Plain sailing at INEOS STEM Summer School


Plain sailing at INEOS STEM Summer School

Cutting-edge technology that is being employed by INEOS Team UK’s challenge for the prestigious sailing trophy, the America’s Cup, is the focus of this year’s INEOS-sponsored STEM Summer School at Forth Valley College.

Running from Monday July 1 till Friday July 5 at the Falkirk Campus, the summer school for children between the ages of 11 and 14 includes a fantastic mix of hands-on practical workshops and project-work, led by a combination of lecturing staff, alumni and industry experts. 

Through the week, the youngsters will work towards designing and building their own model boat and then test their craft against each other’s. And to help them, the class will experience a sailing day at Port Edgar near South Queensferry to better understand the principles of sailing and investigate the performance of different hull shapes.

In addition they’ll visit the INEOS site in Grangemouth to learn about high performance chemicals and materials production and they’ll investigate how the INEOS Team UK’s America’s Cup boat can travel faster than the wind through innovative sail and foil design.

Ian Little, INEOS site business development manager, says. “It’s fantastic to have the 1851 Trust supporting this year’s STEM Summer School. They have a wealth of resources that will deliver an informative, fun and challenging week, increasing the students’ knowledge and understanding of the science behind sailing and helping them gain an appreciation of the work by INEOS TEAM UK to challenge for the America’s Cup in 2021.

“We believe that the Summer School programme will have inspired the young people to keep on studying STEM subjects back at school.” 

Laura Leebody, from Grangemouth High School, who took part in the summer school in 2017, has not only continued with STEM subjects, but has taken a week off her holiday to volunteer to help with this year’s event.

The week-long programme concludes with the students building their own micro-boats to race competitively along a four metre ‘watery’ race track and writing up their week’s project work to gain a Bronze Crest Award.

Fiona Jackson, Curriculum Manager in FVC’s Department of Engineering and Science, said: “What a great way to spend the summer holidays here at Forth Valley College. The young people who attend are usually all very really keen and seem to enjoy themselves and learn at the same time. We look forward to welcoming more young people over the coming weeks and introducing them to the world of science.”

The INEOS STEM Summer School at Forth Valley College kicked off a wide range of classes for children between 6-16 years of age, providing interesting things to do during the holidays.

And a funding boost from the National Lottery Community Fund has helped to sweeten the deal for the delivery of the Junior Chef Summer School to the tune of £3,680.

Throughout the summer there are loads more for those hoping to find a fun and inspiring way to spend part of their holidays or improve their career prospects.

Some of the courses are aimed at pupils in the Forth Valley area, soon to start high school or just about to leave. The summer schools will open up a whole new world to young people who want to reinforce the path they want to take when they leave school, and also to those who are looking to turn that spark of interest in a subject into a full blown career.

Schools on offer include:

Junior Chef (Summer School) - An introduction to the world of cooking for 10-14 year olds. Stirling Campus 8-12 July and 22-26 July. Morning 9am-12noon, afternoon 1-4pm. Cost £90.

Sound Design for Film (Summer School) - This course is for those interested in producing sound for film and television. The course is highly practical and is delivered in our state of the art studios at our Stirling Campus. 29 July – 2 August. 9am-4pm. Cost £120

Creativity Camp (Summer School) - Kids will love the range of activities and ideas they can get involved in with this exciting new Summer School aimed at 6-10 year olds!  From making Slime to Unicorn Fudge - what 6-10 year old would not love this over their summer holidays? The course will run on a Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10am – 12, for three consecutive weeks over July, starting on Tuesday 2 July. Based at the Falkirk Campus and the cost is £30.

Computing (Summer School) – Between 29-31 July a Computing course will cover everything from Coding to controlling robots through various technologies. Based at the Falkirk Campus there are eight places and the cost is £30.

Summer Schools for Over 16s – Creative Writing for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at the Falkirk Campus between 22-24 July (£80), Introduction to Early Education & Childcare at the Falkirk Campus between 2-11 July (£80) and Get Ready for HNC Childhood Practice also at the Falkirk Campus between 9-17 July (£80) are bound to be popular, but spaces are limited so best to book quickly.

Anyone looking to find out more should visit  or call 01324 403000. More information on the science and technology behind INEOS TEAM UK’s challenge is available on the 1851 Trust’s website at 

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