Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship

If you are a practising teacher, and you have an idea about physics teaching that you have always wanted to develop, then the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship can help you bring the idea to fruition.


The Fellowship will provide you with a grant of £2,000, plus up to an additional £1,500 for travel expenses, material/software expenses or to pay for services that will help you develop your idea into something that other teachers can use.

By the end of your research project we would like your idea to be made available to the wider physics teaching community, for example via an article in Physics Education. As part of the support we provide to Fellowship recipients, the Institute can provide links to physics education researchers and a network of experienced teachers.

The Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship is open to applicants who are practising teachers working in a UK educational institution (schools and colleges) catering for students in the age range 11 to 19 years-old.

How do I apply?

Complete the application form and submit it by email to Please place “Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship Application” in the email’s subject line. Applications will only be accepted by email.


Case Study: Peer mentoring and its effect on the pupil premium cohort, Alan McKeegan

Alan McKeegan was awarded the fellowship to investigate the effect of peer mentoring on Y11 and Y9 pupils with a special focus on the consequences for pupil premium students.

Alan McKeegan said “I am hoping to use Peer mentoring to increase the number of pupils who choose to follow Physics at A Level and beyond. In particular I am passionate about increasing the number of Pupil Premium pupils who follow this route (this is an area that I am in charge of at Wade Deacon High School).

This fellowship has enabled me to provide resources, staff time, refreshments for a launch and celebration event. Hopefully there will also be a trip accompanied by parents to a Russell Group university.”

Summary of his project:

The Sutton Trust has shown that the impact of peer mentoring can be very positive on academic outcomes and there is some evidence that it is likely to benefit pupil premium students even more. The project will identify a cohort of Y9 and Y11 pupils to take part in the study and measure their performance against a control group. The students providing the mentoring will be briefed on peer mentoring techniques and a programme of study will be created for them to deliver.  It is hoped that the results generated and techniques used will be easily transferrable and replicable at other schools.

Alan McKeegan


About Alan McKeegan

Alan McKeegan is currently Assistant Vice-Principal at Wide Deacon High School in Widnes. Taking a more unconventional route into Physics teaching, he originally took a Biological Sciences degree, before recognising the chronic shortage of physics teachers and re-training as one. When asked what he enjoys much about teaching, he responded: “Pupils asking questions that I don’t understand! The pupils get a real sense of accomplishment by realising that teachers don’t know everything!”

Case Study: Producing physics films to aid student learning, Lewis Matheson

Lewis Matheson was awarded the fellowship to make high quality physics teaching films and evaluate how students used the films to support their own understanding.

Lewis Matheson said “The Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship will allow me to spend the time looking at the impact on student learning both in my own school and other schools across the country. I am hoping that other teachers will also use these videos with their students so I have a range of case studies for how they are used. I will publish my research in Physics Education next year.”

Summary of his project:

Lewis has already produced various online video tutorials ( to aid students with their understanding of the physics curriculum. This fellowship will enable him to produce professional videos that span the Awarding Bodies’ specifications.

In the ever-expanding technological age, this study will examine how students use, find and access these online sources and what technologies they use to support their studies. Ultimately, the project will look at the impact of filmed teaching content on students’ learning.

Lewis Matheson


About Lewis Matheson

Lewis Matheson is currently head of physics at Beechen Cliff School in Bath. Lewis previously worked for Atkins, before joining the military and working on the frontline in Afghanistan. After having his first baby, Lewis decided to train as a physics teacher and has remained at Beechen Cliff ever since completing his PGCE. When he is not teaching, he enjoys leading extra-curricular activities such as the Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh award.

As he says: “There are some pupils who I have now taught for five years during their GCSEs and into the Sixth Form and to see how they have progressed is amazing. You also see the results of your hard work and that what we do can make a large impact on their lives.”

Case Study: Hardware for hard-up schools, Stuart St John

Stuart St John was awarded the Fellowship to develop a cost-effective interface for recording and making sounds using a computer.

Stuart said: “I was able to spend time on developing these ideas thanks to the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship awarded by the Institute of Physics from the Trust set up by in Anthony's name. I am grateful to the Trust and the Institute for this opportunity."

Summary of his project:

The purpose of this work was to investigate ways in which everyday computers can be used in schools to fulfil several of the roles of more expensive, specialised laboratory equipment for teaching and learning purposes. The brief adopted was to keep things as straightforward as possible so that any school science department with a few basic tools can copy the ideas presented.


The project has produced a simple, safe input device to enable use of a computer as an oscilloscope and a conversion of external speakers into a signal generator. They are not without their limitations, but the intention is that they may provide opportunities for hands-on learning in schools where budgets are very limited.

Several teaching ideas are outlined, with pointers for further development. It is hoped that interest in the project may generate further application of the ideas to the teaching of high school physics.

A full write-up of the project was published in Physics Education.

About Stuart St John:

Stuart St John is the Head of Physics at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith. When not teaching physics he likes tinkering around and mending things, particularly bikes, on which he loves to explore the wilder parts of Cumbria. He also enjoys playing a variety of musical instruments.

Case Study: Student attitudes to physics practicals, Caitríona McKnight

Caitríona McKnight was awarded the Fellowship to investigate girls’ engagement with practical work across the three sciences.
Caitriona McKnight

Caitríona said: “This project has allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the factors affecting engagement in physics, particularly in practical work and to identify differences in approach and views of boys and girls. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my own teaching pedagogy as well as learning from the research of others. This has enabled me to apply strategies to increase engagement in my own classroom.

I am grateful to the IOP for supporting me in my project both financially and with regular correspondence. I am also grateful, in particular, to James de Winter (Institute of Education, Cambridge) for supporting me with data analysis.”

Summary of her project:

An action research study was carried to explore the attitudes of GCSE students to physics practicals and explore differences (if any) between boys and girls. The research was prompted by a study carried out in India in August 2013. They concluded from their survey that “there is significant difference in the attitude of boys and girls towards practical work”.

Questions in an initial survey focused on student opinions on the importance and quantity of practical work, and their thoughts on: putting equipment together, having written instructions, and experiencing teacher demonstrations.

About Caitríona McKnight:

Caitríona McKnight is a teacher of physics at the Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge. She was born and educated in Ireland, graduating at Trinity College Dublin in 1988. She travelled to England soon after, initially working as a computer analyst in Harlow, Essex and later as a transportation planner in Reading, Berkshire.

As she could not postpone her childhood dream of teaching, and following in her father’s footsteps, she completed a PGCE at the Department of Education, Cambridge in 1993 and she has been teaching ever since. When not teaching, Caitríona takes every opportunity to travel the world.

Anthony Waterhouse and the Fellowship

The Institute is extremely grateful to Helen Parsons (Anthony Waterhouse’s sister) for generously endowing the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship; Helen describes its background and inception:

“My father Vincent Waterhouse was first a physics lecturer at Ludlow Grammar and then a physics lecturer at Furzedown Teacher Training College. He passed on his love of science to my brother Anthony who went up to Cambridge (Trinity) to read Electrical Engineering, on an industrial scholarship.

In 1969 he visited South Africa with the Dryden drama group as "props man". While up Table Mountain he missed the last cable car and took a path down the mountain which he had been told was easy. Tragically the path was not clear and he fell and killed himself. My parents and I never got over his loss and this is why I am giving this money in memory of him.”