Helen Sharman OBE, the UK’s first astronaut, came to Fulham to launch Kensington Prep’s ground-breaking Explore Floor, urging the girls in the school to have a go and aim high. Speaking to pupils, she said: “The first person to set foot on Mars is probably already at school – and it could be you”.
Sharman beat 13,000 other applicants to become the UK’s first astronaut. “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”.
Kensington Prep has transformed traditional classrooms into creative spaces for learning. The Explore Floor is designed to encourage independent investigation, research and collaborative working, complementing classroom teaching.
“It is the perfect space for project work,” say the school. “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.”
The visit also marked 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.’