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Trust's 'Future Brunels', aged 11 & 12, line up to be inspired

A mega-talented group of 12 pupils has been selected to become the ss Great Britain Trust’s ‘Future Brunels’.

It is the most ambitious educational programme ever developed by the independent museum and part of the charity’s Brunel Institute work. The ‘Future Brunels’ project is seen as a trail-blazer by sector leaders including the programme’s major funder The Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

‘Future Brunels’ seeks to encourage more schoolchildren to pursue studies and a career in science and engineering, inspired by the great Victorian engineer I.K. Brunel as well as today’s engineering and science heroes.

The group has been chosen from 750 schoolchildren from four Bristol schools – Bedminster Down, Cotham School, Merchants’ Academy and Redland Green. 

Additional funding for the ambitious ‘Future Brunels’ programme has come from the Society of Merchant Venturers, based in Bristol.

The Year-7 students are Ella May Joseph, Charlie Hall, Tom Lear (Bedminster 

Down); Ella Chamberlain, Matthew Galliford, Maia Angel (Cotham School); Kyle Gaffney, Emily Roberts, Hollie Malin (Merchants’ Academy); and Charlotte Gale, Ewan Shelley and Fergus Pick (Redland Green).

The rigorous selection process concluded with a day on site at Brunel’s ss Great Britain and the Brunel Institute, where students were challenged to work in teams to build their own bridges. Judges chose the ‘Future Brunels’ based on their ability, potential, enthusiasm for science and engineering and a positive attitude to team working – not simply those who achieve the highest marks at school.


The five-year rolling programme, which draws inspiration from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s talents as an engineer, mathematician, artist and designer, 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’ will take part in the programme six times per year with activities at the Brunel Institute, working on real projects with young scientists and engineers and finding innovative solutions to real-world problems. They will have access to sites which bring science and engineering alive. Their first trip is to Thorpe Park Theme Park to learn about the physics and engineering behind designing and maintaining roller coasters.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s Director of Museum and Educational Services Rhian Tritton commented: “The ‘Future Brunels’ programme is designed to inspire the next generation of Brunels by giving them the chance to experience science and engineering in new and exciting ways. Team members responsible for selecting the ‘Future Brunels’ were impressed by the children and their approach, and are looking forward to the next five years, and also seeing how this programme will impact on their careers and scientific and engineering developments over the next decade or so.

“We will work closely with the schools to challenge and develop the pupils to meet the full potential of their creative, technical and practical skills.”

Ms Tritton added: “We are delighted with the support we have received from funders, and especially The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, which is funding ss Great Britain Trust and Brunel Institute educational programmes.”

Other educational work carried out by the ss Great Britain Trust includes school tours and ‘Brunel Badge’ school workshops at Brunel’s ss Great Britain; the ‘Brunel Badge Loan Box Scheme’ for informal education groups and ‘Sea Hear’ storytelling for pre-school children. The ss Great Britain Trust’s educational project covers all ages, and also includes an annual lecture delivered by a leading scientist or engineer.