Academy exploring final frontier

Headteacher Mike Grocott

Headteacher Mike Grocott

First published in News

PUPILS caught a glimpse of the future when they looked around the UK’s first space academy in Banbury.

More than 70 students attended induction days this week at Banbury Academy in Ruskin Road to get to know their new teachers and classmates and take part in robotic challenges.

The Space Studio Banbury academy, which shares a site with Banbury Academy, will specialise in teaching STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – to pupils aged 14 to 18.

Headteacher Mike Grocott, who helped found the academy, said the schools aim is to encourage pupils to pursue careers in the space industry.

He told pupils during their visit on Thursday: “When everyone thinks of space they just think of astronauts, but there is so much more than that, such as engineers and designers.

“The UK is a growing space industry, we will have 10 per cent of the growth in the next 10 years.

“We are not selective, as long as students have a passion for science and maths they can come.

“The students we have here could go on to change the world.”

So far 77 pupils have signed up to study in the autumn and Mr Grocott said they had space for around 300 pupils.

Despite studying specialised subjects students will follow the national curriculum and gain GCSE and A-level qualifications.

They will also study English Literature, English Language and a foreign language.

Students will learn via “project based learning”, he said, showing how science is applicable to the real world.

Head of science Hayley Flood said: “It is a wonderful thing for the students to be able to do.

“[Science] It is the ultimate question really, to find out where we come from and where we are going.

“It has been a lovely couple of days getting to know everyone one, they have been really great.”

So far the pupil ratio of the new academy is approximately 80 per cent boys and both Mr Grocott and Miss Flood want to encourage more female students to the school.

Miss Flood said: “There are lots of women doing amazing things in science and it is our job to expose them to that so that they know.

“There are plenty of role models out there.”

Banbury Cake:

Matthew Heaton-Biggs, left, and Feng Zhong build a robot watched by head of science Hayley Flood

Bryony Clifton, 14, currently studying at Banbury Academy, will start at the Space Academy in September. She said: “I thought the courses seemed interesting and it will help me when I apply for university.”

The academy will open on September 3.

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