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Introducing the Trust’s 12 new ‘Future Brunels’

Future Brunels by the bow of the ship

Pupils with a flair for science and engineering started the ss Great Britain Trust’s ‘Future Brunels’ programme on Wednesday (May 30).

The dozen students, aged 11 and 12, come from four Bristol schools. The new ‘Future Brunels’ are just the second group to join the educational programme developed by the ss Great Britain Trust as part of the charity’s Brunel Institute work.

Programme content is inspired by the great Victorian engineer I.K. Brunel as well as today’s engineering and science heroes.

The five-year rolling programme aims to encourage more children to consider a career in science and engineering and is seen as pioneering by sector leaders including the programme’s principal funder The Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Additional funding for the ‘Future Brunels’ programme has come from the Society of Merchant Venturers, based in Bristol, and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Rolls-Royce supported the selection process as one of the Brunel Institute Corporate Academy members.

The ‘Future Brunels’ students, who are all Year-7s, come from Merchants’ Academy, Redland Green School, Bedminster Down School and Cotham School.

Highlights of the first official session included:

  • One new iPad for each ‘Future Brunel’ for use during the programme
  • A scientific scavenger hunt on board ship
  • A tour of Brunel’s ss Great Britain and the Brunel Institute

Selection of the ‘Future Brunels’ was based on their passion for science and engineering, their potential, and ability to work in teams.

The five-year programme draws inspiration from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s talents as an engineer, mathematician, artist and designer, and it covers:

  • Year 1: ‘The Scientist’ – exploring the world and testing ideas
  • Year 2: ‘The Polymath’ – combining art and science
  • Year 3: ‘The Magician’ – new advances, pseudo science and the super hero
  • Year 4: ‘The Engineer’ – pushing the boundaries and learning from mistakes
  • Year 5: ‘The Human Being’ – impact of science and engineering and ethics

The ‘Future Brunels’ take part in the programme six times per year with activities at the Brunel Institute and access to sites which bring science and engineering alive. The group’s first trip is to Thorpe Park theme park to explore the physics and engineering behind designing and maintaining roller coasters.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s Education Manager Dr Rachel Roberts commented:

“This ambitious programme is helping to inspire new 21st century Brunels. It gives them opportunities to experience science and engineering in exciting ways. We were impressed by the high standards of all the children, and are looking forward to challenging and developing the pupils to help them meet their full potential.”

Dr Roberts added:

“We are delighted with the ongoing support and commitment from our funders and corporate partners, as well as the four schools, the ‘Future Brunels’ and their parents. They are all vital to the initiative’s ongoing success.”



Image details: The ‘Future Brunels’ pictured with their new iPads from left are: Georgia Wall, Sophie Newman, Kiara Ambers (Merchants’ Academy); Adam Sidnell, Harry Woodward, Romi Aggarwal (Redland Green School); Mitchell Case, CJ Fletcher, Jessica Anderson (Bedminster Down School); Theo Davies, Beth Killen and Eden Parsons (Cotham School). Also pictured are the ss Great Britain Trust’s Science Education Officer Gemma Kearsley-Wooller, Education & Access Officer Honor Prysor-Jones and Education Manager Dr Rachel Roberts. (Picture credit: Adam Gasson)