Fowey Community College is offering GCSE Astronomy to its Year 9 & 10 students from September 2012. The course is the brainchild of Science teacher Aaron Barrett who has an interest in commercial access to space and the emerging science of Astrobiology.
He says: “Many students are very excited about this opportunity. Our students pass through education at a time in their lives when they are interested in space. This course takes that interest and develops it further, and in doing so it will stretch students intellectually, developing their skills in Maths and Science. The course takes two years and involves two practical assignments and an exam.”
He adds: “It is a largely unknown fact that the space industry in the UK currently employs 20,000 people and has an annual turnover of £7 billion per year. In the future we can expect to see new ventures in space tourism and other commercial space activities which will provide opportunities for those with an understanding of space science.”
The school will be fundraising to buy the essential equipment and is keen to hear from anyone in the community who may be able to donate or lend some of the essential equipment required. We have already been in receipt of a very kind donation of a telescope from an astronomer based in Newquay.
The Science faculty will be sourcing a hydrogen alpha telescope to look at the sun, a 6” reflector telescope to look at the moon and stars and a radio telescope kit to pick up radio emissions from Jupiter. Mr Barrett says: “If anyone in the local community has extensive knowledge of astronomy or engineering for space, they would be most welcome as visiting speakers.”