IOP Press Office information

Why do things keep getting better for physics?

Notes to Editors


For further information about the trend in physics A-levels, contact IOP senior press officer, Joe Winters:

Tel: 020 7470 4815

Mobile: 07946 321473




The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

For a complete set of national results, please go to


Stimulating Physics Network

The Stimulating Physics Network is primarily concerned with the professional development of science teachers to ensure they can confidently convey the wonder of physics to their students. The aim of the Stimulating Physics Network is to provide an inspiring, coherent and sustainable programme of lessons, activities and continuing professional development (CPD) to achieve a step change in the teaching of physics in England.  Working with schools and teachers, we seek to improve the uptake of physics A-level, particularly among girls.


The enhanced network now consists of 37 physics network coordinators and 31 Teaching and Learning Coaches – all knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic specialists who will be overseen and quality assured by the Institute of Physics’ team of physics education experts.


The 68-strong network provides:


  • Global support to physics teachers in all secondary schools, facilitated through the Physics Network Co-ordinators
  • Intensive support to physics teachers in approximately 270 targeted schools, due to grow to 440 schools by 2013, from the Teaching and Learning Coaches


Their work is supported by the national network of Science Learning Centres, providing a regional focus for activities and professional networks, co-ordinated from the National Science Learning Centre in York.


In-school and regionally based activities are complemented by:


  • Residential ‘Summer Schools’ for non-specialist teachers of physics from Partner Schools
  • Large-scale physics events for pupils in Partner Schools – the ‘Ever Wondered Why?’ show
  • A professional networking site – – providing physics teachers with an online space for discussion and CPD
  • Innovative online competitive physics projects which link Year 9 pupils in Partner Schools with A-level physics students across England


Partner Schools receive support and CPD which has been valued at £5,000 per year, for two years.  There is no cost to the school or teachers.


The Stimulating Physics Network also provides a programme of individualised, subject-focused support and mentoring – the Stimulating Physics Support programme – for about 500 new physics teachers each year, through a team of 26 SPN Mentors drawn from the TLC and PNC teams. 


Teachers receive support during both their training year and the critical first two years of teaching.  The objective of this programme is to improve both teacher retention and pupils’ experience of physics by developing a cadre of physics teachers who are confident about their subject area, enthusiastic about classroom teaching, and resilient in the face of the pressures faced by early career teachers. 


This programme builds on the Institute of Physics’ previous experience of supporting teachers through the ‘Physics Enhancement Project’ (PEP) and the ‘Science Additional Specialist Programme’ (SASP).


The Stimulating Physics Network is funded by the Department for Education until March 2014, but the long-term aim is to embed a culture of continuous improvement in physics and science education.


To find out more about the network or to obtain regional contact information, go to


If you are interested in becoming a SPN Partner School, please contact the External Liaison Officer in your regional Science Learning Centre.


The Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all.


It has a worldwide membership of around 45 000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policymakers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics. Go to

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