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Loughborough College Receives Highest National Honour in Education with Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Posted: 16th November 2023 - 7:01pm
A group of Space Engineering students at the Space Centre

Loughborough College is being celebrated for its excellence and innovation after receiving a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its unique Space Engineering programme with the National Space Academy.

The ground-breaking partnership offers a world-class qualification to aspiring engineers, physicists, and astronauts.  

As the only course of its kind, the academically intensive programme blends A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Physics with a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Engineering, which is equivalent to four A-Levels. 

Jo Maher, Principal and CEO at Loughborough College, said: “We are so proud to have received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our outstanding Space Engineering Programme. There is no higher honour in education and it has been a privilege to work in such a unique partnership with the National Space Academy.” 

 “Space Engineering is our most academically demanding course, and the destinations of our outstanding students are testament to the success of this programme which prepares them for the rigours of studying and working in the thriving aerospace industry.”

Students enjoy high quality teaching which covers various aspects of engineering co-delivered at the Loughborough College campus and the National Space Centre, giving learners access to cutting-edge technology and innovation. Throughout the programme, they receive masterclasses conducted by space industry experts and gain insights from leading astronauts. Helen Sharman CMG OBE and Tim Peake CMG have both supported learning on the programme.

The Space Engineering Enhanced A-Level programme gives students a distinct advantage in contributing to humanity’s exploration of the universe and prepares them for the rigours of working in the thriving aerospace industry.

Sophie Allan, NSA Head of Teaching and Learning, said: “It has been such a privilege to help develop and teach this course. From the beginning, our aim was to provide experiences, insight and skills development which would make our students ready to excel in their next steps within the space, aerospace, and wider STEM sectors. The course was designed, and is continually adapted, with space and aerospace industry partners’ input, ensuring that our students are as equipped as possible to deal with the ever-changing needs of the sector. We are still in touch with many of our former students, and it is wonderful to see how they are progressing through their varied and exciting careers.

“We hugely value our partnership with Loughborough College, and together we have crafted something incredibly unique and special. Combining outstanding teaching and facilities at the college with outstanding teaching and space sector knowledge at the National Space Academy, our students are encouraged and challenged to become the best they can be, all while learning about the UK's thriving and growing space sector. We look forward to continuing to adapt the course to meet industry needs, and to nurture and inspire our students to become the engineering leaders of tomorrow.”

The College was recently announced as one of the recipients of The Queen’s Anniversary Prize at a ceremony in St James’s Palace. Following this, a College representative will attend a formal Honours ceremony in 2024 to receive the award.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the UK’s national Honours system, recognising outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world. Open to eligible universities and colleges of Further and Higher Education in the United Kingdom, the Prizes may be awarded in any field of study.

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!” 

First awarded in 1994, the Prizes are granted every two years by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister following a rigorous and independent process of review carried out by The Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity.