The Polymer Study Tours are FREE, two-day, residential courses for 11-19 design technology teachers designed to improve subject knowledge relating to polymers, provide ideas for practical teaching and give an insight into the plastics industry.
The Polymer Study Tours give you first hand experience of the polymer industry in action. They are a careful blend of lectures, practical sessions using readily available resources to demonstrate key polymer-related concepts, industry tours, and discussion opportunities based on detailed information sent out beforehand. We have liaised closely with Design & Technology teachers when devising the programme so that it links closely with the polymer topics in the 11 to 18 curriculum.
The Polymer Study Tours are open to practicing and trainee teachers from all regions of the UK. The residential aspect provides the ideal opportunity to network with other like-minded teachers from across the country and we hope that you will make long lasting connections with your colleagues and the invited speakers.
The sessions are all delivered by experts from industry and academia and the Tours include a crucial final session, led by a practicing teacher, looking at how you can use the content from the course in your classroom teaching.
The first and possibly most important things are a sense of humour and curiosity! We want you to have a good time on the course so please come with an open mind and be prepared to get involved. The opportunity to meet and chat with fellow teachers from around the country is often cited as one of the most valuable aspects of the course.
With regards to your attire we want you to be comfy but sensible! The presentations will be in a conference/lecture room but we will also be doing practical work . We recommend enclosed sensible shoes on both days and safety shoes are useful if you have them. Other safety clothing such as high-vis jackets, spectacles or lab coats will be provided when they are needed.
A picture tells a thousand words, so you are very welcome to take as many photographs as you like during the presentations and practical sessions. However, photography may be limited on the visits. If in doubt, please ask!
We will be taking photographs throughout the course too. Please let us know if you do not wish to be in these as they may be used in future web-based or printed publicity material.
The short answer to this is yes! We will be sending out some electronic literature for you to read through and digest prior to the course. As we only have two days we didn’t want to waste time forcing you to endure death by Power Point! We thought it would be more useful to have discussion sessions on the materials you have read in advance and then get on with some practical work.
You will receive a delegate pack during the course and a memory stick of all the presentations and practicals after the course. We are also hoping to be able to send you a way with a tray (a Gratnell’s one so it will fit in your existing storage!) of samples for you to use to enrich your lessons.
Through very generous sponsorship we are able to offer everyone a contribution of up to £250 towards cover or travel costs. Details of how to claim this will be handed out on the course.
Where's the catch? How do you manage to make such a fantastic course available to teachers for free?
The Polymer Study Tours have been running since 1987 and over the years the industry has seen firsthand the importance of supporting teachers in educating their employees of the future. The courses cost around £650 per delegate to put on but we are lucky that this is entirely funded through sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Horners’ and the UK Plastics Industry. We want you to go away having had an amazing time finding out about plastics so that you can go away and pass on your enthusiasm to the young people that you teach.
Organising and running the Polymer Study Tours is a great team effort! The Tours are organised by a Steering Group comprised representatives from:
- Worshipful Company of Horners who chair the group and are the primary sponsor
- The British Plastics Federation who look after sponsors and financial administration
- The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining who look after course administration, publicity and teacher registrations.
A few words from teachers that have attended a Tour
"I feel it is vital that I am able to use real-world examples of the polymers that I teach. The site visit was a great way to bring both the science and design aspects of the plastics industry together, in a way that has deepened my understanding of the subject."
"The course exceeded my expectations by far and I am confident is going to transform my teaching of the subject. The course was incredibly well designed and paced with a packed and diverse agenda, all of it interesting."