Welcome to the Polar Explorer Programme

The Polar Explorer programme encourages and supports schools who are keen to raise aspirations and attainment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Whether you are a school, educator or potential Polar Ambassador, discover free resources, further information about the programme and how to get involved.

Impact survey responses show 100% of teachers involved in the PEP agree pupil enjoyment and engagement in STEM subject lessons increased, with 68% of teachers stating this was to a great extent.

Further analysis shows that 100% of teachers agree engagement with the PEP led to increases in pupils’ confidence in learning science and in scientific enquiry skills.*

*Interim Impact Report – Polar Explorer Programme 2017/18

About the Polar Explorer programme

In 2014, the Government announced a £200 million investment for a new polar research ship. The RRS Sir David Attenborough will enable world-leading research in Antarctica and the Arctic for the next 25 years.

Fully equipped with the latest instrumentation for carrying out research, this vessel will have improved ice-strengthened capability and greater endurance over existing polar research vessels. This will enable scientists and technicians to stay at sea for longer and study the polar environments during the Antarctic and Arctic summer months. 

A state-of-the-art robotic subsea vehicle, Boaty McBoatface, will be on board RRS Sir David Attenborough and will allow scientists to gather data remotely from places where humans are unable to go.

With funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) we are using the build, launch and operation of RRS Sir David Attenborough to bring an exciting new context to the teaching of STEM subjects.

Schools will gain the support of a Polar Ambassador, a specially selected STEM professional, who will help to enrich the teaching of STEM subjects in primary schools.