Pupils vie to be Top of the Bench at Strathclyde

Almost 100 young people from across 22 schools competed at Strathclyde to win a coveted team place in a national science competition.

Run by the Royal Society of Chemistry, ‘Top of the Bench’ tests pupils from S2, S3 and S4 and aged from 14-16 on their science skills.

The West of Scotland heat run by the society’s local section was held at the University’s Royal College Building this week to select a team to represent the region in the UK final in Birmingham next March.

A four strong team from Glasgow’s St Aloysius’ College came top, with students from schools including Park Mains High, Bishopbriggs Academy and Lourdes and Holyrood Secondary Schools, were all tested on their practical knowledge with an experiment to identify compounds.

The pupils also took part in a science emoji quiz.

The winning team of Dominic Kono, Cameron Berry, Noemi Thompson and Charlotte Norton will now go on the national competition, which has prizes for the best overall school performance - the Top of the Bench Team - and for the five runner-up teams.

S2 pupil Dominic said: “Top of the Bench stands out from other competitions because it is a lot more fun and challenges you as an individual to become better at teamwork.”

Noemi, an S3 student said: “It was a very memorable experience and I really liked the competition because it was so interactive and fun. I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Dr Charles O’Hara, Senior Lecturer in Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde said: “The competition is a great way of engaging young people with science, particularly chemistry, at an early age and also allows them the opportunity to compete nationally.”