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2022 Teachers of Physics Award winners

Our Teachers of Physics awards celebrate the achievements of teachers in raising the profile of physics and science in schools across the UK.

Martin Cunniffe 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Martin Cunniffe

St Patrick's Classical School, Navan

Martin is a highly skilled and enthusiastic teacher of physics. His passion for physics and creativity is evident to students and colleagues, and he is committed to ensuring his physics classes and school trips are always enjoyable, entertaining and fun. His dedication has seen significant sustained uptake of the subject at senior level within the school, where he is the only physics teacher. Martin has mentored and encouraged countless student teachers over the years especially those specialising in physics. For twenty years Martin has been on a peer-to-peer continuing professional development team which develops and disseminates resources to physics teachers throughout the country, where numerous teachers have benefitted from his excellent communication skills and his expertise.

Daniel Jones 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Dr Daniel Jones

Monmouth School for Boys, Monmouth

Dan is an exceptional teacher who shows outstanding commitment to his pupils. He gives up an enormous amount of his time outside of lessons to support the less able students in physics. He also works tirelessly to encourage the most able and those who are intellectually curious, inspiring both girls and boys to choose physics as their one science subject. He has given many talks in school, for the wider community, and schools further afield. He is a regular, respected and prolific contributor on Twitter. Dan has helped dozens of trainee and early career teachers over the years as well as supporting other colleagues and technicians. A champion of diversity, Dan has worked hard to inspire more girls to take physics at A-level and has engaged with their sister school to encourage more girls to consider physics and engineering as degrees.

Vanessa McClafferty 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Vanessa McClafferty

Immanuel College, Bushey

Vanessa is a superb classroom practitioner and an able head of faculty. Aiming to make every lesson interesting and relevant, she is known for her use of practical activities, online quizzes, videos, and classroom debates to engage and inspire her students. The impact of her leadership and teaching has been reflected in both the students’ results and the exceptional uptake of the subject at higher levels. She has worked to provide a full and active programme of extra-curricular activities including trips to CERN, involvement with the local Brownie pack, outreach to primary schools and participation in numerous competitions. She regularly runs workshops for colleagues to gain additional skills, and promotes varied collaborations with other departments. Vanessa firmly believes that successful outcomes are achieved with teamwork.

Nicola Marie Percy 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Nicola Marie Percy

Haberdashers' Girls' School, Elstree

Nicola is an exciting and progressive teacher, who pushes the boundaries of technology and has the highest expectations both for her pupils and for herself. Students of all ages love being in her classroom and she plays a key part in encouraging students to explore physics beyond the curriculum. Diversity and inclusion are key concerns for Nicola. She is passionate about giving everyone access to high-quality physics teaching and she volunteers to teach at a local refugee centre. Nicola works tirelessly with colleagues, making them feel highly supported. She peer-coaches the heads within the STEM faculty, addressing the problems and the demands of teaching. She regularly works with other schools, supporting them with assessment, mentoring both primary and secondary colleagues, running "teach-meets" and delivering training with examination boards.

Thomas William-Powlett 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Thomas W. William-Powlett

Birchwood High School, Bishop's Stortford

Thomas is an outstanding teacher whose passion for physics is infectious. Physics is one of the most popular A-level courses in the school with both girls and boys, and his reputation plays a large part in this. He dedicates time to equipping first-generation university applicants to receive offers from the universities with outstanding success. Thomas is determined to ensure that physics is a highly enjoyable and practical subject, and draws upon the widest range of resources to enrich his teaching, and to share with colleagues. During the pandemic, he led whole-staff training on the use of remote learning tools, that enabled them to create high quality lessons. He also produced practical tasks that could be carried out at home. His training sessions upskill staff in a wide variety of activities that they would not otherwise know about. Thomas produces a physics teaching podcast, created to support nonspecialists and solo physics teachers, and has numerous listeners from across the globe, enabling them to strengthen their own pedagogy.

Thomas Williams 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Thomas Williams

Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne

Tom demonstrates entrepreneurial flair in his role as physics partnership teacher, teaching in both the Royal Grammar School and in local state schools. He is an experienced classroom practitioner, able to inspire and motivate students of any age. He builds positive relationships naturally and students respond to his enthusiasm and his passion for enhancing their understanding and love of the subject. He is currently working on continuing professional development projects with a range of teachers and technicians in both his own school and partner schools. Several of Tom's projects in local state schools take the form of enrichment or after-school clubs. He links these clubs to the CREST (Creativity in Science and Technology) awards and is always keen to link the context of each project to local industry. He is making a huge impact on physics in the region.

Kayleigh Williamson 2022 Teachers of Physics Award winner

Kayleigh Williamson

Grange Academy, Kilmarnock

Kayleigh inspires her students with her passion for physics, her creativity and sense of fun, with many of them going on to pursue the subject at a higher level. She makes learning accessible to pupils with support needs, and during school closures Kayleigh worked tirelessly to create documents and video content to provide for her pupils. She advocates for STEM careers and will seek out advice and placement contacts for pupils. She takes an active role in mentoring probationary and student teachers within her school department, as well as freely sharing her resources with all colleagues. Kayleigh’s enthusiasm in the wider school community is evident through her involvement with outreach programmes, departmental open evenings and careers fairs. Kayleigh is extremely committed to continuing professional development, helping to support teaching colleagues locally, across Scotland as well as online.