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Education and outreach

MBE for IOP Teaching & Learning Coach in Wales

23 January 2020

Cerian Angharad recognised for promoting science and for her engagement with young people.

Cerian Angharad

Cerian Angharad, the Institute of Physics (IOP) Teaching & Learning Coach in Wales, received an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s New Year Honours List ‘for services to science promotion and engagement with young people’.

Cerian, from Cardiff, who was a classroom teacher until 2010 and currently works as a physics coach for the IOP, and teaching consultant, is a Cardiff University physics graduate and science teacher with a career spanning three decades.

Her first teaching post was in Pontypool in 1994 and she progressed quickly, becoming the Head of Physics at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, a Welsh-medium school situated in the village of Fleur-de-Lis in the Rhymney Valley, in 1998.

A passionate advocate of quality science education and its potential to inspire young people, alongside her teaching career Cerian became an IOP Physics Teacher Network Coordinator in Wales in 2004.

The Institute of Physics is the UK and Ireland’s professional body for physicists. Committed to working with teachers of physics at all levels and across the schools landscape, the IOP has a strong track record of supporting school physics education.

The IOP’s network of physics coaches plays an important role, coordinating local CPD events for teachers, and creating links between schools and between schools and higher education institutions. This ensures that local teachers receive the support they need to progress in their careers, keep up to date with new learning and teaching resources and provide the very best science learning experience for their students.

Integral to her work has been supporting the IOP’s Improving Gender Balance project. Launched in 2014, the project works to enable students and staff to understand and address the impact of unconscious bias and gender stereotyping in school, to improve the experience and confidence of girls in the physics classroom and give them the confidence to take physics as a subject choice.

Cerian also took on the position of Field Officer for the Association of Science Education (ASE) in 2004, organising a wide range of ASE events for science teachers, in a role that also covers Wales.

Through her roles with the IOP and ASE, she had placed herself firmly at the epicentre of science education support in Wales, and in 2010 she co-founded her own education consultancy, See Science, in Cardiff.

Providing products and services to support the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in Wales within a real-world context, See Science supports STEM teaching and learning across the whole of Wales, to schools, further education colleges and higher education institutions. Since 2010, it has also managed the STEM Ambassador Programme in Wales.

Her dedication to supporting the provision of quality science education to young people in Wales, and commitment to inspiring into learning science, hasn’t gone unnoticed and Cerian is delighted to have been honoured.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it at first. I had to re-read the letter several times for the news to sink in. I am absolutely thrilled to receive the award. It’s a huge honour to be recognised for the promotion of science and for the engagement of young people.

“I really believe that all young learners can succeed in STEM. Teaching science doesn’t have to be just about getting grades, it can be about so much more. I would always be keen to participate in a wide variety of enrichment activities in order to raise the interest that students have in STEM. Many of our young learners would otherwise not have had access to participate in STEM engagement opportunities to broaden their horizons.”

Cerian is also passionate about her native language and has worked hard to enable students to learn and enjoy science through the medium of Welsh.

“It was very important to me, as I come from a completely Welsh background and there were so few schools offering science in the Welsh language when I was at school that I had no option but to do my science learning at school through the medium of English.

“When I started teaching in Wales, many schools were beginning to teach science through the medium of Welsh but with very little resources. I have always encouraged organisations that I am involved with, such as the IOP, to produce as many bilingual resources as possible.”

IOP head of education, Charles Tracy, said: “We are delighted for Cerian. She has dedicated her whole career to improving STEM teaching and learning, building on her own experiences as she progressed.

“Her commitment to engaging STEM education and teaching has undoubtedly touched and enhanced the lives, both in school and beyond, of thousands of young people in Wales. The IOP has been fortunate to have had Cerian as part of our team, and we warmly congratulate her on this most well deserved recognition.”