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Nova gets lift off with Tim Peake Support

Nova Primary Academy has taken a further leap to securing the school’s dynamic new STEM vision by receiving support from astronaut Tim Peake with an ‘increasingly rare’ signed photograph. 

Tim Peake was approached when the school, which is part of Peterborough Keys Academies Trust, launched its new Nova branding and ethos.  The mission is to create a school which enables all pupils to believe that anything is possible and that there are no limits to their potential and achievements.  

Headteacher, Mrs Alma McGonigle said: “We are so excited to receive a signed photo from Tim Peake and the European Space Agency (ESA).  The children were absolutely thrilled, and it is now framed and in pride of place in our new STEM ‘Launch Pad’ zone.”

Mrs McGonigle began her Headship at the school, in September 2021 and has set about transforming Nova Primary Academy with an innovative new vision and a school motto, ‘Ambitious and Proud.’  

She believes that STEM* can unlock creativity and imagination.  She said: “Our aim is that our pupils have opportunities to design, develop, experiment and problem solve through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”.

The CEO of PKAT, Dr Ian Young said: “These are exciting times for the children and staff at Nova, as they step forward with new stellar ambition! We are very grateful to Tim Peake for giving us his support in this way. Our Trust is committed to high aspirations for the children and Mrs McGonigle and her team have a compelling vision for developing this at Nova.”

Nova Primary Academy’s next endeavour is to create the ‘Discovery STEM Centre’ using innovation, exploration, research, and careers education to deepen the experiences of the pupils.  A new ‘Launch Pad Design &Technology area was established in April 2023, as an exciting pioneer project when Nova was launched. 

Mrs McGonigle said, “The Discovery Centre will be a special place for our pupils to acquire knowledge beyond their classroom, as their world orbits through their experiences and sends them on a trajectory of discovery and enrichment.”

Nova hosted their first annual ‘Nova Day’ on 27th June with planetariums, rocket launches and robotic moon buggies. As part of Nova Day preparations, children decided to build a celebratory rocket to mark the launch of the newly branded and named school. Within the design they included a photograph of Tim Peake and astronaut Dr Norah Patten. This event was attended by special visitors including the Deputy Mayor of Peterborough, Judy Fox.