We achieved our first ever prestigious Space Education Quality Mark (Spacemark) award in the summer of 2019 when we were awarded the silver level for the quality and quantity of our learning in space science.
The Space Education Quality Mark (SEQM) is run by the European Space Education Resources Office in the U.K. (ESERO-UK), part of the European Space Agency. Space is an inspiring and exciting context in which to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and one of the long term goals of ESERO-UK is to ensure a future pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic young people into STEM subjects.
The aims of SEQM Spacemark include raising the profile of STEM subjects in schools, encouraging innovation and creativity in the education of STEM in schools whilst supporting and celebrating excellence in space science. Once awarded the SEQM award, schools are encouraged and supported to build on the work they have achieved – motivating and enthusing teachers to enhance and develop their schools’ STEM offer.
Every year group in Stillness Infant School were involved in the quality and quantity of work that helped to achieve our silver Spacemark award. Whole school events included participating in a global rocket launch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, a space themed dress up day and a very successful ‘Moon Week’ that included the loan of lunar rocks and meteorites courtesy of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Our art room was converted into the ‘Moon Room’ to display the lunar samples together with info boards on the history of space exploration and the features of the Moon whilst lap tops tracked the International Space Station in real time. Other activities during Moon Week included experiments, space discos, small world activities, ‘moonfullness’ (mindfullness with a space theme), rocket launching and a family evening event to visit the ‘Moon Room.’
Every year, Year 2 have a space based topic called ‘To Infinity and Beyond’ where the pupils learn about the history of man’s exploration of space, the Moon and the planets. They take part in ‘astronaut training school’, explore life in space via experiments and discussions and have a themed dress up day. Once a week during this topic, one of our teaching assistants runs a special lunchtime club for Year 2 children to play games, read books and enjoy colouring sheets – all space themed.
Reception enjoy a space week within their ‘On The Move’ transport topic. The children have a space dress up day, play in ‘rocket’ role play areas and using space themed maths and writing materials. An ‘astronaut training day’ includes a Lego building challenge and an obstacle course and is always great fun.
Our Science Lead has developed and increased our STEM and space science as well as increasing the amount of STEM visitors to the school. Teaching staff regularly create specific resources for their year groups as well as using resources from ESA, NASA and other organisations. As a school, we take part in British Science Week every year that in the past has included space science activities such as rocket launching or experiments with materials.
Our after school Science Club offers space based activities on subjects such as the Moon, the planets, gravity and rockets.
Our second SEQM silver Spacemark was awarded in January 2023 and is valid for three years.