As an Ogden Outreach Officer, you are expected to organise an annual School Physicist of the Year event (SPOTY) within your department/university. All Ogden secondary partnership schools should be invited to a SPOTY event and Ogden Outreach Officers will invite nominations from their region. 

The SPOTY awards are primarily for Year 10 (or Wales and Scotland equivalent) but can also include one additional year group out of Years 12, 7 or 6 where appropriate and by agreement. Other year groups will NOT be funded by The Ogden Trust. These annual awards ceremonies are supported by Regional Representatives and Partnership Co-ordinators. 

The purpose of SPOTY is to increase the confidence of young people in their physics abilities, and to encourage them to continue physics at A-level and beyond. SPOTY additionally gives an opportunity to increase awareness of physics careers, both for the students and their families, and raise aspirations.

You will find on this page a useful guide to running an event and documents to download that will support the process.   

Before the event:

  • Arrange a date

SPOTY is usually run in June/July (although that is not compulsory). Please notify Amnah of the date of the event at least three months in advance.

  • Arrange a venue and catering

In general, we would expect the venue to be within the university and available at no cost to the event. Catering can be in the form of drinks and nibbles. The Ogden Trust will cover the cost of catering at the event, up to £10 per head (max. of £1,500).

  • Confirm which schools should be involved in your event

Please check this map for geographical demarcations for your regional schools. If there are any schools on the border, or in a different region, that you have historically engaged with, please discuss this with the relevant Outreach Officers and notify Amnah so we can update the map. Orange pins represent Ogden Trust school partnerships who have been promised the chance to attend a SPOTY this year.

  • Send letters to schools requesting the name of their SPOTY winner

You may need to visit schools to explain what SPOTY is. However, a template letter (School Letter) has been provided to introduce the scheme – please use your appropriate letterhead in addition to the Ogden Trust logo. Your letter should include examples of what the awards have been handed out for.

The children do not need to be the best in the class; SPOTY is intended to help widen participation and winners can include (and are not limited to) those who have made the most significant improvement over the year, those who have overcome difficulty, or children who show enthusiasm without necessary having support at home. Remember, every child put forward by a school is a winner, so please avoid using the term ‘nomination’ as it has caused confusion in the past.

You can request that the teachers write 50 words in support of their winner, which can be read out on the Awards night. In addition, this citation could be projected onto the wall as the children come up to collect their certificates.

  • Arrange a suitable programme

The purpose of SPOTY is to increase the confidence of children and their families in their physics abilities, and to boost their career aspirations. As such, the event is a great chance to showcase the different opportunities available to them. The event can include (but is not limited to) any of the following:

  • a guest lecture
  • a show
  • a talk on careers/attending university
  • a tour of the campus/facilities
  • student demonstrators/STEM ambassadors with drop-in activities
  • inviting PhD students and other academics to mingle with the children and their guests.

Please ensure your programme is pitched correctly and at the correct age group. It is a nice idea to send out the programme with the invitation letter that goes to students, with details about the activities for the attendees. Timings and number of sessions are entirely up to you.

A typical programme could look something like this: 

Date:               <<Date>>
Time:               <<Time>>
Venue:            <<University>>
Dress code:     Smart/casual 

17:50   Student award winners arrive with families and teachers                  

18:00   Buffet and drop-in interactive activities (academic staff mingling)

18:30   Welcome Talk/Introduction to Awards/University/The Ogden Trust

18:45   Guest lecture – The Science of Superheroes

19:30   Presentation of awards

19:50   Photos of award winners        

20:00   Close
  • Promote the event and collect registration forms

Once the school has submitted their student recommendation, the prize-winner should be formally invited to the event and asked to register.

The Trust needs to collect the names and schools of all winners, regardless of age group, and needs a parental email address for Year 10 and Year 12 winners. These contact details will be used to inform the students about opportunities open to them. In addition, we would like to track our winners’ degree choices and career paths. The Student Letter includes the data protection statement we would like you to use.

A spreadsheet for collating the required student information is available for download. Please use this spreadsheet so we can easily collect and collate data from all of the events.

The Trust would also like to collect diversity data on the students attending for monitoring purposes. Students should be asked to complete the Ogden diversity survey online during the process (this can be in advance when registering for the event, on the night by volunteers with tablets, or afterwards with any follow up you do). Please use this link:

You can use online methods for collecting data, registering attendees, and sending out invitations if you prefer. Each child can invite one teacher in addition to two guests. Please remember to include directions to your site.

  • Produce certificates and prizes

Outreach Officers will be responsible for sourcing the prizes; the Ogden Trust will provide funding to the value of £25 for each prize-winner (£10 for Year 6 or 7) for books or book tokens.

Use the certificate template provided by the Trust to produce a hard copy certificate for each winner. Book tokens of the appropriate value should be purchased for each winner through a distributer of your choice, but you must keep the receipt to submit with the invoice.

  • Arrange a photographer for the evening

Book a professional photographer to attend and take individual photos of each of the winners (with their guests if appropriate), a group shot and general event photos. The Trust will contribute up to £200 of the cost. If you are planning to to send photos to media outlets you may wish to look at the photo guide so you can take the most appropriate shots.

During the event:

  • Circulate

Speak to the students before the awards ceremony in order to get to know more about them. Collect the data as needed.

  • Photography

It may be necessary to re-obtain consent from parents (they may change their mind between registering and attending), so please ensure you have this form ready for them to sign on the night.

  • Welcome and introduction

If you have to introduce the event we have produced some useful pointers to help you get started with your 'spiel'.

After the event:

  • Photographs

Send individual prize photos to each winner and to their schools if required. 

  • Information for Amnah

Send Amnah scans/screenshots/pdfs of a signed Registration Form (from the Student Letter) showing that parents have been informed of the Trust’s legitimate interest as to the use of their data, and that photo consent has been given.

Send Amnah the completed SPOTY spreadsheet.

ONE invoice should be submitted for a grant payable to your university for the cost of the event. The funding should be listed as a grant and invoiced at zero VAT. The grant will cover the cost of catering at the event, up to £10 per head (max. of £1,500), plus photography (up to £200), and the cost of the prizes (book tokens up to £25 per Year 10 or 12 winner, up to £10 per Year 6 or 7 winner). Departmental budgets should cover fees for student helpers, speaker expenses etc. Receipts and invoices must be attached as evidence of the costs.

Invoices will only be processed AFTER Amnah has received the relevant information.

  • Media

Local newspaper and media outlets may well be interested in featuring this event. In partnership with out PR agency, Third Sector, we have produced a template document to use if you want to release pictures to the media, as well as a guide to help you engage with local outlets and a brief for producing pictures that are media friendly.

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