A TEAM of students at Blacon High School, Chester, have beaten hundreds of young people from across the UK to make it to the finals of a technology contest.

Their collaborative effort has ensured the school is now in the final of the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize – a £20,000 ‘tech-for-good’ prize for young people.

AroundtheCrowd, dreamt up by the pupils, is an app that uses user feedback and sensors tracing footfall to provide real-time information on the crowdedness of local areas, enabling people can make an informed decision on when to visit.

The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize, delivered by Nesta Challenges, pairs entrepreneurial skills not usually taught in the classroom with the STEM curriculum to encourage young innovators from across the UK aged 11-16 to create tech solutions to the big challenges of our time - like climate change, healthy living, ageing well and staying better connected.

The team from Blacon High School and the 39 other teams in the running will now work with tech industry mentors to develop prototypes of their ideas ahead of the final judging in July.

There are some really exciting and creative ideas from teams in the running this year, all the more impressive that they developed and submitted them at the height of lockdown.

In July, the winning team will be awarded £20,000 for its school or youth group, with three teams of runners-up to be awarded £5,000 each for their school or youth group. The public will also be given the chance to choose their favourite design in the People’s Choice Award in June, the winner of which will receive £5,000 prize money for its school or youth group.

Maddy Kavanagh, education and skills programme manager at Nesta Challenges, said: “It is a privilege to unveil the 40 inspirational teams that have been shortlisted for this year’s Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize.

"It has been amazing to be inundated with so many innovative entries despite the immense pressures faced by young people, teachers and youth workers alike. Schools are working extraordinarily hard to ensure students excel after lockdown, and youth groups continue to provide vital extra-curricular services and support. We are so pleased that the prize is introducing more young people to the exciting opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths, supporting the growth of entrepreneurial life-skills, and developing their confidence at such a pivotal time. We can’t wait to see our teams develop their ideas into real-world prototypes in the next three months.”