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Secondary: physics

Who is this course for?

This course is for passionate physicists who would like to share their subject with young people to empower them to go on to live more fulfilling lives. You may have just finished your degree, Masters, or PhD, spent time in industry, worked to some capacity in schools already, or be completing a successful career and would like to spend some purposeful years sharing your experience.

Why teach physics?

Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. Science is a fundamental part of our everyday lives, both in the way that we think and the way that we live. Our students are growing into a world of increasingly sophisticated applications of science and the vast majority of careers will involve at least some degree of scientific understanding. Physics has a particularly crucial role in our rapidly developing world; the explosive growth of our communication systems, the rapid development of new energy sources and our (desperately needed) development of more sustainable vehicles are just a few of these.

The ability to think scientifically is also necessary for students to fluently interpret the world and solve problems. Above all else, however, physics is a subject of great beauty, of simple patterns that lead to staggering outcomes. We hope that you’ll choose to teach science to share your passion for this wonderful subject.

How will I learn?

The Inspiration Trust draws together a unique range of science departments from a very special group of schools, including a sixth form specialist maths and science college, exciting new free schools, rapidly developing schools in challenging areas, and established high-performing schools.

You would be learning your profession within the context of a trust that is continually pushing the envelope in terms of contemporary pedagogy while applying an unparalleled determination to improve the life chances of students in East Anglia.

Your science studies will be led by two highly experienced and inspirational tutors. Both have worked as heads of subject, heads of department, and senior leaders. Between them they share experience of classroom research, writing exam papers, writing a PGCE course, and the use of ICT in education at an international level. Both tutors still teach on a weekly basis and will continue to do so as they train you.

We will provide you with a science specialist as a mentor on placement. Your school-based mentors will be experienced and enthusiastic science teachers. They will have read the same books and research papers that you will study and will be enthusiastic to discuss them with you. They will be with you in the classroom, guiding and advising until you are ready to take classes on your own. They will set you weekly targets and help you reflect on your practice. At your placement school you will also have a professional tutor who will deliver educational studies content to all trainees in that schools.

What skills will I develop?

You will develop a cutting-edge approach to highly effective teaching. With a clear focus on cognitive psychology and a knowledge-rich curriculum, you will develop a teaching style that is new and highly effective. We won’t ask you to spend countless hours devising games and activities that make the delivery of science into a cluttered show in which the teacher works harder than the students. We want you centre stage, enthusing about physics, telling the students about your experience of physics. Carefully selecting the key knowledge that they need to learn and using clear explanation, carefully selected diagrams, animations, and demonstrations to gain absolute clarity in your transmission. 

We want you to lead progress in the class, using a variety of assessment techniques to ensure that everyone not only understood the purpose of the lesson but also can remember it, yesterday’s lesson, and the lessons preceding that. We would like you to be a curator of your students' scientific knowledge, to build it with care and passion to the point that they can apply it to demanding scientific problems. We would like you to lead your students to learn science beyond the dry demands of an exam board; to give them a passion for progressing to A Level and degree studies, or to go out into the world and use their science in unique and useful ways.

You will develop your ability to ask and answer questions. Strong physics teaching involves identifying and addressing misconceptions. A question such as ‘Why does the moon appear to change shape?’ will produce a wide range of answers and lay the foundations for addressing key misconceptions. We will also explore some examples of the types of questions the students are likely to ask you, such as ‘What actually is energy?’, ‘How can atoms be mainly empty space when this table feels so solid?’, and ‘How can we travel to other solar systems?’ It is these ‘out of the blue’ questions that will allow you to pass on the symmetry and beauty of your subject.

You will learn to lead highly effective class practicals and demonstrations. Well-planned practicals will ensure that students can explore and extend their understanding safely, with passion and precision. You will be trained in a purpose-built lab before taking your skills out to the placement schools, developing a confident and effective approach to classic physics demonstrations and experiments. You will also explore the appropriate use of data loggers, student response systems, and computer-based animations and simulations.

Throughout the course you will develop the subject and professional knowledge to join the wider teaching community as an able practitioner, research-led, confident in practical work, and able to communicate sensitively with students from all walks of life. You will become an excellent teacher.

How much funding will I get?

Fee-paying trainees will be eligible for a bursary of £26,000 to help fund the course. You could also apply for a scholarship of £28,000. You can find more information about funding and bursaries on the UCAS website and Get Into Teaching.

You may be able to apply for a student loan to help pay your tuition fee or living costs - please visit www.gov.uk/student-finance for further information.