A rabbit, hamster or even a therapy dog, are the pets of choice in most schools.
At Space Studio West London, pupils have two geckos, named Stoffel and Scabbers and the pair of placid creatures even have a Hollywood connection: they were once pets to Spiderman star Tom Holland!
Now thought to be around 10-years-old, Stoffel and Scabbers were first brought to the parental home of actor Tom when he was a teenager.
They have been the resident pets at the school – which has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) focus – since 2018.
Places are currently available for Year 10 and Year 12 students for the academic year that starts September 2022.
Anyone keen to meet Stoffel and Scabbers and find out more about the school can do so at a STEM experience evening which will run alongside an open evening on March 7th at 5.30pm. To book a place, or for more information, email: email@example.com or visit the website: www.spacestudiowestlondon.org
Stoffel and Scabbers were passed on to the teenage son of a family friend of the Hollands when star Tom outgrew them.
The geckos then made their way to a parent with a son at Space Studio West London who eventually brought them in for pupils to enjoy spending time with.
Steph Lee, Careers Lead at Space Studio, which is based in Feltham, told the Hounslow Herald: ‘’Our pupils love having Stoffel and Scabbers as the resident pets at the school, there is a real novelty factor, and it is fun for the students when they pop up in lessons.
‘’Stoffel and Scabbers are placid, easy to care for and they are calming – the children can sit and hold them for long periods of time, unlike a hamster which constantly wants to move or run around, the geckos are happy to sit still.’’
Stoffel was named after a South African honey badger who made headlines because of his ability to escape from his enclosure at Moholoholo Rehab Center. Scabbers is named after the pet rat of Ron Weasley and featured in the Harry Potter series. The names were chosen by the parent who brought them into the school. It is not known what Tom Holland chose to call the geckos.
Space Studio West London is home to 300 students aged between 14 to 18-year-olds and
class sizes are kept to no more than 25 pupils.
There is an emphasis on one-to-one learning and a teaching model that aims to nurture the engineers, scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and aerospace experts of the future.
Annual school trips include a 10-day US visit to NASA and the itinerary involves behind-the-scenes visits to Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers. Students also have the chance to liaise with scientists and engineers.
Students regularly secure places at prestigious Russell Group universities and Cambridge.
The last academic year (2020/2021) saw an impressive 47% of our A-level candidates achieve achieve a grade A* or A. Some 69% scored A* to B and 89% achieved grades A* to C.
Year 11 students also enjoyed impressive GCSE success with 70% achieving a Grade 4 or above in English and Maths. Some 41% scored a Grade 5 or above in English and Maths, 77% scored a Grade 4 or above in Maths and 60% a Grade 5 or above.
Over 35% of students taking Biology, Physics and Chemistry achieved a grade 7+ or above.
Over 70% of students taking these subjects scored a Grade 5 or above.
Space Studio has close links with employers in the aerospace, science and technology sectors providing plenty of opportunities for students to secure valuable work experience.
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, British Airways, BP, Heathrow, the National Space Academy and National Physical Laboratories are just some of the businesses the school works with.
Principal Andy Morgan said: ‘’Space studio is a calm, safe and productive learning environment where pupils work collaboratively with each other, their teachers and industry mentors. Expectations are high. Opportunities for project-based learning with industry professionals, and work placement are numerous.’’