Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship

If you are a practising teacher, and you have an idea about physics teaching that you have always wanted to develop, then the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship can help you bring the idea to fruition.


The Fellowship will provide you with a grant of £2,000, plus up to an additional £1,500 for travel expenses, material/software expenses or to pay for services that will help you develop your idea into something that other teachers can use.

By the end of your research project we would like your idea to be made available to the wider physics teaching community, for example via an article in Physics Education. As part of the support we provide to Fellowship recipients, the Institute can provide links to physics education researchers and a network of experienced teachers.

The Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship is open to applicants who are practising teachers working in a UK educational institution (schools and colleges) catering for students in the age range 11 to 19 years-old.

How do I apply?

Complete the application form and submit it by email to Please place “Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship Application” in the email’s subject line. Applications will only be accepted by email.


Case Study: Development of a set of resources for use in the classroom utilising the medium of song

Jonny Berliner was awarded the Fellowship to develop a set of resources for use in the classroom utilising the medium of song, to help students learn and retain facts.

Jonny said “By condensing concepts into short lines of lyrics, students are forced to develop understanding to a point where they can reproduce it succinctly. This fosters deeper understanding than rote learning and gives the students ownership of their revision materials.”

“Of course, some students will be too cool to sing along, but in my experience, they are often still enjoying the experience and getting those catchy educational lyrics stuck in their head.”

You can access Jonny’s resources here.

Summary of his project:

Studies have shown that the medium of song can enhance some aspects of memory through its capacity to evoke strong emotions in those listening (Levine, Edelstein, 2009 as cited in Yee Pinn Tsin, 2015). This effect on memory may help some students retain important facts and concepts when learnt in song form. A recent study by Governor et al (2013) concluded that songs containing science content could aid students to not only memorise the facts contained but also construct and understand the meaning of science concepts, leading to an increased ability to make connections in learning (Yee Pinn Tsin, 2015). Jonny’s project will focus on helping teacher’s bring music into their physics lessons. Through providing lesson plans and presentations Jonny aims to help cut the time needed to prepare for a song writing lesson as well as providing support to teachers less than confident in their musical ability. Jonny will also develop and share a number of cheat sheets designed to help students master the art of physics song writing.


Yee Pinn Tsin, Isabel. "Composing Songs For Teaching Science To College Students". Universal Journal of Educational Research 3.10 (2015): 724-726. Web.

About Jonny

Jonny is a science troubadour and freelance science educator. After completing a degree in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds he worked as a science tutor and musician until the Guardian Science Weekly podcast asked him to contribute comedy science songs. Since then he has been a regular performer at science festivals and comedy nights. After completing his PGCE at the Institute of Education in 2012, Jonny worked as a physics teacher for 4 years at Graveney school in Tooting where he experimented extensively with using songs and song-writing as a pedagogical tool. As well as continuing with his performance career, he now develops curriculum specific songs and music videos as well as facilitating educational events and resources for scientific bodies such as Wellcome Collection and the Royal Institution.

Case Study: The impact of context-based physics teaching on post-16 uptake, Rosalind Jack

Rosalind Jack was awarded the fellowship to investigate and identify the relationship between context-based physics teaching and increased post-16 uptake of physics.   

Rosalind said “I am convinced that setting the physics we teach day to day in the context of technological developments, business and working life is the most promising option for increasing post-16 uptake of this subject.

I am grateful to the Institute of Physics for the award of the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship.  This will allow me to develop my own knowledge of applications of physics to the workplace in order to share this with our students and the wider teaching community. “

Summary of her project:

Rosalind will approach professionals recognised as having a physics background with the aim of identifying examples of how their understanding and knowledge of physics is useful to them in careers ranging from finance to engineering.  Following this she will develop a set of resources incorporating these examples which she will use to deliver the new GCSE curriculum to over 300, year 10 students.  Rosalind will survey attitudes towards physics in these students at the end of year 9 and 10 in order to assess the impact of context-based physics education on this cohort.

This project will follow on from Rosalind's previous research into student interest levels.  This found that context-based physics teaching can increase high achieving GCSE students' interest in physics. It also suggested that improving appreciation of the career opportunities offered by physics could increase A-level uptake.  These results were found in both male and female students.

About Rosalind:

Rosalind Jack is the Key Stage 3 Science Coordinator at Woodkirk Academy in Leeds.  After studying both physics and bioinformatics at university, Rosalind trained as a physics teacher.  She aims to inform young people about the interdisciplinary nature of modern science and has established a STEM group for motivated learners to find out more about career opportunities in science and prepare for further study.  Rosalind is also an active member of her school's equality and diversity steering committee.

Case Study: Utilising capacitors and resistors in real life applications, David Cotton

David Cotton was awarded the Fellowship to design and construct a piece of equipment, intended to aid students learning of electronic components while being simple enough to recreate in the classroom.

David said “I remember seeing the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship on the IOP website a few years ago and thinking what an amazing opportunity. With the generous support on offer one could develop a resource for others to use in their teaching of physics. It is great how the award is set up in a fashion that enables you to take an idea and explore it further.

Summary of his project:

David’s project is focused on the electronics of oscillation. He aims to build an oscillator circuit built around a simple 555 chip. The finished project will have applications in sound lessons at KS3 and during lessons on electrical components at KS4. Whilst A level physics students will be to utilise the kit to explore how the time- constant of a capacitance circuit can be used to control an oscillation/ timing circuit.

David chose to develop a project around electronics, as he believes that electronic engineering has become less of a focus in physics teaching, despite the ideas of charge and the flow of charge being embedded in both the KS4 and KS5 curriculum.

David will be charting his progress and sharing the completed kit via a series of blogs on TalkPhysics.

About David

David’s fascination with physics and electronics started at a young age, his father was a lecturer of electrical engineering and as a result he grew up in a house surrounded by components and wires. At school he studied physics up to the O level standard before leaving school at 16 to go live in the mountains of Wales where he worked as a lumberjack, whilst he enjoyed working outdoors the desire to continue the study of physics was always in the background. He returned to further education via the Laura Ashley Foundation Year at Aberystwyth University, which enabled him to study to the level of entry for a degree in physics, after which he moved to Preston to study towards an Astrophysics degree at UCLan. Upon completion of his degree he completed a teacher training course and has been teaching physics for the last 15 years.

As well as holding a teaching position David is also a Physics Network Coordinator the Institute of Physics and an editor for the Talkphysics online community.

Case Study: Peer mentoring and its effect on the pupil premium cohort, Alan McKeegan

Alan McKeegan was awarded the fellowship to investigate the effect of peer mentoring on Y11 and Y9 pupils with a special focus on the consequences for pupil premium students.

Alan McKeegan said “I am hoping to use Peer mentoring to increase the number of pupils who choose to follow Physics at A Level and beyond. In particular I am passionate about increasing the number of Pupil Premium pupils who follow this route (this is an area that I am in charge of at Wade Deacon High School).

This fellowship has enabled me to provide resources, staff time, refreshments for a launch and celebration event. Hopefully there will also be a trip accompanied by parents to a Russell Group university.”

Summary of his project:

The Sutton Trust has shown that the impact of peer mentoring can be very positive on academic outcomes and there is some evidence that it is likely to benefit pupil premium students even more. The project will identify a cohort of Y9 and Y11 pupils to take part in the study and measure their performance against a control group. The students providing the mentoring will be briefed on peer mentoring techniques and a programme of study will be created for them to deliver.  It is hoped that the results generated and techniques used will be easily transferrable and replicable at other schools.

Alan McKeegan


About Alan McKeegan

Alan McKeegan is currently Assistant Vice-Principal at Wide Deacon High School in Widnes. Taking a more unconventional route into Physics teaching, he originally took a Biological Sciences degree, before recognising the chronic shortage of physics teachers and re-training as one. When asked what he enjoys much about teaching, he responded: “Pupils asking questions that I don’t understand! The pupils get a real sense of accomplishment by realising that teachers don’t know everything!”

Case Study: Producing physics films to aid student learning, Lewis Matheson

Lewis Matheson was awarded the fellowship to make high quality physics teaching films and evaluate how students used the films to support their own understanding.

Lewis Matheson said “The Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship will allow me to spend the time looking at the impact on student learning both in my own school and other schools across the country. I am hoping that other teachers will also use these videos with their students so I have a range of case studies for how they are used. I will publish my research in Physics Education next year.”

Summary of his project:

Lewis has already produced various online video tutorials ( to aid students with their understanding of the physics curriculum. This fellowship will enable him to produce professional videos that span the Awarding Bodies’ specifications.

In the ever-expanding technological age, this study will examine how students use, find and access these online sources and what technologies they use to support their studies. Ultimately, the project will look at the impact of filmed teaching content on students’ learning.

Lewis Matheson


About Lewis Matheson

Lewis Matheson is currently head of physics at Beechen Cliff School in Bath. Lewis previously worked for Atkins, before joining the military and working on the frontline in Afghanistan. After having his first baby, Lewis decided to train as a physics teacher and has remained at Beechen Cliff ever since completing his PGCE. When he is not teaching, he enjoys leading extra-curricular activities such as the Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh award.

As he says: “There are some pupils who I have now taught for five years during their GCSEs and into the Sixth Form and to see how they have progressed is amazing. You also see the results of your hard work and that what we do can make a large impact on their lives.”

Case Study: Hardware for hard-up schools, Stuart St John

Stuart St John was awarded the Fellowship to develop a cost-effective interface for recording and making sounds using a computer.

Stuart said: “I was able to spend time on developing these ideas thanks to the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship awarded by the Institute of Physics from the Trust set up by in Anthony's name. I am grateful to the Trust and the Institute for this opportunity."

Summary of his project:

The purpose of this work was to investigate ways in which everyday computers can be used in schools to fulfil several of the roles of more expensive, specialised laboratory equipment for teaching and learning purposes. The brief adopted was to keep things as straightforward as possible so that any school science department with a few basic tools can copy the ideas presented.


The project has produced a simple, safe input device to enable use of a computer as an oscilloscope and a conversion of external speakers into a signal generator. They are not without their limitations, but the intention is that they may provide opportunities for hands-on learning in schools where budgets are very limited.

Several teaching ideas are outlined, with pointers for further development. It is hoped that interest in the project may generate further application of the ideas to the teaching of high school physics.

A full write-up of the project was published in Physics Education.

About Stuart St John:

Stuart St John is the Head of Physics at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith. When not teaching physics he likes tinkering around and mending things, particularly bikes, on which he loves to explore the wilder parts of Cumbria. He also enjoys playing a variety of musical instruments.

Case Study: Student attitudes to physics practicals, Caitríona McKnight

Caitríona McKnight was awarded the Fellowship to investigate girls’ engagement with practical work across the three sciences.
Caitriona McKnight

Caitríona said: “This project has allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the factors affecting engagement in physics, particularly in practical work and to identify differences in approach and views of boys and girls. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my own teaching pedagogy as well as learning from the research of others. This has enabled me to apply strategies to increase engagement in my own classroom.

I am grateful to the IOP for supporting me in my project both financially and with regular correspondence. I am also grateful, in particular, to James de Winter (Institute of Education, Cambridge) for supporting me with data analysis.”

Summary of her project:

An action research study was carried to explore the attitudes of GCSE students to physics practicals and explore differences (if any) between boys and girls. The research was prompted by a study carried out in India in August 2013. They concluded from their survey that “there is significant difference in the attitude of boys and girls towards practical work”.

Questions in an initial survey focused on student opinions on the importance and quantity of practical work, and their thoughts on: putting equipment together, having written instructions, and experiencing teacher demonstrations.

About Caitríona McKnight:

Caitríona McKnight is a teacher of physics at the Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge. She was born and educated in Ireland, graduating at Trinity College Dublin in 1988. She travelled to England soon after, initially working as a computer analyst in Harlow, Essex and later as a transportation planner in Reading, Berkshire.

As she could not postpone her childhood dream of teaching, and following in her father’s footsteps, she completed a PGCE at the Department of Education, Cambridge in 1993 and she has been teaching ever since. When not teaching, Caitríona takes every opportunity to travel the world.

Anthony Waterhouse and the Fellowship

The Institute is extremely grateful to Helen Parsons (Anthony Waterhouse’s sister) for generously endowing the Anthony Waterhouse Fellowship; Helen describes its background and inception:

“My father Vincent Waterhouse was first a physics lecturer at Ludlow Grammar and then a physics lecturer at Furzedown Teacher Training College. He passed on his love of science to my brother Anthony who went up to Cambridge (Trinity) to read Electrical Engineering, on an industrial scholarship.

In 1969 he visited South Africa with the Dryden drama group as "props man". While up Table Mountain he missed the last cable car and took a path down the mountain which he had been told was easy. Tragically the path was not clear and he fell and killed himself. My parents and I never got over his loss and this is why I am giving this money in memory of him.”

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