West Central Scotland

Ronna Montgomery

Ronna Montgomery
Teacher Network Team Leader in Scotland
Location: G61
Email: ronnamontgomery@gmail.com

I have taught physics in Scottish schools for many years, spending most of my career in Bearsden Academy. Having been an expert on virtually everything concerned with teaching physics and the SQA exam System, I have spent the last few years making sure that my knowledge and understanding of Curriculum for Excellence and the SQA exam system are as current as they can be. Which is not always an easy task.
I have worked on many Committees and working groups over the years and have made a solid, quiet and often not too quiet, contribution to many initiatives, ideas and practices.
In 2007, I was awarded an IOP Teacher of Physics Award.
In 2017, I was awarded an IOP Honorary Fellowship.
Currently, I am Teacher of Physics at Bearsden Academy.

Professional interest
I have been interested in the Institute of Physics Teachers’ Network, since I first heard of the proposal to develop it and I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of it all since the beginning and to have had the privilege of looking after the Scottish Network for most of that time.
So, what questions have I asked myself over that time? I have asked: how do I stem the flow of my pupils into biology with its young, trendy teachers or into technological studies, which the pupils perceive to be easier, when I have fewer and fewer physicists to teach and inspire them? How do I stem the flow of engineering graduates into teaching technological studies when they could be teaching physics? How do I stop the flow of potential physics students or even physics graduates into the financial sector? When I first asked these questions, I was considering my impact on the pupils in my school, for many years now I have been considering our impact on Physics Teaching in Scotland.
And then there are girls. As a pupil, I attended an all girls’ school, the West of Scotland had many such schools at that time and the girls were never told that physics was anything other than a girl’s subject! From those schools came a generation of women physics teachers, teachers who inspired me and many other pupils. But more importantly, all these women ensured that, with the men, there were enough physics teachers. With the passage of time we have come back to decent numbers of female physics teachers but it is not enough and I have very much welcomed the IOP Gender Balance initiative and its recent contributions.
The Institute of Physics has given me the opportunity to widen my area of influence and, with my team, I have developed the Teacher Network, the aim being to provide support for physics teachers, probationers and students; to bring more pupils into physics and more physicists, scientists and engineers into teaching, and particularly into physics teaching but we have not done this alone. We have developed broad and strong links with the whole physics community in Scotland and internationally; we have our own forum for Physics Teachers, Sputnik, and we have enabled Scottish Physics Resources to be stored and maintained centrally for us so that they can be accessed by all physics teachers in Scotland.
While I am happy to provide workshops on any number of physics topics, our physics teachers are all registered with GTCS to teach Physics so we are all specialists and this makes the Coordinator job in Scotland somewhat different from elsewhere. I feel that I work best individually addressing concerns and issues which arise within our community, often I will seek advice from experts, and other times I am able to deal with it alone but there are few days where I, or my team, are not tackling some issue or another related to Scottish Physics Education.

Teacher Network workshops

Other workshops

  • Advanced Higher Projects
  • Advanced Higher support
  • Archive learning in the Science Lab
  • Toys and Ducks
  • Learning and teaching – hinge point questions, AfL strategies, literacy across the curriculum
  • Forces and Electricity
  • Teltron tubes

Anything else you would like, given a little bit of notice.

Related information

CPD sessions

The Teacher Network offers a number of CPD sessions that can help put a little extra sparkle into your teaching

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