Banbury Space Studio all ready for take-off

Banbury Space Academy is due to open in September.
Banbury Space Academy is due to open in September.

The new Banbury Space Studio is all set to welcome its first students in September.

Eighteen months after it was first revealed that Banbury was going to get its very own space school, the minimum number of places have been filled and final preparations are being undertaken before the opening on September 3.

The studio, which is an Aspirations Academy Trust School, will be the first studio school in Oxfordshire and the first space industries focused school in the UK.

Located in the Banbury Academy grounds in Ruskin Road, the studio is aimed at 14 to 18-year-olds who want to work in the space and high-tech industries.

The studio’s principal, Mike Grocott, was formerly the director of the Space Centre at Callington Technical College and an ambassador and educator for the European Space Agency and the National Space Academy.

He said: “You could say we’re at the last 200 metres of a marathon.

“We’ve met our minimum number of students and everything is organised; we’re building up to something that is going to be out of this world.”

The studio’s minimum number of students is 75 and currently 80 are set to start this autumn.

Mr Grocott added the team is in the process of finishing the final touches, including decoration and IT fit-outs.

He said: “We have started to paint the outside of the building and you can actually see it starting to take place, which is great. It’s nice that people can go past and see that everything is coming together.

“I’m looking forward to when the first students are walking through the doors on September 3.”

The studio, which secured financial backing from Education Minister Lord Nash in March this year, has also got the support of industry heavyweights such as The UK and the European Space Agency (ESA), The Williams Formula 1 team and Banbury Chamber of Commerce, among others. The ESA is also looking to the studio to act as a project school for a UK robotic programme.

There are still some spaces left and those interested can go along to an information evening at Bloxham Mill at 6.30pm today (Thursday).

Another event will also be held at The Whately Hall Hotel in Banbury on Wednesday, July 9 at 6.30pm.