PPG has partnered with the National Space Academy to inspire young people to pursue STEM and space-sector careers through a series of chemistry masterclasses.


To launch the programme, PPG hosted an exclusive preview event at its UK manufacturing facility in Birstall on 3rd February. Local schools were invited to the taster session, where they conducted experiments and learnt about the key role colour plays in space exploration. Experiments included ‘How to survive re-entry’, where pupils created their own thermal protection units to understand how space crafts are designed to withstand high temperatures at extreme speeds.


Aimed at school years six to nine, the PPG-sponsored, Academy masterclasses have been designed to give key stage two and three students a unique look at colour and material in the context of space. The new masterclasses will be delivered by the Academy’s 25-strong team of expert science teachers from across the UK.


50 partially-funded sessions are up for grabs for schools throughout the UK & Ireland who are interested in bringing the Academy masterclasses to their pupils. An additional 10 fully-funded sessions are available on a first come first served basis for education providers within a 10 mile radius of PPG’s manufacturing facilities in Birstall and Morley.

The masterclasses will feature a number of practical experiments to help students understand why certain colours are used most frequently in space projects, and be able to answer questions like: ‘Why are NASA’s rockets painted white?”. Through the link with PPG, pupils will get the opportunity to make their own paints and test them to see how different colours absorb heat radiation.


Paul Dowie, HR Director at PPG, said: “Engaging children in STEM subjects at an early age is essential to building a skilled workforce in years to come. But this isn’t just down to educators, businesses can also do their part in making students more aware of the opportunities available to those who pursue STEM-based learning.


“Teaming up with the National Space Academy to create these chemistry masterclasses means we can bring to life the scientific principles students study in school and textbooks through practical, exciting demonstrations within the context of something as stimulating as space travel.”


Andy McMurray, Head of Teaching and Learning at the National Space Academy, added: “It’s incredible how much of UK industry is involved in the space sector so we want to raise awareness of the diversity of these opportunities for all young people. Partnering with a leading brand like PPG provides great commercial context to the science we are teaching and shows pupils how chemistry works outside the classroom.”


To register your school’s interest in the new PPG sponsored, Academy masterclasses, visit: nationalspaceacademy.org/ppg




3 March 2017


The country’s largest educational furniture manufacturer, British Thornton, has launched the UK’s first full range of antibacterial furniture into the highly competitive nursery market, which is worth over £4.9bn a year.


Created specifically with nursery environments in mind, the new trudy nursery range has been designed to meet requirements highlighted by nursery managers, while allowing children to enjoy learning and interaction. This includes the use of solid, natural materials, minimal colour and designs that emphasise imaginative play.


The new range builds on the success of British Thornton’s existing trudy brand, which was first launched in 2008 and boasts annual sales figures of around £3m. This latest addition to the trudy portfolio follows on from the introduction of a fixed furniture range launched in early 2016.


A pioneering feature of the range is its child friendly anti-bacterial coating, a surface treatment with powerful properties that prevent bacteria from living on the surface of panels, vastly reducing the bacterial count. As nursery age children are particularly susceptible to illness this key feature, the first of its kind on a full range of educational furniture in the UK, is expected to reduce the spreading of germs in the classroom.


In addition, flexibility is a key focus of the new product, with the range featuring an innovative ‘nut and bolt’ linking mechanism which allows nursery staff to quickly and easily alter the configuration of the modular system – a unique feature that prevents the use of excessive and expensive plastics. For additional safety, there are no trap-points and all edges are smooth and rounded.


To ensure the new range would be a hit with youngsters, the company appointed a group of three and four year olds as official product testers – or ‘trudy testers’ – to put it through its paces. The children were let loose with the furniture in June 2016 and encouraged to voice their opinions ahead of the range’s final development stage.


Jonathan Clark, Product Design Director at British Thornton, said: “Trudy nursery is a major expansion for our company. Despite the popularity of the existing trudy range in primary schools, we noticed that the furniture was not being incorporated into any nursery areas. After looking into this we discovered that nurseries prized furniture made of solid, natural materials with extended warranties – perhaps due to the strain classes of toddlers can put on it!”


Unsurprisingly, the furniture range has been designed to fit in with the everyday needs of nurseries. On the design, Clark commented: “Nurseries need flexibility. Children at that age have rapid fire imaginations and nursery staff have to work hard to keep up with them – we just wanted to give staff another tool to help them out. The nut and bolt linking device we pioneered for this range means it’s extremely easy for staff to quickly change the layout of a room – into a space station, a pirate ship or anything else that kids can imagine.”


The trudy range has already made a name for itself over the past eight years, selling around 66,000 units per annum, with its innovative pupil-centric design winning admirers across the UK.


Gerard Toplass, CEO of British Thornton, said: “Trudy furniture has long been a flagship offering for the company and we’re very proud of the excellent reception it has received from schools across the UK. We were very keen to expand our offering to include a suite of products specifically designed for nursery children and our design team has worked tirelessly to bring this to life.


“It’s safe to say that we’ve all been blown away by the result – the quality of the craftsmanship is second to none and we feel this will really fit with what nursery managers are currently looking for. We can’t wait to see the furniture in nurseries up and down the country.”


British Thornton is expected to post a turnover of £35m in 2018, marking a 40 per cent increase on 2015’s figures of £25m.

For further information visit http://trudy.co.uk/nursery/