This summer term has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding time for the National Space Academy, with the team not only growing in number and expanding into new regions but also the reach and impact of the Space Academy being felt more than ever across schools, business and education organisations throughout the UK. 

Owing to the success of last year’s Megaclass, the National Space Academy were invited back to run our biggest masterclass yet at the South West Regional Big Bang Fair. Andy McMurray (Head of Teaching and Learning) and Sophie Allan (Lead Physics Teacher) delivered back to back masterclasses to over 1000 students. The students, assisted by local STEM Ambassadors and A-Level students, took part in simple scientific experiments with big implications, such as using glow sticks to observe how temperature affects reaction rates (see picture).

Teacher training continues to be a main focus for the Academy, with Andy also delivering an excellent showcase event at @Bristol and Sophie delivering, part of a three day CPD session for 27 teachers devoted to new European Space Agency GAIA mission developed by STFC and ESERO-UK, with the emphasis on highlighting the UK’s involvement in this project which will map the stars in the Milky Way.

The work and achievements of the National Space Academy have been clearly recognised by the support and enthusiasm it has received from many organisations; however, the Academy can now count the Queen as a supporter since Project Director Anu Ojha has recently been awarded an OBE for services to the Science Community.

The first cohort of the Space Engineering Level 3 Course were celebrated in an evening of awards and congratulations, and our now preparing for the next step in their education. As it is also time for preparations to begin for the next intake of students, the Academy are also pleased to support the opening in September of Space Studio Banbury, led by the new Principle and former National Space Academy Lead Educator Mike Grocott.

The National Space Academy continues to work closely with its partnership organisations, including ESERO-UK, who invited Academy Lead Educators to present three parallel sessions on Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at their teacher CPD meeting hosted by Farnborough Sixth Form College.  

The Academy has worked closely with the UK Space Agency throughout the year, including time at the Farnborough Airshow and an annual scouts and guides gathering. The Academy has also developed, through the filling of the Regional Project Officer post, closer ties with the Satellite Applications Catapult, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and RAL Space.

This summer also saw Year 10 careers events hosted at the National Space Centre on the 16th and 30th June, bringing over 200 students into contact with space scientists and engineers to discuss careers in the sector. Similar careers events were also supported by the Academy in the North East for the first time, collaborating with the Ashington Learning Partnership and organisations in host city Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. This summer has also been exciting in terms of core team development, and the Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of new Lead Educator posts in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as a new southern Regional Project Manager, Christopher Duff.

New profiles will be added to the website in due course. The Academy would like to welcome all newcomers to the team, and to say thank you to all our Lead Educators for an excellent academic year, as well as all of the organisations we have worked with across the country. Keep checking back for more in depth updates on the Academy’s recent activity as we reflect on past events throughout August and get prepared for the new term in September.