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Hillcroft youngsters are spaced out after stargazing night

Budding astronomers at Hillcroft enjoyed a night under the stars recently – but slept safely in the warm and dry of school.

Pupils from Years Four and Five took part in a Space Camp sleepover, with an evening of space and star-themed activities, before spending the night under canvas in the school hall.

Demand for the 30 places available was so high that a ballot had to be run for places, and clear skies meant that on the night, pupils were able to observe the moon through the school telescope and binoculars, whilst identifying stars on iPads.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said Hillcroft’s science lead Anne-Marie Page. “It was very educational but at the same time huge fun for the children, and they all really entered into the spirit of it.

“As well as observing the moon and the stars, they also made straw rockets which they raced against one another, and after a fish and chip supper they got into their tents to watch the film Space Camp, before bedding down for the night.”

The event was another feather in the cap for science teaching at Hillcroft, a member of the GLF Schools multi-academy trust. Earlier this year, pupils had a chance to watch teacher Tom Holloway talk to astronaut Tim Peake when he was on the International Space Station, and others attended the Big Bang Science Fair at Ardingley Showground.

This term, the school opened a new Phiz Lab, built with the support of scientific education charity the Ogden Trust.

“In the morning the children had pastries for breakfast before being picked up by their parents, full of enthusiasm and excitement about their special night. It was such a success that we’re hoping to organise another one later in the school year. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of demand once people hear how well this one went.”