Speaking to the pupils, she said “The first person to set foot on Mars is probably already at school – and it could be you”.
Helen Sharman beat 13,000 other applicants to become the UK’s first astronaut in 1991. “If you don’t apply, you won’t have a chance” she told the girls. “If you don’t take the first step, you’ll never know if you can do it”.
Forward-thinking Kensington Prep in Fulham has transformed traditional classroom spaces into creative spaces for learning. The innovative Explore Floor is designed to encourage independent investigation, research and collaborative working, complementing classroom teaching.
It is the perfect space for project work where pupils can be transported using the latest technology into different times and experiences. One day it can be the vista of the solar system, or glaciers in the polar regions or a depiction of Tudor life in the 16th century.
Helen Sharman’s profile is featured in the Explore Floor – she is one of the school’s inspirational role models. Pupils were taken with her on a journey into space to launch the Explore Floor and the start of the school’s first-ever STEM week (focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). Prudence Lynch, Head of Kensington Prep School, said:
"STEM subjects among teenagers and undergraduates have traditionally not been as popular with girls as boys. We want to start with very young children to reverse this trend.
"We have some of the best facilities and teaching to stimulate girls’ creativity and curiosity in these wonderful subjects. There’s absolutely no reason why pupils should fall into any past boy/girl stereotypes in the future."