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It all stacks up for Britain's brightest kids

It all stacks up for Britain's brightest kids

UK INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service. 12 November 2008

BIGGEST PRIMARY SCHOOL INNOVATION PROJECT REWARDS YOUNG INVENTORS

School children who designed a machine to make stacking chairs easier have been hailed as the UK's brightest young inventors.

The device, called 'Charlie the Chair Stacker', was designed by nine and ten-year-old pupils at Great Arley School in Lancashire and has been named as the National winner of the 2008 Cracking Ideas competition.

Oscar(r) winning animator Nick Park, whose famous creations Wallace and Gromit front the project, judged the nationwide competition and picked 'Charlie the Chair Stacker' as the winning invention.

The pupils from Great Arley School came up with the invention which stacks chairs using a combination of pincers and magnets. It was born out of the children's desire to help the school's site supervisor Mr Figgins, by taking over his most tiresome job.

'Charlie' has a control panel which allows the owner to input chair spacing information, and is controlled remotely allowing Mr Figgins to put his feet up while 'Charlie the Chair Stacker' does what he does best!

Cracking Ideas is the biggest Government-backed project of its kind and uses a combination of specific lesson plans, teaching resources and a dedicated website - http://www.crackingideas.com - to encourage innovation among Key Stage Two pupils as part of the National Curriculum.

The competition within the project, which is run by the UK Intellectual Property Office, encouraged pupils to design an environmentally friendly appliance that could be used in Wallace and Gromit's house.

Today (November 12, 2008) finalists from seven schools attended an awards ceremony at the Science Museum in London where the runners-up were presented with prizes by the 'How2' presenter Gareth 'Gaz Top' Jones who was joined by the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property David Lammy, who presented the winning school with their award.

Great Arley School's prizes include an original bespoke trophy made by the model-making department at Aardman Animations and a preview screening at their school of the new Wallace and Gromit short film, 'A Matter of Loaf and Death'.

Guests at the event included the inventor of the wind-up radio, Trevor Baylis who was joined by some very special surprise guests - a life-sized Wallace and Gromit!

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park was impressed with the standard of entries in the 2008 competition:

"It was a really tough decision to choose the winner of Cracking Ideas 2008. The entries were all great creations and of a really high standard; I was really impressed to see that young people are being creative and innovative in this country. It may not be long before we see another great inventor coming out of Britain!"

Amanda Johnstone, the class teacher of the winning pupils at Great Arley School, praised her students for their hard work and dedication to the project:

"I am so proud of the children. They put in such a lot of effort, and I am delighted that it has paid off for them. The project really brought out their creative ability and I think we all learnt something about patents and intellectual property."

The collaboration between the UK Intellectual Property Office, Aardman Animations and the Science Museum is set to continue next year with an exhibition focussing on innovation at the Science Museum.

This 'World of Cracking Ideas' is set to spark off the potential inventor's creativity with a mixture of interactive exhibits, creative activities and animated displays, all themed around Wallace and Gromit's house.

Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property David Lammy said:

"It is a credit to all the entrants of Cracking Ideas 2008 for us to see such a high level of innovation and creativity among the young people in the UK."

"Cracking Ideas is about drawing this creativity out of children and allowing them to bring their imaginations to life, and the exhibition at the Science Museum in 2009 will strive to continue this development."

More information on Cracking Ideas can be found at http://www.crackingideas.com.

Notes to Editors

* For more information, pictures and interviews, contact Nick Mason or Jo Bishop at Mason Media on 0151 239 5050 or 07961 791 469, email jo@masonmedia.co.uk.

* The names of the pupils who designed 'Charlie the Chair Stacker' are Amy Enright and Ryan Thompson.

* The regional winners are: Lincluden Primary School, Dumfries and Galloway; West Park Primary School, Wolverhampton; Northbourne Park School, Kent; Sunninghill Preparatory School, Dorset; Llangyfelach Primary School, Swansea and Marden Bridge Middle School, Whitley Bay.

* Cracking Ideas is the biggest Government-backed project of its kind and uses a combination of specific lesson plans, teaching resources and a dedicated website - http://www.crackingideas.com - to encourage innovation among Key Stage Two pupils as part of the National Curriculum.

* The project was developed by the UK Intellectual Property Office who formulate and implement domestic IP legislation. Policy responsibilities include patents, trade marks, designs and copyright. More information is available at http://www.ipo.gov.uk.

* Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, television series and television commercials for both the domestic and international market. Their multi-award winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio's work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercials productions.

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