• Abbey College, Abbey Road, Hollow Lane, Ramsey Cambridgeshire PE26 1DG

Trials have taken place at Nene Valley Gliding Club to find the fifth annual gliding scholars.

The gliding club have teamed up again with local academy Abbey College to offer gliding scholarships to students aged fourteen plus. The scheme, which has been running successfully since 2013, was the first scheme of its kind to be offered in the UK.

This year, eight students trialled for the scholarship which involved flying above the confines of the Nene Valley Gliding Club, which is situated in Ramsey Heights, and all were successful in being offered a scholarship place.

Andy Christoforou, head teacher, said: “The scholarship scheme is a very exciting opportunity that is a real benefit to the school and the local community. Less than ten thousand people are qualified to glide in the UK so this gives our students a unique opportunity to learn a rare skill.

“Abbey College are committed to nurturing well-rounded students, and this is just one of the ways that the students are exposed to extra-curricular activities. It is brilliant to hear all the students who applied have been offered places.”

James Thomas, student at Abbey College and participant in the Gliding Scholarship last year, said: “The gliding scholarship was a fantastic opportunity and is definitely one of the best things I have ever done! My first solo flight was very exciting and it is a very proud moment when you realise that you are 2000 feet in the air and fully in control of your flight. I eventually wish to become an instructor at Nene Valley Gliding Club after gaining my light aircraft pilot's license.”

Gliding involves flying an unpowered aircraft which relies on the naturally occurring currents of air that birds use to fly. Using these invisible currents of air known as ‘lift’, gliders can soar to great heights and travel vast distances reaching average speeds of over 100 miles per hour.

The scholarship lessons will take place on the weekends and scholarship students will also be allocated a mentor.

Nene Valley Gliding Club will also be collaborating with the academy this year on other projects, such as completing an embryonic flight simulator and working on engineering design and manufacturing projects. The club will also help the A-Level engineering students with their studies.