PPG Chemistry Education Project

PPG LogoPPG Industries are making funding available for over 60 schools to access National Space Academy masterclasses linking the science and engineering of PPG with space science and technology to engage pupils with the science curriculum.

Any school can apply to have a £300 bursary towards the cost of a National Space Academy masterclass, and schools within 10 miles of the PPG manufacturing plants at Birstall and Morley in Yorkshire can apply to have the entire cost of a masterclass covered.


Check out the video below to see the masterclass in action at the National Space Centre and to hear what students and teachers had to say, then scroll down for more information and how to book.



About PPG
PPG is a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and speciality materials with headquarters in Pittsburgh, USA and operations in nearly 70 countries around the world. PPG Architectural Coatings UK Limited has manufacturing plants in Birstall and Morley, West Yorkshire. The Birstall site is one of Europe’s largest manufacturing facilities for Architectural Coatings and is home to leading paint and sundries brands Johnstone's, Leyland and Fat Hog.

PPG has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, for example providing funding, materials and volunteers, as part of its Colourful Communities initiative, to renovate Batley Railway Station in 2016 followed by both Fieldhead Primary and Birstall Primary Academies in 2017. Thanks to this ethos and the enthusiasm of PPG colleagues, the PPG Chemistry Education Project was set up using donations from PPG to create bursaries to enable more schools to access National Space Academy Masterclasses. These classes use space contexts to tackle the curriculum in areas that are key to PPG’s work: colour and materials.

The National Space Academy PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass

The National Space Academy's newest masterclass, created especially for schools accessing the PPG Chemistry Education Project bursaries, will get children investigating the science and engineering challenges of getting payloads safely into space. The course, designed by experienced Academy Lead Educators and teachers of Chemistry and Physics Steve Althorpe and Judith Green, can be adapted for delivery to pupils in years 6, 7, 8 and 9 in England and Wales or equivalent ages in Scotland and Northern Ireland (ages 10/11 -13/14) and is designed to be repeated for up to 3 groups of up to 30 pupils in one day.

Vinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo Slider

Session overview:
Everyone knows what rockets look like, but why are they that distinctive pointy shape? Why are they usually so tall? What do we use rockets for? How are rockets designed to keep payloads - everything from satellites to astronauts - safe when launching them into space? What design problems need to be overcome when launching a rocket through the atmosphere into the vacuum of space? What colour should a rocket be? What should it be made of?

Pupils will discuss these questions, view demonstrations by the National Space Academy Lead Educator leading the session and take part in hands on practical activities to investigate the concepts raised further. All groups will do an investigation into how to protect a thermochromically active surface from a heat source, and older or more able groups may also undertake a follow up investigation on how best to protect a payload from a heat source (subject to ability and time available).


Topics covered will include:

  • How to design, carry out, and evaluate a scientific investigation
  • How to interpret data, look for patterns and errors, and explain these in relation to predictions and hypotheses
  • Measurement and SI units
  • Properties of materials
  • Chemical reactions, (exothermic and endothermic - qualitative)
  • Combustion, thermal decomposition
  • An introduction to infrared radiation and the EM spectrum

Vinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo Slider

If you would like to apply for a bursary towards a PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass at your school please fill out the application form below – and please note the following information:


  • The masterclass can include up to 3 sessions in one day with up to 30 students in each session.
  • Each session lasts 1.5 hours and links to the curriculum in science with a focus on chemistry.
  • The masterclass is for students from ONE year group at a time (eg year groups cannot be combined for sessions).
  • The school must provide an appropriate classroom or laboratory space for the sessions.
  • The school must ensure that a teacher from the school is present throughout each of the sessions.
  • The usual cost for a National Space Academy masterclass comprised of multiple short sessions is £420 + VAT + travel costs for the Lead Educator at secondary level (£550 + VAT + travel costs for the Lead Educator at primary level). The PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclasses will be charged at £420 + VAT for both primary and secondary level with a £300 bursary applied from the funding provided by PPG Industries. This means that the cost to the school will be £120 + VAT + travel costs for the Lead Educators (local Lead Educators will be used). A full list of National Space Academy prices is available here.
  • All schools are eligible to apply for bursary funding of £300 towards the cost of a PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass.
  • Schools within 10 miles of the PPG manufacturing sites in Birstall and Morley will be able to apply for funding to cover the full cost including Lead Educator travel.
  • PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclasses are subject to the National Space Academy’s usual terms and conditions which can be seen here.
  • Each school may only apply once for the PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass in the academic year 2016/2017


Apply for the PPG Chemistry Education Project with the National Space Academy by completing the form below:


PPG LogoLeyland LogoJohnstones Logo

Photos courtesy of PPG UK Limited, www.ppg.com

Thanks to sponsorship from PPG we are offering £300 bursaries for schools towards one of our Masterclasses for 10 - 14 year olds - find out more here.