One travels four hours a day to study at the school and the other is using the academy’s links with aerospace to pursue a career in astrobiology.

For Vanshika Gupta and Suvarunika Thirumaran, Space Studio West London is an exceptional place to study.

From the small school classroom sizes, an annual trip to NASA and project-based learning, if you’re serious about STEM then Space Studio WL is the place to be. We currently have places available, visit www.spacestudiowestlondon.org to apply.

Vanshika, 18, is in Year 13 at the school, and is completing A-Levels in Maths, Chemistry and Biology, as she hopes to pursue a career in astrobiology.

Suvarunika is currently in Year 12, studying Maths, Physics and Computer Science, and travels up to four hours per day to attend Space Studio from her home in north-west London.

For Vanshika the emphasis on project-based learning in smaller groups has been key to her development as a student: “Working in groups allows me to talk to other people, build up my natural confidence, and communicate ideas in a professional manner.

“The assignments, which incorporate the syllabus into a project, is assessed in forms that aren’t traditionally covered in secondary school, such as reports and presentations, which better prepares us for university assessments” Vanshika added. 

Additionally, as a ‘small school’ with class sizes of no more than 25 students per class, Vanshika believes the strong teacher-student relationships at Space Studio have benefitted her learning experience since she started at the school in Year 10.

She said: “Because of the small class sizes, every teacher knows you very well personally and you build better relationships with them.

“That means that you feel really comfortable speaking with them about things you are unsure about, and you can work with them freely during the allocated Independent Study time.”

Suvarunika, 17, agrees with Vanshika: “There is a huge emphasis on 1-to-1 learning and teaching, and because everyone knows each other, there is a real sense of community at the school.”

As a studio school that specialises in scientific and mathematical learning, Space Studio offers an array of opportunities covering a variety of topics across the spectrum of STEM, ranging from trips to organisations in and around London, to networking and information visits to the academy by industry-leading professionals.

“The opportunity to go on trips and visits is a lot higher at Space Studio than most other schools.

“Also, because of how well the staff know students, the school will offer students opportunities that fit our interests and career ambitions.

“For example, there have been times where Mrs Lee [Careers Lead] knows about my passion for astronomy, so has put me forward for trips that would inspire my interest in the field!” Suvarunika added.

One of these trips was the prestigious annual 10-day visit to NASA Space Centers in the USA, which Suvarunika defines as the best trip of her life: “I just felt so inspired. I wasn’t certain about pursuing a space-related career before the trip, but afterwards I became so determined and realised it is exactly what I want to do!”

You can read more about the NASA trip here.

A key attribute of Space Studio West London’s unique approach to education is fostering independent learning in students, building comprehensive learners with high levels of creativity and intellectual curiosity.

Suvarunika explained: “If someone doesn’t understand something, there is an emphasis on the teachers encouraging students to explain a topic. It is really helpful when you can learn from your peers!

“Also, Year 12 students mentor Year 10 students in specific topics. found this really helpful as I was able to teach them, recap my knowledge from GCSE, improve my interpersonal skills and have fun!”

Moreover, the academy has adopted an extended school day, running from 8:30am until 4:40pm, which students and staff find beneficial for their learning and working.

“We have timetabled slots to work in Independent Study, and the amount of work that we receive is suited to the allocated time that we have, so that no students have to take homework home unless they want to.

“It also means that we have more access to teacher’s guidance, as well as having three breaks throughout the day to reinvigorate us!” Suvarunika added.

This unique approach to learning is championed by the students that attend Space Studio West London, who describe it as an exciting and friendly place to learn.

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