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IOP Teacher Training Scholarships

Scholarship applications for the 2023-24 training year are now closed. We really look forward to welcoming applications for the 2024-25 training year from autumn 2023, so please check back later for information on the forthcoming scholarship programme. 

Please feel free to browse the information on this page for you to see what the programme is all about. We have retained details, but please note they are for your reference only

The IOP Scholarship programme for those training in the 2023-24 academic year has now closed and we are no longer accepting applications

We are looking forward to receiving applications from those training in the 2024-25 academic year. Information on the scholarships programme will be available in autumn 2023, so please check back to this website for details then.   

In the meantime, please do sign up to our prospective teachers list for further updates. 

Please note that the following information on this page relates to the scholarship programme for the 2023-24 academic year and is retained for reference only.

2023-24 programme for reference

The IOP is awarding 175 scholarships worth £29,000 with professional development support to talented individuals who are passionate about physics and have the potential to become inspirational teachers.

Scholarships are for those starting teacher training in England in September 2023.

The IOP Scholarship includes:

  • support to develop your physics teaching skills including online continuing professional development (CPD) workshops;
  • funding of £29,000 (tax free);
  • the benefits of IOP membership for your training year; and
  • access to a community of fellow scholars.


Join our free upcoming webinars to learn more about the scholarships and what it’s like to teach physics. You can register once more are announced.

Why apply?

As an IOP scholar you have access to a package of support and benefits which will help you make the most of your studies – and thrive in your career as a motivational physics teacher.

Benefits of being an IOP scholar

Our scholars feed back that they find our benefits invaluable during their training year.

As an IOP scholar you’ll:

  • Have access to physics teaching workshops

    We’ll keep you informed of online events as well as any face-to-face events taking place throughout the year helping you develop additional physics teaching skills. You’ll be invited to online workshops and occasionally a face-to-face event where you can learn from experienced physics teachers and network with your peers.
  • Have support to teach in low socioeconomic areas

    A core part of the IOP’s mission is to give all pupils access to specialist physics teachers. Pupils in low socioeconomic areas tend to have limited access to specialist teaching, so we are encouraging IOP scholars to consider a role in such areas and we will be providing extra mentoring support for those who choose to teach there. We welcome applications that reflect the breath of diversity in England. We particularly encourage applications from women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, disabled people, LGBT+ individuals and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as they are currently under-represented in the physics community.
  • Be part of an exclusive, like-minded community

    There will be opportunities during your training year to get involved with the scholar community, interact and network with your fellow scholars, share ideas and draw on support.
  • Enjoy free IOP membership for your training year

    All scholars are welcomed into the IOP community and awarded the benefits that all IOP members enjoy. This includes full access to our in-house magazine Physics World, invitations to local branch online meetings and free journal downloads.
  • Value the prestige of being an IOP scholar

    Putting ‘IOP scholar’ on your CV is an impressive achievement and a great attraction for any future employer. It shows you have gone the extra mile in your journey to becoming a teacher.

“The IOP scholarship offers several benefits for a trainee teacher and looks impressive when applying for training programmes and jobs in the future”

– Franceska, IOP Scholar

We will continue to be in contact following your scholarship year and as you become an Early Career Teacher with emails about continuing professional development (CPD) events for early career teachers and relevant resources.

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We have created a series of brochures to give you details of the scholarship programme and the routes into teaching physics, along with information for engineers thinking of using their engineering background to become a physics teacher.

Physics teacher training scholarships

Helping you train to teach physics in 2023 – 2024

Download the brochure (PDF, 374KB)

Teach Physics

Your guide to becoming a physics teacher, the first steps towards a new career

Download the brochure (PDF, 201KB)

Teach Physics: A guide for engineers

The future of physics and engineering is in your hands

Download the brochure (PDF, 534KB)

Video: all about the scholarships

Take a look at the short film from our recent scholar masterclass, held at the National Space Centre in Leicester. You will hear more about the scholarship programme and how some of our scholars have benefitted from it themselves.

Thumbnail for embedded video

Are you eligible?

If you have the academic and personal qualities with the ability to communicate clearly and inspire others, enabling you to excel as a physics teacher, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship.

However, it is crucial that you read the following eligibility criteria carefully before you apply for a scholarship. If in doubt, please contact us on 020 7470 4959 or [email protected] before you submit your application, and our team will be happy to assist with your query.

In summary, to apply for a scholarship you need:

    • a physics or related (honours) degree.
    • an excellent academic record, with a first, 2:1, master’s or PhD degree (proven or predicted). In exceptional circumstances, applicants with a 2:2 and significant relevant experience will be considered.
    • a physics A-level or equivalent (grade C or above) is desirable.
  1. by September 2023, to secure your training place on an eligible university-led, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) or school-led (fee-based, non-salaried) physics or physics with maths initial teacher training (ITT) course in England for the 2023-2024 academic year. The training place must have been allocated in accordance with the ITT allocations methodology for the 2023-2024 academic year and must be delivered by an institution accredited by the Department for Education (DfE) as an ITT provider. Additionally, eligible courses lead, upon completion, to a recommendation, on behalf of the trainee, for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

“The sense of being part of a group of like-minded trainee teachers with a passion for physics gave me additional confidence at the start of my training. The scholarship shows to future schools your commitment to your professional development”

– Richard, IOP Scholar

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How to apply

To be successful in becoming an IOP scholar means excelling at two levels:

  • submitting an application that demonstrates your passion for physics and a commitment to teaching; and
  • demonstrating your outstanding subject knowledge.

Before you apply, we advise making a start on your teacher training application. We recommend you use the DfE’s Find service to explore possible courses and then apply via the DfE’s ‘Apply for Teacher Training’ service. You should also register with the DfE’s ‘Get into Teaching’ free support and advice service.

If you are applying from outside the UK, we strongly urge you to apply for a scholarship once you are in receipt of a formal offer from an ITT provider.

If you think you’re eligible for the scholarship, here’s what you will need for your application:

  • Have your academic qualifications to hand

    You will need to list these in your application and provide copies of certificates and transcripts. If you have an overseas degree, please obtain a statement of comparability as you will be required to upload this as part of your application. You should include undergraduate and postgraduate degrees together with your school leaving qualifications in the statement. Please see the Get into Teaching website for more details and help with the cost of the statement. Further advice and guidance can be obtained through the DfE helpline on 0800 389 2500.
  • Provide contact details for a suitable referee

    As part of your application, you’ll be asked to provide the contact details of a suitable referee. If you have graduated in the past three years, this should be an academic referee (e.g. a course tutor). Otherwise, the referee must be a suitable professional individual. Please note we can only take academic references from university or higher education contacts, not high school.

You will be asked to take a short online subject knowledge test as part of the application so make sure your subject knowledge is strong.

You can use our IOPSpark resources to help familiarise yourself with the topics covered in the school curriculum. BBC Bitesize can also provide you with some help.

“The IOP scholarship CPD sessions have been incredibly helpful, giving useful hints and tips to help students and also providing interesting new ways to teach things”

– Helen, IOP Scholar

Make your application stand out

We are looking for two main things in your application: evidence of your outstanding subject knowledge and evidence that you are passionate about physics and committed to a career in teaching.

1. Don’t rush your application

Give yourself sufficient time to fill in your application form. We read your application form eagerly to find out as much as possible about you. It is essential you answer the questions well, providing all the information requested and within the word limits. Spelling and grammar are also important to help your application. You can save and return to the application, so it doesn’t have to be completed in a single session.

2. Tell us why you want to teach physics and what experience you have

Use the application form to tell us exactly why you want to teach physics and what relevant skills you have. Whether it was down to an inspirational physics teacher at school or a lifelong interest in physics education, we want to know exactly what’s motivating you to start a career in the classroom.

In the personal statements section of the application, you will be asked to complete two short statements covering your motivations, skills and attributes together with details of relevant experience. Two further questions will ask you about how you would deal with certain challenges in the classroom.

A fifth question will ask how you would approach teaching a physics topic.

3. School experience

Some time spent in a secondary school can help to enhance your scholarship application. You can arrange this through the Get School Experience web pages. You’ll have the opportunity to tell us about your school experience and other relevant experience in your application.

“The access to extra CPD tailored to my subject and live sessions for help and advice were very useful. Joining the scholarship also meant becoming part of a team of people who are teaching for the same reasons”

– Stephanie, IOP Scholar

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Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses

If you have a degree in a different subject such as engineering, maths, chemistry or biology, these courses may be ideal for you.

Physics Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses are available. If you feel you may need to take an SKE course, we recommend getting your teacher training application in early. Your training provider will determine if an SKE course is needed and will make you an offer conditional on its completion.

We suggest waiting until close to the end of the SKE course before submitting your IOP scholarship application, as this will give you the best opportunity to demonstrate your strengthened subject knowledge. Please keep in touch with us through [email protected] to let us know if you are or will be undertaking an SKE course and that you intend to apply for a scholarship.

What happens after I apply?

If your online application is shortlisted, it will be reviewed by a panel of IOP staff including experienced physics teachers. You will also be asked to complete a further online subject knowledge test based on school-level physics up to and including A-level. Successfully passing this test, the receipt of a suitable reference and gaining a recommendation from the shortlisting panel will lead to a scholarship offer.

The IOP reserves the right to request candidates attend an online interview should the panel deem this necessary.

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Your questions answered

I come from a country outside of the UK. Can I apply?

We advise you to apply once you are in receipt of a formal offer of a place on an initial teacher training (ITT) course.

The criteria for funding of scholarships matches the criteria set by the Department for Education (DfE) for all training bursary funding.

Applicants with a degree from outside the UK should contact Get into Teaching, who can advise on comparability of qualifications and can arrange for a statement of comparability once you have applied for a teacher training place. You can also speak to your chosen training provider for further advice.

You will need to upload a copy of your statement of comparability from the European Network of Information Centres (ENIC) along with copies of your degree certificates as part of your application.

Non-UK trainees should read Train to teach in England: non-UK applicants. It is strongly advised that non-UK trainees secure an offer of a teacher training place before they apply for a scholarship as the training provider will confirm eligibility for funding.

Teacher training providers and the Get into Teaching service can both help and advise on matters of funding eligibility.

Am I eligible for an International Relocation Payment?

If you’re a non-UK citizen interested in teaching physics in England, you could be eligible for an International Relocation Payment (IRP) worth £10,000. This payment is designed to repay some of the relocation expenses.

Further details are on the Get into Teaching website.

Can I apply if I already have a teaching qualification from a country outside the UK?

If you already have a teaching qualification in a country which is recognised as having equivalence to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England, you cannot apply for Teacher Training.

Potential trainees who may already be eligible to receive QTS under the conditions described above should email [email protected] or read the guidance at Qualified teacher status (QTS): qualify to teach in England and Routes to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for teachers and those with teaching experience outside the UK for more information.

I have an overseas degree. Am I able to apply?

Applicants with a degree from outside the UK should contact Get into Teaching who can advise on comparability of qualifications and can arrange for a statement of comparability once you have applied for a teacher training place. You can also speak to your chosen training provider for further advice.

If you have an overseas degree, you will need to upload a copy of your statement of comparability from the European Network of Information Centres (ENIC) along with copies of your degree certificates as part of your application.

Do I need a physics degree?

No, however, you are very unlikely to be given a place on a course unless your degree contains sufficient physics content (examples include engineering, sports science or astronomy).

I graduated some time ago. Does this matter?

Not at all, your experiences since graduating could be very valuable to becoming a teacher. Make sure you highlight your relevant transferable skills on your application. Think about how your life experiences and your career history to date can benefit students’ perception of how physics makes the world around them work. What could you bring into a classroom to help them make that ‘light bulb’ connection moment?

I’m not due to graduate until later in the year. Can I still apply?

Yes you can, providing your predicted grade is a 2.1 or above.

Will I also get the government’s training bursary?

No. If you are awarded a scholarship it will be instead of the government training bursary, it’s only one or the other.

Can I apply if I want to do a part-time training course?

Yes. The scholarship support you receive will be the same, but your payments will be pro-rated over the duration of your course.

Can I apply if I want to do a salaried training course?

No. You are only eligible for a scholarship if you are intending to enrol on an unsalaried training course.

I am going to be training outside of England to teach in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Can I apply?

No. IOP Scholarships can only be awarded to those training in England with the intention to teach in England. Please follow the links for more information if you will be training outside of England to teach in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

I don’t want to start training until later. Can I defer my application?

No. We cannot defer applications.

I am taking a teacher training course that leads to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS), not QTS. Can I apply?

No. You must secure a place on a secondary teacher training course that leads to QTS.

When can I apply?

The IOP Scholarship programme for those training in the 2023-24 academic year has now closed and we are no longer accepting applications.

We are looking forward to receiving applications from those training in the 2024-25 academic year. Information on the scholarships programme will be available in autumn 2023, so please check back to this website for details then.

Once I submit my application, how long typically will it take until I hear back from the IOP?

We aim to respond to all applicants via email within four to eight weeks after the deadline has closed for the scholarship round in which you applied.

Who funds the scholarship?

We recommend candidates to the Department for Education (DfE), which is responsible for funding the award.

How will the scholarship be paid?

If you’re enrolled on a non-salaried postgraduate course and meet the eligibility criteria, you will begin receiving payments automatically from your chosen teacher training provider when you begin your course. Get into Teaching has further details on how you will be paid.

If I am unsuccessful, can I reapply?

No, you cannot reapply in the current application year.

Contact us

If you need any further information or would like an informal chat, please email us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)20 7470 4959. You can also sign up to our prospective teachers list for further updates.

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