‘Big Bang’ grant for Ballyclare High

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The council has agreed to provide financial assistance to Ballyclare High School pupils seeking to attend a prestigious science competition.

At a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee on January 11, councillors agreed to provide up to £723 to Ballyclare High School to support a team of pupils to attend the ‘Big Bang National Science and Engineering’ competition.

The event which will take place in March 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham.

The Ballyclare team entered the ‘Sentinus Young Innovators’ competition in Belfast in June, and were chosen as one of 10 teams to represent Northern Ireland at the UK finals.

The pupils have developed a device for children with epilepsy to alert their carers of a seizure. The application is linked to smart phone technology utilising GPS co-ordinates, a Google map and text message to provide an alert.

This is the third consecutive year that pupils from Ballyclare High School have been selected to attend the UK competition.

According to a council report, financial assistance was requested towards the cost of flights, accommodation, subsistence and insurance for three pupils and one member of staff at an estimated total cost of £1,627.

A council report reminded memebers of the shadow council’s decision in November 2014 to support Ballyclare High School with the cost of flights and accommodation for three pupils to attend the Birmingham event at a cost of £729, not including the cost of staff.

Members were also reminded of the decision taken by the council in November 2015 to contribute £500 to Belfast High School to cover flights and accommodation for four pupils and one teacher to attend the Big Bang Competition 2016.

UUP Councillor Vera McWilliam proposed that councillors contribute up to £723 towards the cost of flights and accommodation for three pupils to attend the competition. She was seconded by DUP Councillor Timothy Girvan, and the decision passed unanimously.