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The Worshipful Company of Horners

These are the Charitable Activities that we support primarily for Education, preferably in the STEM subjects, that is Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics.


Our  charitable funds are divided between the General Fund and the larger Education Fund, the income from which is used to support educational projects. This process is managed by the Education Charitable Committee, reporting to the Trustees.

Company policy has been to select for support educational projects which are science (and preferably plastics) related and which have a national significance, making a lasting difference to a substantial number of students. Such projects will frequently involve partnership with other contributors.

The Committee reports to the Trustees of the Horners’ Charitable Funds

We would be pleased to receive information on new educational projects of relevance to our core interests of science education and the polymer/plastics industry. Brief information on new projects, preferably with a national impact, should in the first instance be sent to the Clerk to the Horners Company



The 26th Ralph Anderson Lecture

Iron or Plastic – is that really the Question?

Once again, the annual Ralph Anderson Lecture took place on Thursday 16th November at the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street.

This year, the Lecture was given by David Nicholls RSS, AWCF, RJF, LSHMC, CBT, CFP, CLS, Cert Euro Farrier, Master Farrier

He spoke of how two distinctly different industries farriery and plastics have grown together for the betterment of a horse’s wellbeing

Farriery, or the shoeing of horses, is an ancient craft, believed to have been practised first in the Roman Empire.

A farrier is a skilled craftsperson with a sound knowledge of both theory and practice of the craft, capable of shoeing all types of equine feet, whether normal or defective, of making shoes to suit all types of work and working conditions, and of devising corrective measures to compensate for faulty limb action.

David  shared his extensive experience from the last two decades  two distinctly different industries farriery and plastics have grown together for the betterment of a horse’s wellbeing.

page1image9822752 Having recognised the fact that the iron horseshoe produces a vast range of negative consequences in the equine world, he imparted how plastics are contributing to ‘hoof mechanics’ aiding how the horn capsule interacts with the horse’s natural motion.

Does there exists a need for a lightweight, shock absorbent, abrasion resistant, partially flexible horseshoe that will provide therapeutic advantages to the horse? David  explained all in this in his insightful lecture.

The SALTERS’ HORNERS’ ADVANCED PHYSICS  (SHAP) was launched in 1998 in partnership with the Salters Company.

Salters’-Horners’-A-Level-Physics [SHAP] is one of the longest of the Horners’ Company’s education initiatives. The original programme partnered with the Worshipful Company of Salters financed the creation of a new A-level Physics syllabus employing context-teaching, that links applications to the basic physics. It led to a long association with York University, now through the University of York Science Education Group [UYSEG], and through successive Professors David Waddington, Sir John Holman and Judith Bennett. The Horners supported Freeman Dr Liz Swinbank in “servicing” SHAP for many years and then rewriting the syllabus over a decade ago. Since then, the Company has sponsored a spin-off, Best Evidence Science Teaching [BEST], a tool advising science teachers on modern methods, and the Horners are currently in discussions on introducing context-led teaching into junior schools.

Dr Swinbank has now retired and we no longer give continuous support to SHAP. However, our interest is maintained in the annual awards for achievement by those employing the SHAP syllabus. The impressive ceremony is held at the Salters Hall where each winner receives a financial prize from the Salters’ Institute and an ornamental drinking horn from the Horners’ Company.

There are usually 3-4 recipients, but in 2022, 8 winners each achieved the remarkable maximum score of 600 marks. The Master presented the horns, and were joined at the ceremony on December 2nd, by the Clerk and Assistant Clive Thompson who met the 5 winners able to attend on the day. Each winner will be offered Associate Membership of the Company.

These are the 2022 Winners:

Thomas Burke – Reigate College

Kieran Cranley – The Royal Grammar School

Reuben Glenville – Bedford School

Andrew Mariott – Wirral Grammar School for boys

Michael Pinnock – City of London Freemen’s School


The other winners who were unable to attend the Ceremony were:

Alexandre Peuch – Abingdon School

Joshua Rodrigues – Abingdon School

Nicholas Crossley – Highams Park School


The Horners  have supported  Number Champions since 2018 to help children in state primary schools who had fallen behind in maths, through providing imaginative one-to-one support from trained volunteers.

Numeracy, like literacy, is a vital skill for life, and children who do not ‘get maths’ at the start of their schooling risk never catching up. Personal support over a year from a sympathetic adult can help a child engage in the subject and gain confidence in their own ability, and – as they have seen in comments from teachers – can lead to notably improved involvement in class.

In the past school year they have partnered with 29 schools across 12 London boroughs, and have had about 100 volunteers supporting over 250 children. Teachers’ evaluations show a recognisable improvement in children’s confidence and skills in maths over the year.

About 27% of London primary school children receive ‘Pupil Premium’ funding in recognition that they are from disadvantaged backgrounds. For children (selected by teachers as being most in need of support) the figure is over 50%, illustrating that lack of numeracy is disproportionally a barrier for disadvantaged children.

Numbers Champions continue to grow organically, aiming to build a presence first across London and then wider afield, so that they can help progressively more children to succeed.

They are grateful to the Horners Charity for supporting Number Champions in its very early days and for our continued support and encouragement. They raise a quarter of their funds from schools and the rest from donors such as us. And if any individual Horner is interested in volunteering with them, they would be delighted to hear from him/her – as well as being important for the child, volunteering is fun!

They can be contacted at:

Polymer Study Tours

Polymer Study Tours are run by the Horners’ as residential courses for Teachers to learn about the Polymer Industry for the benefit of both themselves and their pupils. Delegates receive a Certificate of Professional Development,.

They are designed to improve the delegate’s subject knowledge, provide suggestions for practical activities and give 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, and they are open to practising 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 delegates will make long lasting connections with their colleagues and the invited speakers.  The sessions will all be delivered by experts from industry and academia and the Tours will include a crucial final session, led by a practicing teacher, looking at how they can use the content from the course in classroom teaching.  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.  All delegates will receive a comprehensive resource pack following the event,


In  November, our Renter Warden Rebecca Joyce had great pleasure in attending the Polymer Study Tour kindly hosted by WHS Plastics in Warwickshire and organised by Diane Aston, Head of Education and Professional Development at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and funded by The Horners Charity Fund.
This tour gave secondary and sixth form teachers experience of real production environments and invaluable insight into polymers and the different design, application and production processes as well as the environmental and sustainability benefits of the appropriate application of polymers. Rebecca was surprised to discover that the use of polymers forms a larger part of the curriculum for Design and Technology than Chemistry.
Teachers were also provided with practical ideas for engaging students and demonstrating polymers in the classroom. The photos show participants making an object from composite materials – in this case making a rectangular container from fibreglass and resins.
A second Tour also took place in East Yorkshire, hosted by Bericap.
Three tours are scheduled for 2024, in Scotland, Warwickshire and East Yorkshire.

This is a project aimed at persuading more children to embark upon a science based career.

The basis of the Project was research which found that junior school children like doing science at school, but by the early years in secondary school, about three quarters have decided that they do not want to be a scientist. The Science Open Doors Team concluded that the main reason for this change was influence from parents and schools at age 10 to peer groups and the media at age 14. Accordingly Science Open Doors focuses on 9-10 year olds and their parents.

The Project team also discerned that this is because they and their parents and teachers are unaware of what scientists do. This lack of knowledge is serious because the UK alone needs 820,000 more science qualified people in the next decade. Also of the 5.8 million people employed with science and mathematics qualifications, only 20% of them are pure scientists, the remainder are employed in engineering, health, education, manufacture, banking and many more industries. Thus Science Opens Doors aims to promote careers from science while promoting the study of science and mathematics.

The Project aims to access the prime influencers of junior school children, their parents and teachers, and brings them together with the children in the classroom with a science agenda.

Over 60 visits have been made to Junior Schools, mainly in the London area, to average audiences of 35 students and 25 parents/carers covering very diverse audiences. The learn how science is important in all of our lives and, how vital it is in solving the world’s problems. They then carry out some science-based activities.  Questionnaires completed separately by children and adults show universal approval for both the events and the messages about careers from science. Finally, they take away leaflets packed with information about science and careers.

Here is a typical brochure as handed out at school visits:

Fantastic Plastic – Destroyer or Saviour of our planet?

What do you think?

Here is a video based on the highly successful ‘Fantastic Plastics’ delivered by Professor Averil Macdonald OBE which is sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Horners with support from The Science & Technology Facilities Council and Manchester Polymer Group.

It will take you on a journey through the misconceptions and evidence of plastics, which will enable you to gain a more informed opinion when asked ‘should we ban plastic?’

Prof Averil Macdonald has given a series of lectures on Plastics which have enthused students over the years.

Two of her other lectures can be seen below and give some idea of the passion involved in a fast developing industry where the UK is at the forefront of technology.


Education in Chemistry is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s magazine for secondary school chemistry and science teachers. It provides free articles and teaching resources to teachers across the UK and Ireland, and with support from the Horners’ they have produced an article examining the use of plastics for home insulation, with classroom activities for the 14–18 age range.

The article provides chemistry teachers with context for their lessons on addition and condensation polymerisation, as well as recycling, life cycle assessment and sustainability. Teachers can use the classroom activities with their 14–16 year-old learners to evaluate the recycling of plastics and with 16–18 students to practise applying their knowledge of polymerisation to an unfamiliar context. The article and activities are relevant to all curriculums for the 14–18 age groups across the UK and Ireland, providing teachers with ready-to-go resources for their teaching.