Pupils shine at bridge-building

Wear Crossing
Pupils at Northern Saints Primary School are pictured with the large model of Sunderland’s New Wear Crossing. Pictured (back, from left) are Headteacher Steve Williamson, Brigid McGuigan, Cllr Harry Trueman and Christine Williams.

Youngsters showed off their engineering and creative skills when they built a series of bridges to celebrate Sunderland’s New Wear Crossing.

Every pupil at Northern Saints Primary School in Sunderland was involved in the project, which saw each class research bridges and engineering methods before designing and building their own impressive structures using a range of recyclable materials.

Each class spent two days building their models and creating storyboards on their chosen methods, with youngsters aged four and five from Reception class even getting in on the action.

Wear Crossing competition
Pupils Jamie Coates and Grace Fisher, both nine, represented Year 4 and are pictured with (back from left) judges Christine Williams, Cllr Harry Trueman and Brigid McGuigan.

Then the whole school joined together to build a giant model of the New Wear Crossing cable-stayed bridge, which spanned the length of the school hall and was entirely self-supporting, complete with polystyrene deck, rope cables and a pylon made from carpet roll tubes.

When Sunderland City Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Harry Trueman, and the Community Engagement team from Farrans Victor Buyck Joint Venture, which is building Sunderland’s new bridge, arrived to inspect the handiwork and judge the winning models, they were completely blown away.

Cllr Trueman and FVB’s Brigid McGuigan and Christine Williams said judging was difficult as all classes produced excellent models. However, Year 4 took first place, Year 1 came in second, and Reception was third.

Brigid said: “It’s been an honour to be invited to Northern Saints Primary School. We are really impressed with the children’s model bridges. We never expected them to be so elaborate and detailed.

“Farrans Victor Buyck is very proud to be building Sunderland’s new bridge, so it’s wonderful to see how excited young people in the city are about it and how they are developing their own engineering skills.”

Cllr Trueman said: “We believe Sunderland’s new bridge is going to bring wonderful things to the city, through regeneration, job creation and bringing communities together, and Northern Saints Primary School is obviously as excited about the future as we are.

“If these models are anything to go by, Sunderland is going to be in great hands in the years ahead.”

Logan Baxter, eight, from Red House in Sunderland, said he loved the bridge-building project.

“It’s been really fun. Some bits were difficult, but the best thing was seeing it finished at the end and knowing that we had done it together,” he said.

Wear Crossing
Pupils Sophie Shaw, Layla Wind, Olivia Fairweather and Jayden Thompson, all Year 5, proudly show off their model bridge

Headteacher Steve Williamson said the bridge-building project was part of a wider topic the school was doing on the heritage and culture of Sunderland.

The school brought in Tom Mulholland, of Technology Tom, to provide teachers with some training on bridge-building and then each member of staff set about creating their own models with the pupils.

Steve said: “We can see the cranes on the building site of the New Wear Crossing from our school field, so we are all hugely excited about Sunderland getting a new bridge and what it means for the city.

“All of the children have enjoyed this project. It’s been wonderful to see them talking about their experiences with joy on their faces, and it’s been a great learning journey too, from researching their local history and heritage to the technicalities of building bridges.”

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