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CFGS Students Transported into Space with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, MBE

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, 30 Central Foundation Girls’ School (CFGS) students had the pleasure of attending a talk by British Space Scientist and presenter of Sky at Night, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE.

The event was held at James Allen Girls’ School (JAGS).  A partner school of CFGS through the Edward Alleyn’s charitable foundation - The College of God’s Gift, without which Central Foundation Girls’ School, James Allen’s Girls’ School and St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Girls’ School would not exist as they do today. The two weeks of ‘Celebrating Girls in Education’ events hosted by JAGS marked the 400th anniversary of the Edward Alleyn charitable foundation in 2019.

The events gave secondary school students the opportunity to explore what it means to be  female in the 21st century.  Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock deep dived into this topic by telling the students to ‘have a crazy dream’ which she did.  As a young child she was fascinated by space. The achievements of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon in 1969 captured her imagination and her drive to get out there into space. Despite her struggles with dyslexia at school and in her career, Dr Maggie showed the students that with passion and a ‘desire to aspire’ it is possible to achieve.  Dr Maggie shared with the students that she went on to attain 4 A Levels in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics), a degree in Physics from Imperial College and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.  She has also been honoured by the Queen for her work in science education with an MBE, wrote a book and met the head of NASA to name but a few. 

Dr Maggie’s inspirational talk not only gave the students an insight into her remarkable life and career but also made a case for girls taking up science at a time when girls are overtaking boys in the study of some of the science subjects. 

At the end of her talk, Dr Maggie told the students to ‘have a dream’, ‘be bold, ‘aim high’ and ‘love every second’ of the journey.  Her Q&A session and the after show talk gave the students the opportunity to carry on the conversation to fire up their dreams.

Students from Year7 to Year 13 were treated to a variety of high profile speakers including journalist and broadcaster Emma Barnett, Motivational Speaker Ayo Awotona, author Sophia Bennett and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez.  Diverse subjects were covered throughout the week, and included discussions on powerful women in art history, examining growth-mindset and highlighting the extent of gender data bias in today’s society.

Esther Holland, headteacher at Central Foundation said, ‘We have been delighted to take part in the ‘Celebrating Girls in Education’ talks at JAGs. These events have been a fantastic opportunity for our students to hear from a range of inspirational speakers and to have time to reflect on their own aspirations.   We are thankful to JAGS for inviting us, and we share the sentiment of forging closer working links with JAGS and our partner schools, to learn from each other in the spirit of empowering  all our girls through education.’