Year 9’s ‘Bright Idea’ makes her a winner


Sophie, a Latymer Year 9 student, has just been announced as a winner in Shell’s national school competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge.

Sophie’s triumph is a truly outstanding achievement as the challenge is entered by thousands of students across the country. Sophie was in Year 8 at the time she submitted her entry and was competing against everyone else in London (including every single one of our current Year 10 students).



Students across the country were tasked with using their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to come up with creative solutions to the energy challenges that cities will face in 2050. By that time it is projected that there will be more than 9 billion people on Earth creating a need for 50% more energy than today. 


Sophie’s idea involved making hydropower cheaper and safer for aquatic life and mammals. By being adaptable to any type of waterway, from rivers to sewers, basically anywhere with running water, it would mean that the electricity could be made in virtually any town or city.



“My design would float just above the riverbed and would be completely safe for any creature to live on, under or in,” says Sophie. “Its small size means that boats can travel along the river without any worries, while still doing its job perfectly. It could also be installed in rivers, canals and sewers. The design fastens to the riverbed in the central channel, where the flow is strongest.

“This will maximise the amount of energy harnessed. It will be fastened using chains that are attached to the bed. However, to prevent sand from getting in and clogging up the system, it will be slightly raised from the bed using large floats attached to each side.” 

Sophie has won a series of prizes for herself including:

  • A 12-month subscription to Kiwico’s ‘Tinker Crate’ kit – a monthly package that comes complete with fun, hands-on STEM kit designed to spark students’ creativity and curiosity
  • The Tech Will Save us ‘Spark pack’ that will get students building and coding their own handheld games console and music synth
  • A 3-month subscription to the Future Inventors Club, taking their coding to the next level!

She has also won £4,000 prize money for the school which will now be spent on outreach, helping a local school with equipment and resources that we are fortunate to enjoy here at Latymer Upper School. 

If you want to find out more about The Bright Ideas Challenge, go to 

Author: carolineroberts

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