Network Rail and Primary Engineer partner to develop data skills in young people

Primary Engineer® is delighted to announce Network Rail as a national funding partner for the STATWARS® Competition.

The STATWARS® Competition consists of two projects – STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge and STATWARS® Film & TV – both designed to inspire and educate young people about the power of data in decision making, the role it will play in their future careers, and the need for future professionals with data skills. As an educational project, it focuses on using data to deliver meaningful and engaging mathematics, data handling and data visualising skills to pupils in primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Both the STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge and STATWARS® Film & TV encourage and develop meta skills related to teamwork, communication, leadership, curiosity, empathy, critical thinking and resilience, as teams collaborate on indeterminate problems and develop data-driven solutions. Pupils then submit answers in the form of a poster, infographic or presentation, with judges selecting winners.

By creating opportunities for pupils to develop an understanding of the value of data alongside a range of professionals from Network Rail, STATWARS® will enable pupils to pick up tips on using, visualising and presenting data through live online interviews and skills sessions.

Oliver Bratton, Network Rail’s Director, Network Strategy & Operations, said: “Numbers and the railway go hand in hand, supporting both engineering and how we deliver the service every day. Understanding how the millions of moving parts of the industry work together means modelling, statistics, and numerical problem solving which provide a vast range of opportunities and careers for everyone who enjoys working with figures.”

Dr Susan Scurlock MBE, CEO and Founder of Primary Engineer®, said: “Network Rail has been a visionary funder supporting a range of Primary Engineer® programmes, including If You Were An Engineer What Would You Do? and the Primary Engineer Rail project, to provide an inclusive approach enabling all children and young people to be inspired by engineering and data. We are delighted to have them join us as a partner for the STATWARS® competition, particularly with its ability to bring valuable insights to pupils in our STATWARS®  Climate Change Challenge.”

The STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge empowers and educates young people to tackle climate change, by providing a project that delivers meaningful and engaging mathematics, numeracy, science, and data handling skills to pupils. They are required to understand, use and justify their use of quantitative and qualitative data, by seeking out and explaining patterns and relationships.

Lisa Constable, Network Rail’s Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Manager, said: “Climate change is causing more frequent and more severe extreme weather events, which in turn can have an impact on the safe and reliable operation of the railway. Through our involvement in the STATWARS Climate Change Challenge, we can use technology to improve the way we analyse, understand and manage risks to the railway. This project sits alongside our existing work, as set out in our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, to make the railway more resilient to the impact of climate change.”


STATWARS® is a data project, with multiple curriculum links to science, mathematics, computing, engineering as well as English and even geography, open to primary and secondary pupils. Both the STATWARS® Climate Change Challenge and STATWARS® Film & TV enable young people to investigate and present data and to use it to inform decision making.  The engagement with data specialists and industry professionals in the competition allows pupils multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. STATWARS® provides free teaching resources including lesson plans, activity sheets and video tutorials to unlock the value of data, as well as live interviews with data experts and skills sessions from experts. STATWARS® has been developed by Primary Engineer® and is fully funded across the UK by a number of funding partners. For more information visit

About Network Rail

Network Rail own, operate and develop Britain’s railway infrastructure; that’s 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. The run 20 of Britain’s largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country’s train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in Britain and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain’s railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Network Rail’s role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so they carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation’s railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced – a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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About Primary Engineer

Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation that provides a suite of programmes that encourage children from 3 to 19 years to consider STEM careers. Primary Engineer Programmes inspire children, pupils, parents and teachers through continued professional development, whole class project work, competitions and exhibitions.  All the programmes are linked to industry professionals to ensure the learning has a context to the wider world. They develop essential skills, promote engineering careers and address the diversity and gender imbalance in engineering with primary and secondary pupils. Primary Engineer programmes has won accolades including successive Red Rose Award’s for ‘Skills and Training Provider of the year’, Burnley Councils’ Chief Executive’s’ Award for bringing ‘Education and Industry together’ and featured in the Scottish Government’s Manufacturing Future for Scotland and the Engineering Skills Investment Plan. For further information visit