Buoyed Up 2015 - A Great Success

Between February and June 2015, more than 100 Primary 6 pupils of three Glasgow schools participated in the unique Buoyed Up programme. This was created, organised and funded by the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation.

The primary schools were Saracen in Possilpark, and Chirnsyde and St Monica’s in Milton – areas widely recognised as sites of multiple deprivation. Each school made a commitment to work closely with the Foundation to deliver a challenging, stimulating and unforgettable experience for all of the children.

The other partners pivotal to the success of Buoyed Up 2015 were the Clyde Cruising Club, the Castle Semple Centre at Lochwinnoch, City of Glasgow College, V Ships, the Lord Provost and City of Glasgow, our inspiring guest speakers and, not least, our generous funding partners who made the delivery of the whole programme possible. 

Buoyed Up has six stages.

1. The Lipton Challenge

This is a classroom project on the life and times of Sir Thomas Lipton. The pupils learn about what it means to start a business and be an entrepreneur. They experiment with marketing tea, and learn about their maritime heritage, sea trading routes, and the America’s Cup.

2. World Of Work

The whole Primary 6 class spends half a day in a maritime-related business or educational centre. They have the opportunity to meet people who been at sea for much of their working life. The pupils discover what it is to be a ship’s engineer, or a naval architect, or to work in Finance or Communications. They even meet captains and chief executives of shipping companies.

3. Meet The Skippers

Guest speakers who have achieved a degree of success in their chosen field are invited to have an interactive session with the pupils in the classroom. Each speaker gives an example of the hard work and perseverance they put in to achieve their goal, and answers questions from the pupils.

4. Buoyed Up

The heart of the Buoyed Up programme is five consecutive days of sailing. For most of the pupils it their first experience of being out on the water, and of the blend of independence, teamwork, risk, responsibility, freedom and skill that only sailing can deliver. Participants also benefit hugely from the young sailing instructors, who make the whole week so exhilarating and so much fun.

5. Sail On – The Buoyed Up Awards

The Buoyed Up Awards Reception takes place just before the end of the school year. This year, before receiving their Buoyed Up certificates and awards from the Lord Provost of Glasgow at the City Chambers, pupils from each school gave a short PowerPoint presentation on what they learned from their experience. The presentation, delivered by two pupils, was then followed by the whole class performing a specially created song that they had rehearsed. All of this took place in the presence of nearly two hundred parents and family who had come to support them and celebrate their achievement.

6. The Lipton Challenge Fund

The Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation strives to keep the Buoyed Up momentum going in Primary 7 by giving each partner school a starter fund of £1,000. This is to enable teachers – who know the pupils best – to respond quickly to pupil requests for help with further developing their sailing and other outdoor or learning activities. CASH WILL NOT BE GIVEN TO PUPILS. Pupils and parents are made aware that this is an extension of Buoyed Up and that any help given comes from The Lipton Challenge Fund of the Foundation.

Find out more about Buoyed Up by downloading our Buoyed Update 2015 report.

Buoyed Up Further Information Buoyed Up Further Information (2118 KB)

Buoyed Up Feedback

“That the parliament recognises the achievements of the pupils of Chirnsyde, Saracen and St Monica’s primary schools who have received awards from Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, for their efforts in the Buoyed Up programme organised by the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation; notes that pupils were required to demonstrate their knowledge of Sir Thomas, his life and work, as well as sailing and entrepreneurship, with some experiencing interactive workshops organised by V Ships, while others worked with City of Glasgow College to learn about careers in the maritime industry, and congratulates the young people on their endeavours and all those involved in making the programme such a success.”
Motion lodged by Patricia Ferguson MSP, and passed by the Scottish Parliament, June 2015


“I appreciated the obvious enjoyment and willingness to engage by the pupils in all activities. While the focus of interest was on the deck and engineering opportunities there is a vast number of other trades, not least catering, that can have seagoing options when passenger vessels are taken into account.

“It’s important that the more practical and less academic pupils don’t get the impression the MN is only for the “brainy” folk. Society has a place for us all to contribute as does the MN where the more adventurous get paid to see the world.”

Captain Iain Campbell Marine Lecturer, City Of Glasgow College


“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people who wouldn’t normally get access to the club to take part. We are absolutely delighted to have the pupils here and we hope that some of them will come back.”
Martin Nicol Senior Instructor Clyde Cruising Club


“I want to take the opportunity to thank the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation for the exciting opportunities offered to so many P6 pupils in three of our Glasgow primary schools this session through the ‘Buoyed Up’ project.

“Such significant investment in our children supports our own authority aspirations that young people aim high, develop skills for work and life and have a greater understanding of the link between their learning and the real world beyond the school gates…

“I do hope that we will be able to develop such exciting work with you in future school sessions.”

Maureen McKenna Executive Director of Education, Glasgow City Council, 19 June 2015


“The legacy of Glasgow-born entrepreneur Sir Thomas Lipton can be found in kitchen cupboards across the world. But the Victorian founder of a tea empire is now making an impact of a different kind on the lives of primary pupils in the city.”
Opening of Times Educational Supplement Scotland feature on Buoyed Up, 15 May 2015


“It was an absolutely wonderful experience. The listening skills of the children were fantastic. I can’t even put it into words. When we’re talking about Sir Thomas Lipton, I think that’s so important for the younger generation to learn about people of that stature and what they have done in their life coming, as they did, from a humble background. A big thank you from me for inviting me along here today, I’ve taken so much out of it.”
Tony Fitzpatrick Guest inspiring speaker in the ‘Meet The Skipper’ element of Buoyed Up, speaking immediately after his visit in April 2015. Tony is an author and former St Mirren FC captain and manager


“Their resilience in the difficult weather conditions was so good for the children. It’s been a challenge for them and they have overcome it. You can see how they’ve been able to use all they have learned in the classroom about persevering, determination, resilience and facing new challenges. When they come across something they just apply that here in the sailing. You can just see exactly how they do it. It’s fabulous!”
Sharon Lancaster Primary 6 Teacher, Chirnsyde Primary School


“The sailing was the culmination of months of work by the pupils learning about Sir Thomas Lipton, his life, the grocery business, tea cultivation in Sri Lanka and tea transport. We mustn’t think of the sailing at Bardowie as a sort of reward for working hard over the winter; the sailing is an integrated part of the programme helping demonstrate the practical application of literacy, numeracy, communication and technology as well as developing responsibility and self-confidence.”
Jim Graham, Captain, Dinghy Section, Clyde Cruising Club


“I was particularly impressed by the level of attentiveness of the class. They listened and I was impressed by the kind of questions the pupils asked. It was a pleasure speaking to them and explaining about Jamaica and my own experience.”
Anthony Davis Guest inspiring speaker in the ‘Meet The Skipper’ element of Buoyed Up, speaking immediately after his visit in April 2015. Anthony is a former Jamaican Olympic track athlete.