Teaching Physics out-of-field – pilot programme

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      From September 2021, IOP will be running a substantial DfE funded pilot programme for eligible teachers in English schools, helping them to develop the knowledge and skills to teach physics with confidence.

      Full details and application link follow below.

      Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching (SKPT) – introduction 

      Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching (SKPT) is a substantial blended-learning course for science teachers within the English state sector who want to develop their physics subject knowledge and pedagogy. The course focuses on the core areas of Forces, Electricity and Energy and will be delivered over two terms from September 2021. SKPT is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) for eligible teachers in England. 


      To be eligible for SKPT you must 

      • have QTS with a subject specialism not including physics; 
      • be teaching physics (modules / content) to KS3 and/or KS4 students in a state school in England.  

      SKPT is free for eligible teachers, and applications can only be considered from eligible teachers.  

      Course outline 

      The SKPT programme will cover 3 modules: Forces, Electricity and Energy. 

      Participating teachers will be expected to commit about 30 hours to each of the modules, of which approximately 18 hours will be asynchronous online learning and 12 hours will be delivered live, both in person and online (as interactive tutorials). 

      The asynchronous content will be delivered on the OpenLearn Create platform. 

      You will have a SKPT Tutor (from the SKPT Hub School) who will support your development online and in person. 

      When will it start? 

      SKPT programmes will start in September 2021. 

      When will the face-to-face sessions take place? 

      These will be decided by the SKPT Tutor and the Hub School. Successful applicants will be informed of dates and times of face-to-face training sessions and online tutorials by them. 

      What is expected from the face-to-face sessions? 

      Each of the 3 modules will contain the equivalent of three half-day sessions (which may be run as a whole day and a half day, or as three separate events); these will usually take place in the SKPT Hub School.  

       Where are the SKPT Hub Schools? 

      Before applying for a place, please check this list of SKPT Hub locations (availability last updated 10/09/2021):

      • Yorkshire and the North East: Durham (good availability), York (excellent availability), Leeds (good availability), Sheffield (West and South-East, both good availability)
      • Greater Manchester: Bolton (good availability), Bury (excellent availability), Wigan (good availability)
      • Midlands: Stoke-on-Trent (very limited availability), Lincoln (good availability), Wellingborough (good availability)
      • London and South East: Bury St Edmunds (good availability), Chelmsford (good availability), London (N11, very limited availability), Faversham (good availability)
      • South and South West: Oxford (good availability), Guildford (very limited availability), Bristol (very limited availability), Truro (excellent availability)

      Is SKPT suitable for NQT/RQTs?

      NQTs in September 2021 are eligible to apply for SKPT.  The course does require a significant time commitment, and some experience of teaching physics will be helpful. We would urge NQTs to consider this carefully before applying. Nonetheless, applications are welcomed from teachers at any stage in their career 

      Course completion / certification 

      Teachers who complete the course will be sent a certificate by the IOP. Course completion will require participants to 

      • attend the face-to-face sessions and the online tutorials,  
      • engage with tasks from the online component of the course, including: responding to online discussions; reflecting on personal practice in an online journal; reading and viewing online content. 

      The course will also ask teachers to attempt questions to develop mathematical and problem-solving skills, but these will not be used as part of the completion criteria. 

      There will be an additional opportunity to undertake IOP micro-accreditation for each unit. This will involve taking an online test, which will cover subject and pedagogical knowledge for that unit. This will be certificated separately at the end of the SKPT course. 

      Financial support 

      To facilitate attendance at face-to-face sessions, a cover bursary’ (£350 per participant) is available. On completion of the course, schools will be invited to invoice IOP for each successful participantWe expect schools to make a commitment to their teachers who participate in SKPT, to support them in attending and completing the course. 

      When teachers commit to participating in SKPT they are expected to complete the course, and they should be aware of the time involved in undertaking the course 

      What happens if SKPT is over-subscribed? 

      Should we need to award priority for places, we will consider: 

      • the percentage of students eligible for free school meals in your school 
      • the amount of physics within your teaching timetable 

      We may also take into consideration anything you tell us in your application form about your situation. 

      Can I attend other IOP CPD? 


      1. We encourage all participants to attend an IOP Regional CPD Day – these really help you to become a part of (and feel part of) the physics teaching communityAlong with any other IOP online CPD sessions, they will give you more opportunity to develop your subject specific and pedagogical knowledge. Whilst these should not be seen as an optional replacement for dedicated SKPT sessions, you should record attendance at these in your learning log, and this can be counted towards your SKPT CPD time.
      2. Teachers in SPN Partner Schools can (and should) continue to attend sessions run for their school/department. Again, these can enhance significantly your subject specific teaching skills and confidence. 

      What happens if I miss a face-to-face/live session? 

      There is an expectation for teachers to attend the equivalent of 35 hours of “live” sessions, at least 30 hours of which should be dedicated SKPT sessionsWe recognise that it may not be possible to attend all the scheduled sessionsWhilst attendance at other IOP CPD sessions can be counted in lieu of occasional sessions missedtime accrued by attending other IOP sessions should not be seen as an optional replacement for attendance at dedicated SKPT sessions. 

      How do I apply?  

      Please ensure that your school is aware of (and supports) your interest in SKPT; should you be successful in your application to join SKPT, your school will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding before beginning the course in September. 

      To complete the application form, you will need: 

      Your teacher reference number (previously also known as: QTS, GTC, DfE, DfES or DCSF number – you can find further details about how to find this here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-a-reminder-for-a-teacher-reference-number-trn) 

      • The name and postcode of your school. 
      • The amount of physics on your current timetable 
      • How long you have been teaching (and teaching physics) 
      • Your QTS teaching specialism 
      BOOKING DEADLINE EXTENDED to 8am Thursday 23 September. Applicants will be contacted within 2 working days of application.


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