Project information

Space in the Classroom

Supporting teachers to provide exciting lessons based on space, making science, technology, engineering and maths alive and exciting, not just dry and academic, improving students’ motivation and enjoyment, and increasing their opportunities to go into science, maths and technology careers.

Development, pilot, evaluation and set up in 2012; expansion through 2013 and 2014

Charity information

Spacelink Learning Foundation

Spacelink Learning Foundation logo
  • Need


    All pupils now study science within the National Curriculum, but far too few go on to A levels, degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects). We need STEM graduates and career entrants for UK competitiveness, innovation and living standards. Secondary schools find it difficult to recruit and retain STEM subject teachers. Much of the problem has been shown to lie in the content and structure of lesson resources, which is what Spacelink addresses.


    Spacelink will work directly with teachers to provide active support in schools, with members of our teams providing exciting Curriculum Space Days in schools. We will help teachers to use our Curriculum Learning Resources, Fact Sheets, and a dedicated area for teachers on our inspiring website. The project will help teachers to enthuse students, motivating them to use the direct access information, activities and links on our website, and encouraging them to progress into STEM careers.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Pilot active support in schools


    » Test our teacher support model in up to 10 secondary schools

    We will pilot our support in at least 3 schools, with an effective feedback mechanism identifying and addressing strengths and weaknesses in our approach.

    Aim 2

    Develop our model for active support in schools


    » Listen and respond to teacher and student feedback

    We will review pilot results, working with the teachers to refine the model and develop an attractive, soundly based offering to recruit further schools.

    Aim 3

    Expand our programme


    » Implement our model of active support in 10 further secondary schools per year

    We will run our support programme in 10 schools in year 2 with feedback showing teacher satisfaction and increased pupil enthusiasm for STEM subjects.

  • Impact


    Teachers will have increased confidence in using space to teach science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects), and they will have developed mechanisms to share the teaching approach across their schools. Their students will be enthusiastic about STEM subjects and more likely to progress to related higher education and careers. We will evaluate success through a feedback programme comparing results over time and analysing differences before, during and after our support.


    We address the risk of failing to recruit schools by including teachers in our project team and planning, and by using their peer networks to generate interest. We address the risk of failing to raise enough funding by keeping the programme flexible in terms of volume with an incremental approach to project staffing. Our other web based projects and activities will also support this programme by enhancing the support to teachers and increasing awareness.


    News about Spacelink activities is updated regularly on our website and donors may opt in for automatic news alerts. We will also make the results of our regular feedback evaluations of this project available to those donors who wish to receive the information.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £77,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Development & evaluation £2000 yr 1; £1500 per annum yrs 2 & 3
      £72,000 Space Days in schools £400 per Space Day running 2 days per term for 10 schools for 3 years

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Garfield Weston Foundation £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our project is designed to support teachers in schools across the UK, especially those teaching the English Curriculum. The pilot phase is beginning with some Surrey schools but we will roll out across a variety of areas and types of schools through the life of the project.


    Teachers will receive specialist support and tailored resources to teach STEM subjects through space. Secondary school students will benefit from their teachers’ increased confidence and enhanced lesson content and structure. This will increase aspirations and career options for students who may not otherwise have access to such opportunities. We will all benefit from more students being motivated to progress to further education and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Spacelink is led by people who are both passionate about and expert in space, science and education. The project builds on our existing curriculum-based teaching resources and our dynamic website which includes the Helen Sharman Space Club supported by Britain’s first astronaut. This project is led by a teacher, so the needs of schools, teachers and students are at the heart of our planning and implementation.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Robert Coombes

    Robert Coombes leads the project. He is Assistant Head and Curriculum Manager at Broadwater School, a Maths & Computing Specialist School in Surrey.

    Tom Lyons

    Tom Lyons, our programme developer, is an experienced teacher of physics and electronics and is currently Lecturer in Physics at Farnborough College.

    Dr Lucie Green

    Dr Lucie Green, project adviser, works at Mullard Space Science Laboratory and has been taking the science of the Sun into local schools for 12 years.

    Dr Norman White

    Dr Norman White oversees all strategic development and will maintain active oversight of the project.