The aim of the Stimulating Physics Network is to increase the number of young people studying physics at A-level and beyond. This is vital to the future economic success of this country. A 2011 survey for the CBI revealed the widespread shortages in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. Research undertaken for the Science Council by TBR showed that science has become increasingly important across all sectors of the UK economy and society.
The 2010 Schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, set out a clear commitment by the Government to increase the uptake of mathematics and the sciences and, more specifically, support the teaching and learning of physics.
Through the Stimulating Physics Network, teachers are supported in developing their professional skills to enable them to be more effective in the classroom, and to improve the educational experience for pupils. This is essential to raise the profile and perceived value of physics in schools; to close the gap between the number of boys and girls who choose to study physics A-level; and to increase the uptake of A-level physics across all groups, particularly those students living in disadvantaged areas.
There are three main elements to the Stimulating Physics Network, based around three distinct field teams of highly skilled and experienced physics practitioners. All forms of support are provided at no cost to teachers or schools.
1. The Teacher Network
Over 35 Physics Network Co-ordinators provide support for physics teachers in all secondary schools in England.
2. SPN Partner Schools
Over 30 Teaching and Learning Coaches support over 350 selected SPN Partner Schools, developing and facilitating a two-year programme of CPD tailored to the professional needs of each school’s physics department and its teachers.
SPN partner schools have access to:
3. Stimulating Physics Support (SPS)
Over 25 SPS mentors provide light-touch mentoring to physics teachers in the early stages of their career, including the period of initial training and the first two years as a qualified teacher. The objective is to develop the pedagogical proficiency of these teachers and support the retention of physics teachers in the profession.
A support network for teachers and pupils of physics in England run by the Institute of Physics and the Science Learning Centres.
An online community with over 6000 professional users