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Supporting early career teachers of physics

Applications now open: "It has transformed how I teach physics and how I feel about teaching physics."

Published: 17 April 2024

“The Early Career programme has been amazing… I went from a point of properly hating the subject and now just have no fear about teaching physics.”
Jo Beswick

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.  

The Early Career programme offers free physics mentoring and support for teachers from initial teacher training through to their fifth year of teaching. Teaching core physics is for secondary (or middle school) early career teachers (in their first and second year) 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.

Teaching core physics

Teaching core physics offers half termly coaching sessions in a local peer group to those teaching any KS3/KS4 physics. 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, 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.

Support in action

Jo Beswick is in her second year teaching science, with a specialism in biology. She teaches all science subjects up to GCSE at Great Marlow School and has now met her ECT requirements early. Jo thinks that the Ogden early career support has helped her to excel in her ECT years.

“My biology subject knowledge is obviously very strong, and my chemistry is good but my physics was shocking. When I was doing my teacher training year, I had to teach physics up to Year 8 and that felt manageable, but I didn’t enjoy it all – in fact, I hated it! I signed up for the Ogden Early Career programme for two reasons: firstly, for the subject knowledge and secondly for the confidence, and it has without doubt helped me with both.”

“I take a lot of pride in my teaching, and I want it to be of a high enough standard that I give lessons that are really robust. It is all the little things, isn’t it? Making sure that the language you use is just right and that you are not introducing misconceptions.

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 and 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.

My mentor made me feel like I was just scooped up – he was very accessible and open and available, and made it very easy for me to tap into the programme. He was so generous with his time and with his expert knowledge and he was really patient, which was fantastic for someone like me who struggled with some of the physics concepts. I was doing plenty of work in between my mentoring sessions, lots of practice GCSE questions, reading books, doing extra webinars – I did work really hard – but the inspiration from the programme made me want to do that.

All of the training and mentoring I had from the Early Career programme was so specific to the classroom it was a massive build on subject knowledge but very much about application – I would come into the classroom and effectively my mentor had helped me to prepare for that lesson – explain it like this, ask these questions, try this practical.

I have learned so many fantastic little practicals using everyday items and that is how I teach now. I have this big cupboard behind me in my classroom which is a homage to people I met during the Ogden early career programme. When I open the cupboard door the kids all go ‘wwwooohhhh’ because they know I am going to pull out some random stuff to demonstrate a point and I think that is one of the biggest things that I have got from the programme – how to bring the physics alive in the classroom in such brilliant ways.”

“I can’t believe that the support from The Ogden Trust is free! Why are all the non-specialists not doing it! It has transformed how I teach physics and how I feel about teaching physics.”

Apply now

All those who successfully apply for the Early Career programme will be invited to a fully funded two-day festival, where they can build networks, share practice and develop skills.

Apply before the end of June for academic year 2024/25.

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

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