A WOMAN joining the crew of a civilian space flight around the Moon later this year has opened a new sixth form centre at her old school.

Rhiannon Adam, a 37-year-old award-winning photographer based in Hackney, opened the Linhope House centre at Francis Holland School near Regent’s Park, Marylebone, on March 15.

The state-of-the-art “holistic schooling for life” centre, promoting perseverance and spirit, is for young women to become “future leaders in a rapidly changing world”.


It increases the school’s sixth form space by 300 per cent for transition from school to university.

Headmistress Katharine Woodcock runs the curriculum to develop pupils’ lateral thinking and problem-solving skills.

“We are educating the women of tomorrow, future leaders who will be the difference in the world,” she said. “Our focus is on a holistic ‘schooling for life’ with exam results key to opening doors.”

Rhiannon Adam addressing students and staff at Francis Hollands new pens new sixthform centre

Rhiannon Adam addressing students and staff at Francis Holland's new pens new sixthform centre

Those doors have certainly opened for Rhiannon, who left the school 20 years ago at 17 to go onto Cambridge University.

She is one of eight artists and creatives picked by Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa to go into space, the only woman on the civilian trip with the dearMoon crew.

The project unveiled in 2018 began recruiting in 2020 and attracted thousands of wannabe astronauts from all over the globe for a place on the seven-day space flight later this year to be in orbit around the moon for three days.

Students common room at their new sixthform centre

Students' common room at their new sixthform centre

“Every day I pinch myself,” Rhiannon says. “We were all grounded in the pandemic, which was incredibly frustrating. I was craving an adventure when I came across dearMoon while idly scrolling Twitter.

“I cried when I discovered I was selected. It made me think perhaps I should have played the lottery more.”

Students at Francis Holland School in their distinctive uniforms

Students at Francis Holland School in their distinctive uniforms

Rhiannon spends much of her life working with remote communities, so it felt natural “to go into space and explore the most remote community ever.”

The Linhope House sixth form centre she opened has had a £5 million makeover, which combines an elegant Georgian exterior and traditional features like the Reading Room with a cutting-edge interior that has a 'think lab' collaborative learning space.

Think lab at schools new sixtrhform centre

'Think lab' at school's new sixtrhform centre

Francis Holland School had 73 per cent A-level passes at A*-grade in 2022.

Its students are regularly offered places at Oxbridge and other top universities in Britain, Europe and the US. Now one ex-pupil has a place in space.