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Outlook Sunny for Rhu Primary Science Students

12 May 2016
A Clyde-based sailor is helping to inspire a new generation of scientists at a primary school in Argyll and Bute.

Royal Navy meteorologist, Lieutenant Commander Gordon Jones, who teaches oceanography to submariners at HM Naval Base Clyde, teamed up with Rhu Primary School teacher Jacqueline McGill, to win one of ten automatic Met Office weather stations for the school.

Rhu Primary will now feed in real time weather observations into the Met Office’s Weather Observation Website, helping it to improve weather forecasts and warnings across the UK.

“I became aware of the Met Office’s Weather Observation Website (WOW) schools competition through my professional membership of the Royal Meteorological Society,” said Lieutenant Commander Jones.  

We were simply blown away just before Christmas to discover that we had won – we are one of only four schools in Scotland and only ten across the UK to win this special prize.

Jacqueline McGill

“I mentioned it to Mrs McGill, who agreed that increasing the students’ engagement with, and understanding of, the science behind the weather was a great idea.”

Gordon helped the Primary 7 pupils to build and install the weather station, to increase their technical understanding of the equipment and help build their sense of ownership of it. 

He also delivered a lesson on climatology and meteorology to the pupils. 

“Gordon’s expert scientific knowledge helped tremendously with our competition entry,” said Jacqueline McGill. 

“We were simply blown away just before Christmas to discover that we had won – we are one of only four schools in Scotland and only ten across the UK to win this special prize.”

As one of the ten UK winners, Rhu Primary also has access to a dedicated forecaster for their location on the Met Office’s website, generated by the organisation’s new supercomputer, allowing better planning during the winter period.

Rhu Primary School’s weather forecasts can be viewed at:

Argyll and Bute Council is a strong supporter of the Ministry of Defence’s firm base initiative, committed to building strong relationships with members of the UK’s armed forces. 

The Scottish Government has provided nearly £100,000 to directly support the Council’s work in this area – an example being the recruitment of a qualified teacher to work exclusively in support of service children. 

The Council has also produced a dedicated website for service personnel and their families – available at the following link:

Argyll and Bute Council’s Armed Forces and Veterans’ Champion, Councillor Maurice Corry, said:  “We know that as many as 50 percent of our school pupils in the Helensburgh area come from service families. 

“This is a superb example of the high level of co-operation and interdependence that exists between this council and the UK’s armed forces, most notably, of course, the Royal Navy in this area.”

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