Who we are

Physics Partners is a dynamic educational charity with a mission to improve physics teaching in state schools. We support newly qualified teachers, and teachers without a physics qualification, to give better and more exciting lessons, and to inspire pupils to consider taking physics at A-level. Physics underpins a vast range of careers – from engineering through medical research and on to IT-based industries and video games.

How we work

All of our support is free. We use teams of expert trainers, who visit schools to work with teachers and technicians. We help prepare lesson plans, and we train teachers and technicians to conduct practical experiments, using the school’s own equipment. Our support is backed up by mentoring using email and Skype; and we will soon have a free online library of more than 200 experiments, giving step by step instructions, together with notes for teachers, technicians and pupils. All experiments are being cross-referenced to AQA, EDEXCEL, OCR and WJEC.

Why we exist

Physics is essential to our understanding of the universe. It is also the gateway to many of today’s most exciting careers. All pupils with scientific aptitude should have the chance to develop their scientific skills and knowledge. The shortage of qualified physics teachers in the UK is a barrier to many pupils achieving their scientific ambitions. Thousands of lessons are given by teachers without a physics-based degree. We use our expertise to support these teachers to acquire the understanding and confidence to give engaging physics lessons, and to capture the imagination of their pupils for this vitally important subject.

Our history

Nearly ten years ago, our founding trustees recognised the need to improve physics teaching. With help from the Ernest Cook Foundation, we set up pilot schemes to help a small number of schools. We quickly realised that we were meeting a real need. Our method of going into schools and training staff on their own equipment worked well, and has been independently validated. We are now giving support to more than 140 schools.

We are proud to be supported by

Pipe Makers Livery Company
The Mercers’ Company
Roger de Haan
Ogden Trust
Ernest Cook Trust

Testimonials

  • “Physics remains vitally important to our industries, our infrastructure and our economic wellbeing. For all these reasons, and to allow children to explore their scientific curiosity, all pupils deserve the opportunity to experience expert, innovative physics teaching. Physics Partners helps to achieve this important aim by sending its team of expert trainers into schools to support physics teachers and technicians.The work of Physics Partners fills a real gap in educational provision: I have watched with great interest the expansion of its activities and the increasing recognition of its value. As its Patron I wish it continuing and increasing success.”

    Sir Richard Friend
    Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge
  • “As a result of Physics Partners involvement, physics teaching at Harris Academy Chafford Hundred is much stronger, with more students choosing to take it at A Level. We have gained a variety of techniques which we can use in the classroom.”

    Nick Power
    Specialist Leader of Education – Science; Harris Academy Chafford Hundred

OUR SERVICES

In-school training

Free in-school specialised Physics INSET/CPD, 4 – 6 times a year

Mentoring

Regular email and telephone mentoring provided

Specialist instruction

Specialist career physics teachers used as trainers and instructors, with enhanced DBS

Pupil practicals

Enable more regular use of practicals to raise pupil interest, with PowerPoint presentations to accompany each experiment/teaching point

Resource library

Library of illustrated resources differentiated for pupils, teachers, and technicians

Meet exam board requirements

All resources are being referenced to the requirements of AQA, EDEXCEL, OCR and WJEC

OUR TEAM

Christina Astin
Head of Partnerships, King’s School Canterbury

Thomas Cookson (Chairman)
Former Head of King Edward V1 School, Southampton; Sevenoaks School and Winchester College

Sir Michael Jenkins OBE
Former Chair of the Education Committee, Sevenoaks School and former Chief Executive of LIFFE and Chairman of The London Clearing House

Nick England
Former Head of Ryde School, Isle of Wight, and author of numerous physics textbooks

Tony Lyng
Former Head of Brockhill Park College, Folkestone

Krysia Sosin
Head of Science, Buxton School, Waltham Forest

Derek Turner
Former inspector for HMI, Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate

Catherine Klein
Strategy Consultant and former Head of Marketing of UK-based charities

Sir Richard Friend FRS
Cavendish Professor of Physics, Cambridge University

Dr Alan Barr
Professor of Particle Physics, Oxford University

Mary Breen
Headmistress of St Mary’s School Ascot, and previously Head of Physics at Eton College

Jonathan Shephard
A founding trustee of Physics Partners and former CEO of the Independent Schools Council

Liz Swinbank
Fellow in Science Education, University of York

Charles Tracy
Head of Education pre-19 at the Institute of Physics