Students reach for the stars in space project

Morpeth's KEVI students construct an observatory at the school (left to right) Robbie Simms, Jonny Binns, Andrew Clough and Edward Baxter.'REF 0209148399
Morpeth's KEVI students construct an observatory at the school (left to right) Robbie Simms, Jonny Binns, Andrew Clough and Edward Baxter.'REF 0209148399

The sky’s the limit for enthusiastic young astronomers after they built their own observatory.

In a first for Morpeth’s King Edward VI School, pupils have managed to create the facility at the bottom of the old ski slope following ten months of planning and construction.

The King Edward VI School Space Agency (KEVISA) started two years ago as a group of students with a common interest in astronomy, meeting weekly at lunch times. Each member was given the opportunity to lead a discussion on a subject they are passionate about, a tradition it continues to uphold.

The pupils then decided to hold events to connect with the community, such as rocket launches and stargazing, and now boast more than 100 members of a Facebook group.

To build the observatory, KEVISA used funding from Key, which offers groups of young people up to £2,000 to develop skills and make a difference in their community. It also supports homeless young people and runs family mediation services, employment mentoring and counselling.

KEVISA Project Manager Andrew Clough, who has now left the school for university, said: “It’s been both very stressful, but very rewarding to see the project progress.

“There has been a wide range of people coming down to help and it’s been great for them to do things they might not normally have had the chance to do”.

The observatory is available to members of the community. They must pay a small subscription towards its maintenance, as well as attend a training session on how to use the equipment. For more information, visit www.longlat.co.uk/kevisa or join the KEVISA Facebook group.