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V2 Intro to the Stimulating Physics Network
David Cameronon 26 July 2013
Transcript of V2 Intro to the Stimulating Physics Network
An introduction to the Stimulating Physics Network
What is SPN?
Background & Objectives
A project funded by the Department for Education to develop the teaching and learning of physics in secondary schools.
Within this, we aim to:
Raise the profile and perceived value of physics in schools
Support the professional development of physics teachers
Develop pupils' perception of physics as exciting, accessible, aspirational and relevant to their lives
...as measured by an increase in the uptake of physics A-level, especially by girls.
The Impact of SPN
Conclusion: SPN in the future
Partnerships, links & collaborations
National network of Science Learning Centres
National Science Learning Centre
IOP Teacher Network
Various independent schools
Teacher Development Trust
National Space Centre; Planethunters (Chicago)
SEPnet (South East Physics Network)
SEPnet-SPN Priority Offer
Current contract runs to 31 March 2014
IOP and MyScience will be entering a joint bid in 2013 to continue operating SPN in 2014, and beyond ('phase 4')
Discussions are underway as to the form SPN will take in phase 4
We are interested in further links and collaborations, especially with higher education and with Teaching Schools.
History & Development
SPN builds on the experience and expertise of the Institute of Physics in supporting physics education.
SPN has been operational on a national scale since September 2009.
Original contract ran to March 2011, the contract has been renewed by DfE twice.
Funding was increased in 2012 to allow an expansion of scale and type of activities
Total funding for phase 3: £3.7million
Stimulating Physics Support
Feedback and Testimonials from teachers in SPN Partner Schools and Summer Schools
Impact of SPN on post-16 uptake
SPN in the research literature
Reasons for the success of SPN
Pupil Engagement activities
SPN Partner Schools can access a range of activities including:
The 'Ever Wondered Why?' show
Large-scale (e.g. year-group) physics show usually led by the TLC, supported by teachers from the science department
The Exoplanet Physics Project
A structured, competitive science club project focused on the physics involved in the discovery of extra-solar planets, aimed at Year 9 pupils.
Explicit links to KS3 learning objectives.
Runs each term over an eight-week programme.
Ideal for seeding a new science club.
Pupils are linked to sixth-form ‘Advisors’ drawn from the IOP’s 16-19 Membership, via an e-mentoring platform.
Final project submissions are judged by representatives from the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Planethunters groups in Chicago.
Other provision on request...
Partner Schools can access a range of other activities in negotiation with their TLC. Previous examples have included:
The IOP ‘Ashfield Music Festival’
Careers in Physics events
Medical Physics classes
A-level taster lessons
Since April 2012 the network has facilitated over 31,000 teacher-hours of CPD and engaged over 20,000 pupils.
Feedback on TLC workshops is over 92% positive
Between 2011 and 2012 the increase in progression to AS-level physics in the 2010-12 cohort of SPN Partner Schools was more than double that of other eligible secondary schools.
From a lower starting point in 2011, SPN Partner Schools are now seeing more pupils progressing to AS-level physics than other schools.
The increase in progression to AS-level physics in SPN Partner Schools is particularly marked for girls, with a 16.54% increase in numbers in a single year.
SPN Partner Schools typically serve areas of more severe socio-economic deprivation, as reflected in the average proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals.
A large-scale Gatsby-funded research project into ‘Modes of Mentoring and Coaching’ was recently completed. This looked at SPN and specifically the TLCs working as ‘external mentors’ to non-specialist teachers of physics. The final report concluded:
‘We have seen that external mentoring has helped produce more informed, more adventurous and more committed teachers of physics who are ‘not just teaching by the book’ and who are more likely to remain in teaching. The potential long term impact should not be underestimated: improved physics teaching and more engaged pupils today can lead to more able physicists and teachers of physics in the future.’
Hobson, A.J., McIntyre, J., Ashby, P., Hayward, V., Stevens, A. and Malderez, A. (2012) The nature, impact and potential of external mentoring for teachers of physics and other subjects in England. London: Gatsby Charitable Foundation.
Some unsolicited comments from teachers in SPN Partner Schools:
"The impact of Neil’s visits in my department has been nothing short of astounding. He has left teachers and pupils positively buzzing with enthusiasm for physics and science. Pupils have referred to the sessions he ran in our annual stakeholder survey. We are already incorporating some of Neil’s ideas and resources into the enrichment of our curriculum." - Head of Science, SPN Partner School
"What you showed me was especially useful because I was immediately in a position to make massive improvements not only to my own teaching, but also, help teachers improve their practice, too.
By using methods you've shown me, we were able to help our students get some of the best A level results in the school. A similar thing happened at key stage 4, as well. In fact, the uptake of A level physics at this school has nearly doubled this year!In addition to that, I was recently observed by OFSTED and by using what you've shown me, they judged my lesson to be outstanding." - Head of Physics, SPN Partner School
The project works with state-funded secondary schools in England.
We invite schools to become 'Partner Schools' on the basis of various criteria and data markers, including low post-16 uptake of physics A-level, significant gender imbalance and high % FSM.
Each school can access support for two years.
Currently there are about 400 SPN Partner Schools across England.
Each Partner School has an assigned 'Teaching and Learning Coach', or TLC.
TLCs have a track record as excellent physics teachers with experience of teacher development.
Many have experience as Heads of Science, Advanced Skills Teachers, local authority advisers or senior leaders in schools.
Each TLC supports 12 Partner Schools in their local area.
Following the expansion of SPN in 2012 there are a total of 35 TLCs across England.
Four-day residential events exclusively for physics teachers at SPN Partner Schools.
Aimed specifically at 'non-specialists', to develop subject knowledge, pedagogy and confidence.
An intensive programme of CPD led by a team of TLCs.
Includes social activities and inspiring evening speakers.
All costs & expenses covered by SPN and (in York) the ENTHUSE Trust, including a suggested bursary of £100 for each teacher.
Highly popular and successful.
In 2013, there will be 3 Summer Schools for 160 teachers in total.
23-26 July, 2013
National Science Learning Centre, York
19-22 August, 2013
Homerton College, Cambridge
22-25 August, 2013
St Anne's College, Oxford
New in phase 3, launched summer 2012.
A team of 26 'SPS Mentors' provides personalised, pedagogical support to 800 trainee and NQT physics teachers across England.
Mentors are drawn from the TLC team, and IOP Teacher Network coordinators.
They act as 'external mentors' - outside of school or ITT management and assessment hierarchies.
As well as personal support, mentors run local CPD workshops, events and social activities to encourage peer networks and support.
The objective is to develop expert and reflective practitioners, and improve retention in teaching.
SPN is built on the principle that effective & sustained CPD is at the heart of achieving improvement in pupil learning.
We support all teachers of physics, but particularly 'non-specialist' physics teachers.
SPN support is bespoke, on-site, and tailored to the needs of each school, department and teacher.
We believe the project is successful because the activity of the TLCs reflect what research shows is most effective in teacher development:
Conducted over an extended period;
Drawing on external experts;
Engaging teachers sufficiently to deepen their knowledge and develop their skills;
Challenge prevailing discourses and misconceptions in teaching and learning;
Facilitate teachers talking to teachers;
Ensure the support of school leadership;
Constantly reflect on own effectiveness as a coach and mentor;
Maintain an unwavering focus on pupil learning.