A GROUP of budding science students from Cornwall have shown their stuff on the national scene by coming first in a countrywide chemistry competition, a feat that not accomplished by an English state school or college for nearly 20 years.

The Chemistry students from Truro and Penwith College made Cornwall proud as they won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s AD Schools’ Analyst Competition at the national finals.

The nationals, which were held in Bangor, saw around 20 teams from the top colleges in the country competing for first place and a whopping £3,000 to spend on analytical chemistry equipment.

The team from Truro and Penwith College came first, with King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys coming second and Ballyclare High School coming third.

Anna Gilchrist from Fowey, Alex Moreman from Redruth and Abi Tamblyn from St Austell, who made up the winning team, were also awarded with £100 each and an engraved, glass trophy.

Rosie Maguire, Chemistry lecturer and STEM Coordinator at the College, said: “I was really proud of the students coming first at regional level, up against strong competition from the South West. We were all very excited to qualify for the national competition and went along with the main aim to enjoy it.

"The competition itself is very analytical and mathematical and challenges the students’ ability to understand certain instrumentation, which they don't cover during A Levels, some of which aren't even introduced until degree level.”

Even the journey to the competition, which took around eight hours, was not wasted time as the students used it as a chance to run through the possible instrumentations they could potentially face in the final.

The students were selected for the competition after joining the Truro and Penwith College’s STEM Academy and impressing Rosie in a practical similar to what they could expect at regionals.

“I really enjoy stretching and challenging the students and talking them through the different analysis techniques while relating it to everyday life," said Rosie.

"All the students I teach are outstanding and Alex, Abi and Anna have now gone on to demonstrate this nationally. I couldn't be more proud of them as this is an amazing achievement."

Andy Stittle, Director of Teaching and Learning at the College, said: “The College’s STEM provision is extensive and this competition is just one example of the wide range of enrichment activities that the College supports to enable students to compete with their peers nationally.

"Such activities really help in developing confidence, a deeper understanding of the subject and in gaining offers from internationally renowned universities. Congratulations to all those involved on this truly outstanding performance.”