TWO bright sparks at a Cradley Heath school struck silver in a national science competition.

Ormiston Forge Academy pupils Natasha Chifamba and Sherriff Shakoane took second place in the STEM challenge.

The pair reached the finals in Manchester after winning the West Midlands regional stage of STEM – an acronym for science, technology, engineering and maths.

Sherriff, aged 14, and Natasha, aged 15, were pitted against other regional winners to calibrate and programme a LEGO NXT robot to follow a track in an allotted time.

They then had to present their robot and the problems they came across to the other groups and the Lord Mayor of Manchester which won them a glass trophy and certificate.

Natasha said: “There were many difficulties - the robot's sensors were over sensitive and the steering wasn't smooth, but we worked together and overcame them.

“In the nick of time we managed to get their robot to follow a complex track at a competitive speed."

Proud teacher Jenny Onafowokan said: "They did a fantastic job, worked hard and performed well under pressure.

“To do this well in a national competition is credit to their team work skills and the way they conducted themselves."