Who teaches physics

There is a shortage of specialist physics teachers in schools

It is estimated that less than a fifth of science teachers in UK schools have a physics specialist background, despite the subject making up a third of the science curriculum.

This means that most chemists and biologists will find themselves expected to teach physics to Key Stage 3.  Many will also teach it to Key Stage 4 and some even at Key Stage 5. This is due to a chronic shortage of physics teachers, and it is a very sad fact that there are now a number of schools with no physics specialist. However, the government is aware of this fact and is now trying to turn the situation around by promoting subject specialism and recruiting more trainee physics teachers.

In the meanwhile, don’t despair! Make sure you’re aware of how much specialist physics teacher capacity there is in the school and think about whether this will be enough to help you to be confident with the physics you are expected to teach.

There is plenty of support for non-specialists teaching physics. The IOP’s Supporting Physics Teaching materials are a good place to start.