Winners of the 2017 Teachers of Physics Award

Huw Smith
Ysgol Friars, Bangor
Awarded in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the teaching of physics

Huw Smith has an unwaveringly cheerful disposition and his interest in and commitment to developing his pupils is exemplary. Full of energy and enthusiasm, he knows his pupils well and his classroom is open every lunchtime to pupils who need help. He is always encouraging and reassuring, inspiring his pupils to believe that they can succeed in physics and pushing them to achieve more. He takes every opportunity to enable pupils to experience the applications of physics, encouraging them to enter competitions in which they have achieved success. He has worked with Bangor University to engage sixth-form and Key Stage 4 students. As head of physics, he has grown an already-successful department, so that the uptake of AS and A-level physics has almost doubled and around a quarter of sixth-formers now take physics, including this year 16 girls.

Martyn Crawshaw
Millburn Academy, Inverness
Awarded in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the teaching of physics

Martyn is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher who instils a thirst for knowledge in his students and enjoys the challenge of presenting new concepts to them. He has made a very significant impact on his school’s science faculty and the wider school community, and is seen as a “go-to” person for physics support in the north of Scotland, particularly by schools with single-teacher departments, new staff or challenging issues. His students appreciate his engaging and encouraging teaching style and his ability to relate physics to life outside the classroom, while he is a supportive and challenging mentor to new teachers. Throughout his extensive efforts in organising visits, links with industry and hosting CPD, his work-rate has been phenomenal while his ability to empathise with students and colleagues has been exceptional.

Dr Orla Condren
Dominican College Sion Hill, County Dublin
Awarded in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the teaching of physics

Orla is an excellent teacher who is continuously exploring and innovating in the classroom and is held in very high esteem throughout the school community. Her passion and enthusiasm for her subject is evident in the number of students who take physics to Leaving Certificate, which has been increasing each year, and she is a dynamic head of the science department and a valuable mentor to student teachers. She uses her in-depth knowledge of technology to inspire a love for physics and her background as a medical physicist enables her to make connections between the curriculum and real-world applications, contributing to her teaching success. Through forging strong links with the physics department at University College Dublin she has lectured student teachers, supervised them in classroom practice and developed opportunities for transition year students to pursue research projects there as work experience.

Paul Cooper
Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, Crosby
Awarded for outstanding achievement in promoting the progression of pupils to A-level Physics

Paul Cooper is an exceptionally talented teacher who with great enthusiasm and energy has promoted the subject throughout the school. He is known as approachable and friendly, helping individuals in numerous ways. His inspirational leadership of a talented department has provided a rich experience for pupils both inside and outside the classroom, including lectures, university visits and regular trips to CERN. He has worked closely with groups such as the Ogden Trust, and developed links with schools within the region, hosting physics events for students that have increased the numbers of students studying A-level physics. He has been instrumental in creating matched funded bursary places at the school, and in his time as head of the physics department he has helped develop the careers of many other physics teachers, sharing his great love and enthusiasm for the subject.

Stephen Gascoigne
Wickersley School and Sports College, Rotherham
Awarded for achieving outstanding attainment of pupils in A-level Physics

Stephen is an outstanding physics teacher who works tirelessly for students of all abilities. He encourages students through practical activities that build both thinking and practical skills, encouraging them to deeply engage with key physics concepts. He runs drop-in sessions every week that allow students to come to ask for help or to discuss physics in general. He has encouraged students to take part in the Physics Olympiad and has introduced an astronomy GCSE as an enrichment activity and to promote engagement. He has organised a trip for students to visit CERN and worked with other schools to support their teaching of physics at GCSE. As head of physics he has developed new strategies to improve students’ enjoyment and attainment in physics and as a result numbers of students taking A-level physics have increased.

Dr Zen Rogers
Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith
Awarded for outstanding achievement in promoting the progression of girls to A-level Physics

Zen is the enthusiastic head of physics at Latymer Upper School. He leads a superb team of outstandingly dedicated teachers. Between them they deliver inspirational lessons that nurture and motivate students to develop genuine intellectual curiosity and love of learning, which has made physics one of the most popular subjects at Latymer Upper. All of the team give generously of their time, running a multitude of extra-curricular activities such as Astronomy Club, Physics Forum, Aerospace Challenge and Physics Olympiad, and trips to CERN and NASA, which make physics relevant, exciting and enjoyable. The growth mindset and excellent examination results that these initiatives engender encourage many students to study physics-related subjects beyond A-level. He is delighted to accept this award on behalf of his department.