, via email, directly to race officials.

Why the team won: The team had a real passion for their project as the problem they were trying to solve had affected them as runners. The team came up with a simple but cost-effective solution to a problem which would usually be quite expensive; they managed to create theirs for only £60. The team explained the project well and anticipated how this could be used in many other markets. It also has the potential to be pushed out to schools and running clubs.

Finalists: Riddlesdown Collegiate; Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre

Anita Chandraker, who leads the digital service team at PA Consulting Group and is chair of the judging panel said: “We set this competition up four years ago because at PA we are passionate about technology and innovation, so it was really important for us to encourage the next generation to be as passionate as we are. Young people need to learn to code but what we’ve also seen and learnt is that team work is equally important. We have seen teams where some children are into engineering, some into coding and others are great at the marketing. It’s this teamwork which creates fantastic inventions. This year’s finalists produced really smart inventions which the judges thought could all easily be applied in the real world and it is this creativity and problem solving that is making the competition what it is today.” 

The panel of judges:

Raoul-Gabriel Urma, Co-founder, CEO, Cambridge Coding Academy; Ms Farah Azirar, Trustee, The Institution of Engineering and Technology; Clive Beale, Raspberry Pi Foundation; Mark Sutton, IT Director, Teach First; Joanna Townsend, EMEA Regional Operations Director, Lloyd’s Register; Emma Young, Vice President IT business change & delivery, ARM; Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology correspondent; Ravi Mattu, Technology, media, telecoms editor, Financial Times; Anita Chandraker, PA Consulting Group. Awards host: Maggie Philbin.

To find out more about the competition, visit: