Budding Astronomer Gets Stellar GCSE Grade

Cassie 2

16 year-old Cassie Barlow-Hall is over the moon after getting an A* grade Astronomy GCSE from the STAR Centre at Keighley Campus.

The teenage stargazer is still coming back down to earth after receiving her stellar grade from the college, which she hopes will help her fulfil her ambition of studying astrophysics at university.

Cassie was one of a small group of learners, of all ages, studying the GCSE part time at the STAR Centre, which is a science hub that uses space as a theme to encourage learners into undertaking STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. She studied one half-day a week for a year on the course, which involves two pieces of coursework and an exam, and covers topics ranging from our solar system, to the history of astrophysics, the life cycle of stars and our place in the universe.

For Cassie, who heard about the course from a friend, it was studying the big bang theory and how the universe was formed that really captured her imagination. It is a subject she is keen to pursue further through maths and sciences A-Levels and eventually at university: “The Astronomy GCSE was as interesting as I had hoped – it’s a subject that fascinates me. I was thrilled to have achieved the A* grade as it reinforces what I want to do in the future.”

Cassie is home schooled, but she enjoyed the weekly visits to Keighley Campus and the change of academic environment this allowed her. She said: “The STAR Centre provided exciting surroundings in which to study and it was great to have such an enthusiastic tutor who knew the subject so well.”

The Astronomy GCSE is the first accredited course run by the STAR Centre and was launched in 2012. As well as with the part-time learners, the college is also running the qualification with pupils from Oakbank School in Keighley, and a level 3 extended project (equivalent to an AS Level qualification) for some pupils progressing from the GCSE.
For young people such as Cassie and the pupils from Oakbank School, the qualification provides a boost to their CVs, as well as providing an opportunity to develop specific scientific skills.

Becky Thorpe, Curriculum Leader, says: “Cassie was a great student with a real passion for astronomy, and like other students planning to go to uni, her GCSE A* will sit impressively alongside her A Levels in the future to help her stand out in UCAS applications.”

However, the course also welcomes astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and with different levels of experience who are simply keen to explore their interest on a deeper level.

Places are available for the next part-time group for the Astronomy GSCE which will start in September and run for a half-day every Friday.

If you’re interested in finding out more please visit, email or phone 01535 685167.



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