Building bridges the cool school way

Building Bridges: Strathburn School Primary 7 pupils were among those that took part. Picture: Susann Brown
Building Bridges: Strathburn School Primary 7 pupils were among those that took part. Picture: Susann Brown
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Local Primary school pupils across the Garioch are currently learning to be civil engineers at an event hosted by Newmachar Primary School.

Under supervision from qualified civil engineers, Primary 7 pupils from Hatton Fintray, Strathburn, Keithhall, Chapel of Garioch, Market Place, have already taken part in the programme while Newmachar, Port Elphinstone and Kellands will follow suit today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday).

Dressed in engineer’s safety clothing, including hard hat and fluorescent jacket, the young people construct a 12 metre-long cable-stayed bridge that they will be able to walk across, once built.

The Bridges to Schools programme is being brought to the area by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland with the aim of raising awareness of civil engineering among the youngsters, and to encourage them to see it as a possible future career option.

Kevin Burnett, Pre 19 Events co-ordinator for ICE in the North-east said: “The programme is intended to give pupils an early insight into the challenges of civil engineering while having some fun along the way.

“Working with volunteer civil engineers, the pupils consider all the aspects of the project, from why bridges are needed in the first place, through the planning stage to materials, construction and health and safety.

“To do this they have to listen, focus and work together. We believe it helps build their confidence and adds another dimension to their learning.”

The first two schools to experience constructing the bridge were Hatton of Fintray and Oyne.

Hatton of Fintray school head teacher, Moira Couper said: “The children had a fabulous time. It gave them an insight into the work of an engineer. I thought the whole programme was very good.”

Oyne’s class P6/7 teacher Jan Bewick, also reported that the children had a good time. She said: “I think they got a great deal out of it - they got a taste of what civil engineering is like as a job. It was hands-on with an end product and they got more out of it than they would if it just been a model.”