3,089 children from 36 Glasgow primary schools were successful in the record attempt, smashing the existing one held by the Health Protection Agency in England of 2,147 children from 21 schools from across the UK.

In March last year, Glasgow City of Science coordinated the attempt which saw thousands of primary schoolchildren take part in a simultaneous lesson at Glasgow Science Centre or via a live link up from their schools. Led by 160 student nurses from Glasgow Caledonian University, the 40-minute lesson showed pupils that good hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Pupils were introduced to the science of common microbes using versions knitted and donated by members of the public from all around the world and learned how far a sneeze can travel using a ‘snot runway’.

Professor Tracey Howe, deputy chair of Glasgow City of Science said:

“We are delighted that we have been successful in our record attempt and I would like to thank all the pupils, teachers and volunteers who helped us make it such a success.

It was important for us to leave a legacy in all schools and funding from the Scottish Government Health Directorate allowed us to provide all participating schools with a pack containing everything they would need to enable every child in their school to undertake the lesson each year. Thanks to this project, thousands of school children have a better understanding of good hand hygiene.”

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn joined some record-breaking pupils at a celebration event at Glasgow Science Centre where he collected an official Guinness World Record certificate on behalf of the Scottish Government:

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, said:

“I am delighted to have been asked to participate in today’s celebratory event to mark the hand hygiene world record. Tackling and reducing infection in our hospitals and the wider community is a top priority for this Government.

“It is vitally important that all children are made aware of the importance and benefits of washing their hands properly and by encouraging them to do so, it will ensure this practice becomes a lifelong habit. We would encourage all children to pass on everything they have learned to their families and friends to spread the word.

“On behalf of my Ministerial Colleagues and the Scottish Government, I would like to congratulate all the children and organisations who were involved in this project. This world-breaking record has been a fantastic achievement demonstrating again that Scotland leads the way in reducing infections. Today’s award is very well deserved.”

The Glasgow City of Science partnership brings a diverse grouping of over 60 organisations together, from business to government, education and the arts, to work collaboratively on high profile, creative, projects that will raise the profile of Glasgow and the West as a world-class science destination. Several partners including Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University, NHS Scotland and the Health Protection Scotland worked hand in hand to organise the event.

Stephen Breslin, CEO of Glasgow Science Centre, said:

“It is fantastic that the hand hygiene project will continue to teach children the significance behind washing their hands and the science behind the germs and bugs that could be living there.

This project is a great example of how organisations can come together to help people learn some of the basics of science that will make a big difference in their day-to-day lives. We are actively expanding our collaborative working at the Centre and we are very excited about the opportunities our new partners can bring.”

Professor Jacqui Reilly, Lead consultant, Health Protection Scotland said:

“Hand hygiene is the most important measure we can all take to reduce risk of illness from infections and viruses. Learning when to do hand hygiene, such as before preparing food and after visiting the toilet, together with the correct technique to do it, protects health for a lifetime. HPS is coordinating the implementation of the e bug programme containing the hand hygiene lesson across the whole of Scotland to this end. The programme includes the correct technique for hand hygiene which is based on evidence from research carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University.”


For more information, please contact Peter Carroll at the BIG Partnership

Watch and share the celebration song from some of the Glasgow Primary School pupils who participated:

Notes to Editors:

  • Schoolchildren from Lourdes Primary School, St George’s Primary School, Broomhill Primary School, Pirie Park Primary School, Mosspark Primary School and St Angela’s Primary School in Glasgow attended the celebration event.

About Glasgow City of Science:

Glasgow City of Science is an pioneering, multi-disciplinary partnership of over 60 organisations that aims to promote science and innovation in the Glasgow city region. Boosting STEM skills and jobs to leverage sustainable economic growth is a key objective of the partnership.


About Glasgow Science Centre:

Glasgow Science Centre is a five-star visitor attraction that presents science and technology concepts in unique and inspiring ways. During 2013-14 financial year, the Science Centre had its busiest year to date as it welcomed 305,485 admissions to the Science Mall. As an educational charity, Glasgow Science Centre provides a curriculum-aligned education programme to more than 100,000 Scottish schoolchildren each year.


Our Demonstrtor Project: World record attempt for hand hygiene lesson