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Mentoring and support for early career teachers of physics

"I would honestly say that the Early Career programme is the best thing that teachers can do because there is so much support."

Published: 20 May 2024

The Ogden Trust Early Career programme offers free physics mentoring and support for teachers from initial teacher training through to their fifth year of teaching. The challenges in recruitment and retention for physics teachers is well-documented with recruitment targets missed again this past year, and physics (and maths) teachers leaving the profession in greater numbers than any other subject teachers. 

This continuing crisis is putting additional pressure on early career teachers: science teachers increasingly find themselves teaching physics out of specialism, whilst physics specialists may find themselves isolated as the only physics teacher. Coaching, mentoring and support from an experience physics practitioner can help early career teachers build their subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching confidence – helping to bring physics to life in the classroom and inspire the next generation.  

Mustafa Mahmoud was first introduced to the Ogden Trust when he was doing his PGCE and took part in some online foundation in physics sessions with the Trust; as an early career teacher he joined the Teaching Core Physics programme and now in his second year of teaching he is on the Developing Physics Specialism (DPS) programme.

“I trained to be a chemistry teacher but when I applied for my teaching position, I was told they needed a physics teacher! Physics was not far from my mind, but it was not something I ever thought I would be teaching. After my own school experience, I had just never really fallen in love with it and didn’t take it at A-level, but I thought let’s give it a go and the rest is history! Now every day I am falling in love more and more with the subject. 

“I now teach KS3 right the way through to A-level physics – we currently have about 35 A-level physicists, but I want to try and increase that number especially with more female students. I have brought visitors into the school to show more diversity in physics and I recently took a team of Year 10 female scientists to a physics competition, and they came second – one student who had never thought of doing physics will now be taking it at A-level and another two are considering it.

“I would honestly say that the Early Career programme from The Ogden Trust is the best thing that teachers can do because there is so much support. It is good to have that community, to have that mentor, other teachers you can talk to and share ideas with. The face-to-face support with my DPS mentor has been invaluable. They really listen to what we are all doing and see us put ideas into practice, so there is bit of all of us in the programme! I would highly recommend it to any teacher.” 

Expand your physics knowledge, confidence and support network

Applications for our 2024/25 Early Career programme 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.

A group of teachers in a classroom working together.

References

  • Science Teaching Survey 2023  

https://www.rsc.org/policy-evidence-campaigns/chemistry-education/education-reports-surveys-campaigns/the-science-teaching-survey/ 

  • IOP Response to the House of Commons Education Committee Inquiry: Teacher Recruitment, Training and Retention 

https://www.iop.org/sites/default/files/2023-06/IOP-submission-to-Education-Committee-inquiry-into-teacher-recruitment-training-retention.pdf 

  • Initial teacher training census 

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/initial-teacher-training-census/2023-24 

 


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