Monkton Stargazers

In the immortal words of Captain James T Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, John Hislop of the Monkton Stargazers decided “To boldly go where no man has gone before” by delivering two masterclasses on Space for Year 5, in a new collaboration with St Joseph’s.

John is a volunteer astronomer at the Monkton Nature Reserve, home of Thanet’s two observatories and the Monkton Stargazers. John kindly gave us two afternoons of his time to take Year 5 on a tour of the skies involving keeping a moon diary to note the phases of the moon, role play scaling out the distance and order of the planets and a look through a telescope.

A particular hit was John’s introduction to the Stellarium website which was an inspirational look at a 3D sky.

John’s knowledge and passion for the skies was palpable and with one of the class subsequently declaring that science was now his favourite subject, it was clear that his marriage of knowledge and hands on learning approach had found resonance with the class.

John will return to St Joseph’s for Science Week in May when he will help Year 5 decode a special message for them carried by a passing satellite which will need to be tracked and logged.

John’s support has been truly inspirational and we would urge all members of our School community to pay a visit to the Monkton Observatory on one of their star gazing nights – last month, many of our pupils visited and saw Venus, Mars, Uranus and a supernova on one of the clearest nights of the year.


St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
St Peter’s Park Road
CT10 2BA


Tel / Fax: 01843 861738


Kent Catholic Schools Partnership
Telephone: 01622 232662

Executive Principal
Mr Chris Wright

Academy Principal
Mrs Kay Millership

Chair of Governors
Mrs Ann Yandell