UK launches National Space Academy
13 Dec 2011
Space is about to touch down in even more classrooms and colleges across the UK, with the launch of the National Space Academy – a network of outstanding teachers and space scientists that will use the inspirational context of space to teach STEM subjects – and geography – to our students and their teachers.
Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Agency
Credit: UK Space Agency
Led by the National Space Centre on behalf of the UK Space Agency, the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the UK Space Education Office (ESERO-UK), and the European Space Agency, the academy will be launched in February 2012 and will be supported by a range of universities, colleges and sponsors.
The National Space Academy’s network of teachers will work with scientists from the University of Leicester, the University of Nottingham and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell, Oxfordshire. They will deliver student masterclasses, teacher CPD (continued professional development) courses, careers events and a bespoke space engineering course at Loughborough College. The first group of 12 teachers will be spread across England.
Inmarsat, VEGA Space, Astrium GEO Information Services, Rolls Royce, Logica, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Ogden Trust have all committed funds to the National Space Academy.
The National Space Academy will work with existing initiatives such as ESERO-UK, the network of Science Learning Centres, STFC’s Leading Space Education Project, the Institute of Physics, and the network of Science and Discovery Centres to improve the attainment of students in secondary schools and colleges.
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:
“Space captures the imagination of people of all ages, and the National Space Academy will use the UK’s world-class expertise in space research and technology to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. This will also equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to boost both our leading research base and our economy.”
Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, Chairman of the National Space Centre’s Board of Trustees, says:
“The National Space Centre is indebted to its partners and sponsors for their drive and enthusiasm in getting the National Space Academy up and running. The three year pilot programme that was run in association with the East Midlands Development Agency was a great success and showed that students respond very positively to the subject of space as a context for their learning. We have evidence of improved attainment in exam results and teacher effectiveness, and a greater likelihood of students choosing science and engineering-related subject at the next stage in their education”.