West Sussex school opens astronomy GCSE to all

The course, established for pupils, parents and teachers at Burgess Hill Girls, will be open to everyone in the local community from next year

The sky will be the limit for West Sussex residents next year, when Burgess Hill Girls’ school opens its GCSE astronomy course to the local community.

Twenty-two learners are currently taking the course, established in September thanks to the popularity of the school’s astronomy club.

The club proved such a hit that the organiser – Andy Gillaspy, an astronomy graduate as well as head of physics – was asked to offer the subject as a formal course.

“It is a hugely important and well-respected academic subject,” he said.

“We study where the universe came from, where it is going, the big bang, black holes and supernovas, some of the most fascinating aspects of the universe.”

Studying with teachers and students is a rare opportunity

“Academically, astronomy has a big link with GCSE and A Level physics, as well as engineering and all the other professions that come from it,” he added.

The 22 students embarked on the course comprise not only school pupils, but also parents and teachers.

“Mr Gillaspy is very knowledgeable, extremely passionate about his subject and quite inspiring,” said one parent, Roy Brazier. “I wish I’d had a science teacher like him when I was at school.

“Studying with the teachers and the students is quite a rare and unique opportunity. One thing that always impresses me is the girls’ energy after what has obviously been a long day of study.”


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29 April 2PM [GMT]