That’s the thought I have all the time when I think about what we have at William Perkin Church of England High School. A few years ago I met Dr Ashley King from the Natural History Museum (NHM), who had seen some of the students work at the Imperial Festival in the summer of 2016. We applied for a Royal Society Partnership grant of £1,500 together and subsequently won that. That then enabled our school to buy all the equipment needed to set up a meteor camera on the roof of our school!!! AMAZING!! Dr Ashley King, Richard Kacerek UKMON), Helena Bates (NHM), Peter Campbell Burns(UKMON) and Enrica Bonato (NHM), came to set up the camera, and since then we have had beautiful pictures and films of meteors and fireballs. Subsequently, the photos were analysed using special UFO (still makes me laugh!), software, the chosen 15 Elite Scientist students (aged 11-14), had to learn how to analyse the data, which was a great skill for them to acquire. All of the above mentioned, were so wonderful to us, giving us their time, expertise, and help whenever we had problems. To this very day, I still ask for help from Richard, Peter, and Ashley, and they never turn me away, always willing to help me get the system back on track. Just this week, I was complaining about the fact that we had not seen any meteors since January, and Richard helped us with the settings, and we are seeing beautiful meteors again. My dream is that our school get a giant fireball that is seen around the world!

The students got to present their work, at the Royal Society Partnership grant conference, Natural History Museum, and the Imperial Festival 2017. These kinds of experiences of which there are many will help the students in their future when they apply for college and university places and jobs. To this very day, we are still taking pictures of meteors, although we are not able to analyse the data at the moment, as the students are currently working on a long project which is very different! We do however share our data of fireballs with NHM and UKMON if we get any! I am still keen to get the other three schools in The Twyford Trust involved with UKMON so that they can also experience what we have. I’m also keen for our data to be shared within a countrywide/ Europewide network, and vice versa. I am sure that will happen one day. Thank you to all of the Natural History Museum and UKMON teams for all the richness you have brought our school.

We look forward to continuing our work with you in the future.

Clear Skies everyone!!

Anita Kapila
Science teacher and
Leader of the Elite Scientists at William Perkin Church of England High school