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About fernDOWNLOAD

Established in September 2018, fernDOWNLOAD is a STEM programme with a difference.

Run completely by staff volunteers, fernDOWNLOAD provides opportunities for young people to get involved in a range of activities that gets them engaged with mechanical and digital engineering. Using the passion and engagement of our students we offer extensive outreach to local middle and infant schools to enthuse more engineers of the future, known as fernOUTREACH. Our club has contributed to a Pearson National Teaching Award for Digital Innovation in 2021. fernDOWNLOAD includes the UK's largest girls' FTC robotics club where we have successfully inspired dozens of girls to take STEM subjects onto GCSE and beyond!

As of September 2022 the programme has three distinct clubs detailed below.


Students take part in the International FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition, which annually gives them a challenge to design, build and use a robot in regional, national and if successful world level competitions.


We are currently designated a FIRST Tech Challenge UK Champion School, a regional hub to help local schools engage with the programme.

In our Rookie Season 2019/20, students exceeded expectations by not only winning "The Connect Award" for our South West Region but also with one of our two teams being part of the Winning Alliance, coming first place in the regional finals held in Bristol in January 2020. 

Our club fully embraces the FIRST ethos of #morethanrobots. We take the opportunity to not only enhance our students' leadership, team-working and engineering skills but to also benefit the wider community in a range of student driven projects.

Our club is predominantly made up of female participants, who are under represented in the engineering field country and world wide. We aim to inspire, educate and develop our young people into pursuing careers in engineering as part of our core mission of "Engineering Future Innovators". From September 2021 over 40 girls will be participating.

We rely on external funding for our equipment, facilities and events. If you want to be part of our story either by offering expertise, donating time, equipment please contact us on the details below.


Another fantastic STEM programme from FIRST Global is the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE.

In September 2020 we begin our Rookie Season in the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE - CHALLENGE.

Using LEGO Robotics equipment, students must collaborate, innovate and solve problems to overcome a series of challenges based on an annual theme.

Our students have to also take part in an Innovation Project to design a solution to solve a world problem that helps people based on the annual theme. Once again fully embracing the #morethanrobots ethos and showing our wider community how technology and its understanding can help us make the world a better place.

These groups of students will also aid out FTC teams in the fernOUTREACH events.


Inspired by our successful entry in the 2018/2019 Season, from Sept 2020 all our Sixth Form Computer Science students will be competing in the annual PA Raspberry Pi National Competition.

In small groups they will work on a project based on a brief, to design and create an invention using a Raspberry Pi and £100. The project is managed, implemented and led by the students as an addition to their normal curriculum. Students will use our Raspberry Pi engineering suite and facilities to aid this.

If successful our teams have a chance to proceed to the National Finals, The PA Pi Awards, to present their invention to Top Tech and Business CEOs and Representatives and a chance to win the competition.


PA Pi Award Runners Up in the Y10/11 Category 2019

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