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Empowering early career teachers of physics

"Teachers of physics need an experienced and friendly person to hold their hand and make them enjoy their work during the start of their career.”

Published: 6 May 2024

Teachers in their early career can feel overwhelmed by the demands of the classroom; science teachers often find themselves teaching out of specialism whilst physics specialists may find themselves isolated as the only physics teacher in a school. Mentoring, coaching and a guiding narrative from an experienced practitioner can provide the extra support needed to help early career teachers develop their confidence, pedagogy and classroom practice.   

The Trust provides a range of programmes to support teachers throughout their careers, including our Early Career programme which offers free physics mentoring and support for teachers from initial teacher training through to their fifth year of teaching.  

The Early Career programme has been amazing! I sing the praises of the Ogden Trust all the time! I went from a point of properly hating the subject to now just have no fear about teaching physics; I really enjoy it! I find it fascinating and interesting and that comes through when I am teaching.
Jo Beswick, Teacher

Teaching core physics is for secondary (or middle school) early career teachers (in their first and second year of teaching) teaching physics at any level. Developing physics specialism is for teachers of physics (in their second to fifth year of teaching) with a significant component of physics teaching on their timetable. These two strands of mentoring and coaching offer the support needed as teachers progress through their early teaching career. 

Jim Henderson is an experienced physics teacher and school leader, who now mentors on our Early Career programme. “The two early career programmes delivered by The Ogden Trust are hugely important in helping schools deliver physics teaching well,” believes Jim. 

“All schools struggle to find and then to keep good physics teachers. Indeed, many schools have no physics specialists and ask other science teachers to deliver the physics part of the science curriculum.” 

“The Teaching Core Physics programme helps biology and chemistry specialists to reassure themselves that the physics they are teaching is accurate and well-explained and gives many great suggestions for bringing physics to life in the classroom,” Jim continues. “The Developing Physics Specialism (DPS) programme can then act as a next step where the bespoke support allows early career teachers to become confident in developing themselves as teachers of separate science physics GCSE; whilst for new physics teachers, the DPS mentor gives them confidence in teaching A-level.  

“I have seen teachers go from being very worried in September at having to teach physics to saying it has become the favourite part of what they teach by the following June.  

“All teachers of physics need an experienced and friendly person to hold their hand and make them enjoy their work during the start of their career. And often they are working in schools with no other physics experts to provide that,” he adds. “The Ogden Trust programmes provide that friendship, guidance and support which helps to keep those teachers in schools teaching brilliant physics to the next generation.” 

Eighty-nine teachers took part in our 2023/24 Early Career programme. If you are an early career teacher and want to expand your physics knowledge, confidence and support network you can apply now to join our next cohort: applications for 2024/25 are now open. 

Teaching core physics  

Teaching core physics offers half termly coaching sessions in a local peer group. Each session focuses on a different area of physics, relevant teaching approaches and resources, and can be used to provide additional subject-specific support to the Early Career Framework provision. 

The local peer group enables teachers to build a support network and share ideas across schools; the sessions provide time for reflection and discussion, and consider pedagogy and student misconceptions, and support early career teachers to build their physics content knowledge for KS3/KS4 classroom teaching. 

Developing physics specialism  

For those teaching a significant physics timetable (usually including some triple science or A-level classes) in their second to fifth year of teaching, developing physics specialism provides bespoke individual mentoring. Teachers will agree goals with their mentor at the start of the year and will be supported as they work towards them, enhancing professional development and teaching practice. Participants will also get a funded place for a conference of their choice and receive three books relevant to their development. 

Apply now
Visit our Early Career pages on this website to find out more and to make you application.


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