Five schools are styled 'SPN Link School with Adviser' in new teacher CPD move

27 March 2015

A new model for teacher development is being launched within the Stimulating Physics Network (SPN) as five schools have been designated as “SPN Link School with Adviser” for their localities.

Five schools are styled “SPN Link School with Adviser” in new teacher CPD move

They will work with their local schools to support Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for all teachers of physics in their areas and each will have a designated teacher leading CPD sessions.

This model of school-based CPD marks a new development for the SPN, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and managed by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in partnership with Myscience through the National Science Learning Network.

Currently, a team of Teaching and Learning Coaches (TLCs) provides a bespoke programme of CPD for teachers of physics, and pupil engagement activities, in each of the SPN’s 400 Partner Schools, as well as hosting termly workshops for all physics teachers at each of its 30 Link Schools. The new model is intended to make the SPN programme more sustainable.

The IOP will be supporting the SPN Link Schools, providing coordination and leadership in terms of physics knowledge, pedagogy and curriculum, as well as project management and impact evaluation. The SPN Link Schools will be able to draw on the IOP’s and TLCs’ collective experience in supporting, developing and coaching teachers of physics.

The IOP developed the new model in collaboration with the DfE, the National College of School Leadership, the National Science Learning Network and the Teaching Schools Council. It dovetails with the government’s desire to see schools leading on teacher development while providing a framework to support the providers and ensure quality.

The five schools awarded SPN Link School with Adviser status in this first wave of the development are: Skipton Girls' High School in Bradford, Darrick Wood School in Bromley, Truro and Penwith College in Cornwall, St Joseph's College in Staffordshire and Wildern School in Southampton.

Julie Slater, national representative of the Teaching School Council, said: “The Teaching School Council is delighted to work in collaboration with the Institute of Physics in order to promote the importance of high quality physics teaching in schools. Working with the Institute of Physics to appoint SPN link schools with advisers demonstrates how the school-led system can impact on children’s learning through high quality CPD and networking. The Teaching School Council extends its congratulations to the five schools who have been awarded the status and we look forward to sharing the impact of their work through the Teaching School networks both regionally and nationally.”

Frances Saunders, president of the IOP, said: “We're very excited to be starting this work with the five schools spread right across England, serving as centres of expertise for neighbouring schools to benefit from. Our Stimulating Physics Network has proven a huge success. We've seen a 10% increase in the number of students choosing to study physics at A-level in schools that have been visited by our physics coaches, compared to 5% nationally. This announcement highlights the programme's evolution and sees it step into a more sustainable model that will allow us to continue to raise the standard of and participation in classroom physics in England.”