Bristol Airport Schools Aviation Days

Added 13th December 2013

Airport Community Fund Report

Report from - The Bristol Initiative Trust / My Future My Choice

£5000 Funding for – Young people to build remote controlled aeroplanes from cardboard that enable them to stage an exciting air-show at their secondary school for their school’s community and compete in regional ‘School’s Aviation Challenge’ at RNAS Yeovilton International Air-Show.

How was the money spent?

Four secondary schools in the noise pollution corridor responded to the opportunity. Workshops were run in these four schools, with volunteer engineers. Free tickets for RNAS Yeovilton Airshow were supplied to the students at schools for 2013 or will be supplied again for 2014.


Number of students

Volunteer Engineers*


Parents /friends/teachers  attending evening show

Nailsea School



13 to 14


Backwell School



13 to 14


Churchill Academy





Chew valley School



14 -15







*Rolls Royce, GKN Aerospace, UWE, ARUP

Number of young people taking part

Volunteer Engineers*


Parents /teachers  attending this event at the Yeoviton Air show

RNAS Yeovilton Visit for families in the 4 schools

90 (estimated 20 from the N, Somerset Schools)


7- 15


(estimated 40 from N. Somerset schools)

All workshops in the schools and the evening performances were very well received. With many parents, teachers and students thanking us (Bristol Airport) for the opportunity. The event was given a high profile by the schools and the teachers went to great efforts to fit the event to students needs and engage parents and target

Head teachers feedback

“Thank you for the fantastic experience you provided at Chew Valley.  The students (and staff!) had an absolutely brilliant time with your volunteers and got a huge amount of enjoyment...and learning... out of the day.  You've helped to provide a lot of inspiration for the pupils involved and the school is extremely grateful. Many thanks for the link to the photo blog.  The enjoyment of the day shines through their faces!

 Teachers feedback

“You have a winning formula for a fantastic event and we would definitely want you back next year”

“Can we have the plans and instruction ?”

Students feedback

“ I though we would do simulators on laptops and show it with a projector but it was very good, hands on and exciting, even better if we could steer the planes outside”.

“It was good to do the formation flying.”

“thoroughly enjoyable I would ‘toats’ do it again.”

Parents feedback

" Thank you for organising the Chew valley School aviation day that my daughter attended. She had initially been daunted by the expectation of 'all day' physics but came away flying high herself from the thrill of designing and then flying their team aircraft. The parents had a very entertaining evening watching the presentation and fly off. An excellent example of making science fun!!"

“She has really enjoyed meeting the engineers, I think she has a better idea of what that could be as a career.”

Variance from original plans

Three of the schools eventually requested the event in the autumn term rather than the summer term. Because of this shift in the time scale only one school completed the event at the time of the Yeovilton Airshow as planned. All schools still received the free tickets for this show and students/schools will also receive free tickets for the 2014 Airshow. This offer of a cheaper family visit to the Airshow was taken up by about 20 of the student’s families, We opted to run a stand- alone competition at Yeovilton which was open to all young people. Winners of this included a student from Nailsea and we were introduced to students / parents  who were looking forward to the event coming to their school.

One school wanted to reach a larger but younger audience (Whole year group) as part of  STEM learning day and requested an activity to suit. This school was not able to stage an evening event as 150 year 7 students were involved, although some students friends and teachers turned out for an impromptu ‘fly off’ and race.

What we learnt and hope to build on in the future

The Bristol Aerospace Centre (formerly Concord Trust) has taken huge interest in the programme and sees it as providing ways of working and resources for the new Aerospace Learning Centre being planned and built with Heritage lottery Funds. The schools involved in this activity through  the Community Fund have been earmarked as potential pilot schools for activity to help design the new centre.

We need to be flexible to school requests – being able to supply pre and post learning materials and have activities that can deal with 30 students on the hour every hour as well as 60 students for the day.

Schools now understand what we offer, want us to return and value the expertise and resources.

Students want even more challenging practical activities and don’t want computer simulations or to be sat down for too long.

Schools and parents enjoy it most when students take ownership of the airshow. Competition is useful but less important than entertaining the audience.

RNAS Yeovilton event should be a stand-alone event rather than an opportunity for inter school competition.

Using model gliders in schools is not enough, students and staff want to explore powered flight.

People report that they like living near the Airport and that they are not really aware of noise pollution, but are very grateful for the funding.

Pictures and more information

The following web links document each event –each tells a different story driven by the schools individual needs.





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