North East school children get ready to lift off for World Space Week

Children across the North East are looking forward to participating in events and activities next week during World Space Week.

Hundreds of schools, colleges and youth community groups across our region will be learning about the wonders of space and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning.

On Thursday (8 October), STEM Ambassador Hub North East, which is run by RTC North, has organised a virtual STEMFest in Space event where young people will be able to learn from the comfort of their own classrooms or at home, and interact with STEM Ambassadors who work or support the international Space industry.

Organisers have pulled together an action-packed day where young people can hear first-hand from astronauts and inspirational speakers from the international Space sector.

The free event, which will run from 9.30am until 7pm, will be hosted by TV presenter and stage actor, Dallas Campbell, who will link the sessions in addition to presenting his own space - themed live talk.

Already confirmed to speak live is former NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan who made history by becoming the first American woman to walk in space and first woman to travel to the deepest depths of the ocean.

Dr Andy Aldrin, son of the famous astronaut Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin and Director of the Aldrin Space Institute and president of the Aldrin Family Foundation will also be speaking to the children as well as children’s author and former Blue Peter TV presenter, Konnie Huq who will do a craft activity for everyone to enjoy.

Dr Suzie Imber is a space scientist from the University of Leicester and specialises in an area of research known as Space Weather. She was also crowned winner of the 2017 BBC production ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?’. At STEMFest, both Dallas and Suzie will take children on the ultimate journey through the history and science of space travel. From rocket science, astronaut training, and how the latest science is expanding our knowledge of the cosmos.

One school already signed up to participate is Red Rose Primary School in Chester-le-Street, County Durham. Dave Ross, STEM Lead for the school, said: “Our school has always been fascinated by Space and all that comes with it. Our classes are named after Space related objects and over the years, we’ve had inflatable planetariums, watched live launches in the school hall and had our own light festival inspired by planets.

“When we saw the STEMFest in the Space event, we signed up straight away. The day looks like a fantastic mix for all ages and we know our pupils will love it. How often do we get to see scientists, astronauts, researchers, TV presenters and pupils all showing us different things about Space and even get to ask them questions, brilliant!”

The aim of the STEMFest in Space event is to encourage and engage as many young people as possible in STEM subjects to help them consider a career in this field when they are older.

Mr Ross continued: “Enhancing our curriculum with such events is so important. Raising aspirations is key to a good education – showing pupils what is possible in the STEM world is vital and this event is definitely going to do that. We can’t wait - it will be ‘out of this world!’”

Claire Willis, STEM Education Relationship Manager at RTC North based in Sunderland is organising the event. She said, “We’ve had a fantastic response so far, it’s lovely to see so many schools and colleges across the North East and even worldwide sign up. Not only that, we have seen youth community groups such as cubs, scouts and brownie groups sign up too.

“STEM is such an exciting topic and I’m sure there will be lots of activity going on across classrooms all over the region during World Space Week. Our event on Thursday will combine classroom and hands-on learning in an exciting, fun-packed day showcasing the many wonders of space. I can’t wait.”

Schools and colleges must pre-register for this event. Tickets are free and can be booked via the Eventbrite website at

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