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Appliance of science: Schools compete for Barton Shield

Pupils from six schools put their scientific knowledge to the test as they took part in the inaugural Barton Science Competition at Tonbridge School.

Teams made up of students from Years 9 and 10 faced challenges and problem-solving exercises in Chemistry, Biology and Physics in which, respectively, they analysed samples of acid, made a series of circuits and carried out experiments in flash chromatography.

Schools taking part included Hugh Christie School, Weald of Kent, Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls, The Judd School and The Skinners’ School, as well as Tonbridge. 

The competition has received funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry. It took place in the school’s recently opened Barton Science Centre, a state-of-the art, three-storey building named after former Tonbridge School pupil Sir Derek Barton. A distinguished British organic chemist, Sir Derek was a Nobel Prize winner 50 years ago in 1969.

The Barton Science Competition is also in his name, and schools were competing to be the first name engraved on the newly created Barton Shield. 

After a rigorous contest, in which pupils impressed the judges with their all-round science skills, The Judd School emerged as the winners (pictured above). In addition to keeping the Barton Shield for a year, the winning team were also awarded book prizes, while the school receives a cash prize to be spent on science-related activities.

Tonbridge School Chemistry teacher Chris Lawrence, who organised the competition, said: “It was fantastic to see the way in which the young people taking part were clearly so inspired by, and enthusiastic about, all things scientific. This was a hugely successful start to what we at Tonbridge hope will become a fun and popular annual competition, involving even more schools.”  


  • Barton Science Centre