Education Background

The HCO project grew out of the educational context of evening classes in astronomy being given at the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education (OUDCE). Part of the original group comprised the tutor and students of those classes.

The original 1998 application for the Royal Society Millennium Awards Scheme stated "it is our intention to target local schools" and "even at this very early stage the science departments of two of Banbury's largest schools (Bloxham School and the Warriner School), have expressed an interest in the proposed scheme." Dr. Geoffrey Thomas, then director of the OUDCE, (himself an astronomer), provided a reference in support of the application. At the time, the OUDCE was interested in developing opportunities for adults to extend their education in a range of subjects including astronomy. Dr. Thomas, in supporting the application, said: "there is clearly a deficiency in the availability of observational facilities, and this project would, if successful, represent a huge step forward in remedying this deficiency."

According to the HCO Constitution of December 2000, a primary objective of the group is to provide "public and educational observing events". Groups of students from schools and other educational institutions are therefore of particular consideration. We are working to build close connections with local schools (and universities) and now have a dedicated schools liason officer, Anne Sheppard.