Royal Observatory schools programme

Here we will answers to some of the most common questions about our schools programme.

If you have any more questions please contact our bookings team, who will be happy to help: 

Tel: +44 (0)20 8312 6608 | Email: bookings@rmg.co.uk

What does the Primary Programme consist of?

For early years and primary groups we offer a Discovery Day or a Space Spectacular Day.  Depending on which you choose your visit can be made of: a planetarium show, an interactive workshop or science theatre show, a self-facilitated visit to the Weller Astronomy Galleries and historic north site and a time-slot in the lunch room.

For more detail about the primary programme take a look at the guide below:

PDF iconPrimary programme guide 2018-19.pdf

We also offer Aurora Days for groups with special educational needs and disabilities which include a workshop and planetarium show.

If you are looking for additional activities to do before, during or after your visit then don't forget to check out our primary visit guides including the KS1 Astronomy Trail and the KS2 Telescopes Trail.

Primary Visit Guides.

What does the Secondary Programme consist of?

For KS3, KS4 and Post-16 we offer a Discovery Day, a Space Spectacular Day or a Study Day.  Depending on which you choose your visit can be made of: a planetarium show, an interactive workshop, a masterclass, a self-facilitated visit to the Weller Astronomy Galleries and a time-slot in the lunch room.

For more detail about the secondary programme take a look at the guide below:

PDF iconSecondary programme guide 2018-19.pdf

We also offer Aurora Days for groups with special educational needs which include a workshop and planetarium show.

If you are looking for additional activities to do before, during or after your visit then don't forget to check out our secondary visit guides:

Secondary Visit Guides

How much does a visit cost?

Primary school visit costs

Primary visits including a planetarium show with either a workshop or science theatre show carry a charge of £105 for a group of up to 30 students.  If you wish to book only one of these elements you can do so at a charge of £90 for a planetarium show (for 30 students) and £60 for a workshop or science theatre show (for 30 students).

Secondary school visit costs

Study Days run on Thursdays and Fridays and are by far the most popular choice for our secondary school visitors.  The cost of a Study Day is £105 for 30 students and includes a: planetarium show, workshop, free masterclass and self-guided gallery tours.  If you want to book sessions individually you can, a planetarium show is £90 and a workshop is £60 and masterclasses are only available with a full Study Day booking.

Our programmes explained

What is a Discovery Day?

Discovery Days are designed to be flexible visit days. It is up to you which sessions you select for your Discovery Day. You can choose from:

  • A Planetarium show
  • A workshop or science theatre show
  • A gallery visit
  • Use of the lunch room
  • All of these.

The bookings team will be able to timetable your day to include all the components you have chosen.

What is a Study Day?

The Study Day offer is exclusively for secondary groups with specific sessions for KS3, KS4 and Post-16.  The theme of a Study Day changes throughout the year but the structure is always the same as a Discovery Day with the addition of a masterclass session.  These sessions are very special as they are delivered by a member of the team who is actively involved in research.

See dates of Study Days

What is Space Spectacular Week?

Space Spectacular weeks are very special as they only run 3 times a year so you will need to book fast.  Visits during Space Spectacular weeks are made of: a planetarium show (Final Frontier), the demo-filled science theatre show (Prepare for Launch for primary only) or workshop (Action Reaction; Forces In Space for secondary only), time in the Weller Astronomy Galleries and a lunch room slot.

See dates of Space Spectacular Weeks

What is a Planetarium show?

Think of our planetarium as a tour bus of the Universe taking you on amazing journeys to explore and experience the wonders of the night sky. Combining real images from spacecraft and telescopes with advanced CGI, all projected onto a fully immersive dome, the planetarium can fly you into the heart of the Sun, transport you to distant galaxies, show you the birth of a star or even land you on Mars.

For a full list of shows see our Primary and Secondary Visit Guides

What is a Workshop?

The astronomer-led workshops are very interactive and plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discover new things.  The workshops use a combination of sound, film, large scale demonstrations and team activities to explain different scientific concepts.

For a full list of workshops see our Primary and Secondary Visit Guides

What is a Masterclass?

These are KS3, KS4 and post-16 sessions linked to areas of the relevant key stage specifications and draw on cutting-edge observations, current astronomical research and careers in science.  Choose from: Your Place in Space (KS3), Galaxies and Cosmology (KS4 and post-16), Stellar Evolution (KS4 and post-16) and Observational Astronomy (KS4 and post-16).   

What is a Science Theatre show?

A science theatre show is an interactive astronomer-led show action-packed full of demonstrations. Throughout our science theatre shows we often ask for volunteers to come and help us out with the demonstrations.  They currently only run during Space Spectacular weeks.

What else can I do on a visit day?

If a Discovery or Space Spectacular day still doesn’t satisfy your scientific appetite you can also visit our micro gallery and the historic observatory site, including the Prime Meridian, the Great Equatorial Telescope and the Weller Astronomy Galleries.  We also have visit guides (for KS1 and KS2) for those doing self-facilitated sessions which are available for free on the website.

See our Primary and Secondary Visit Guides

Who develops and runs the sessions?

The sessions are run by our real astronomers so there is always an expert available to ask any questions.  Our content is developed by the astronomy education team in collaboration with our teacher forum.  All sessions are tested and evaluated with the teacher forum and also with school groups to ensure that the content developed is exactly what teachers are looking for and what students will thoroughly enjoy! 

Are there activities that can follow on from my visit?

Yes - LOTS.  On our website you will find information about: our Teacher Forum, free teacher training sessions, a growing collection of curriculum-linked classroom resources, videos (the screenshots below are taken from some of our KS1 and KS2 videos), podcasts and even blogs.

See all primary resources

See all secondary resources

Get involved - blogs, podcasts and our Teacher's forum

Video resources

We also have brand-new videos in the Video Resources section that can be used as part of a science lesson.

Search video resources

Do you come out to schools?

Yes!  We release a small number of bookable outreach slots every year so if you are interested please contact Liz Avery eavery@rmg.co.uk for more details or see here

Quicklinks

About Royal Observatory schools programmes

Plan your visit

Prices & booking

Visit guides & activities

Space Spectacular Study dates 2018/19

Other ways to get involved

Download our risk assessment guideines