Schools Outreach Support Network

Creating a network of colleagues who have (or wish to have) strong outreach links with their local schools/colleges and are interested in sharing their experiences with colleagues working in similar roles.

School outreach support network

The network will attract outreach and schools liaison officers from university physics departments and national research laboratories. The IOP and National HE STEM Programme seek to support the development of this network.

Join the SOSN email discussion list for details of funding opportunities, events, meetings and school outreach resources.

SOS Network 2011 inaugural meeting: widening participation in a changing landscape
The first meeting of this network took place at the Institute of Physics on the 8 September 2011. It provided an opportunity for the physics community to explore a number of current schools outreach programmes and to contribute ideas on how the Institute could support this work. It is hoped this will be the first of many meetings and a means to foster improving relationships between universities and schools.

Resources and presentations from the meeting:

Physics Outreach Spring Meeting 2012
The second meeting of the network was held on 8 May 2012 at the Institute of Physics. The programme started with a session inviting comments on the topic of quality control within outreach activities – an area that outreach officers had highlighted as in need of further investigation and support. There were also opportunities for outreach officers to share ideas and input into how the Institute could support the links between physics departments and schools.

Resources and presentations from the meeting:

Physics Outreach Autumn Meeting 2012
The third meeting of the network was held on 22 November 2012 at the Institute of Physics. The programme featured a keynote lecture from Professor Louise Archer on the ASPIRES project and a briefing from Clare Thomson - the editor of “It's Different for Girls: The influence of schools” report. 

Attendees also received an update on how the outreach officers’ database project was progressing and it was an opportunity for the IOP to gather opinions on the professional development needs of school outreach officers and how the Institute could offer support in this area.

Resources and presentations from the meeting:

Physics Outreach Summer Meeting 2013
The fourth meeting of the network was held on 16 July at the Institute of Physics. This event gave the Network an opportunity to explore the Institute’s new outreach officers’ database Engaging Physicists.

The programme also featured sessions on: widening participation discussions; whether the Institute has a role in giving guidance on REF statements referring to outreach; how universities could support students taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQs); the CERN@school project; and, seeking the Network’s guidance on how to effectively recruit for the Institute’s schools and colleges lecturer.

Resources and presentations from the meeting:



Related information

Schools Outreach Support Network (SOSN)

Email discussion list open to everyone who wishes to build strong links with their local schools and colleges

Public Engagement with Physics

This booklet helps an organiser produce a high quality public engagement activity by leading them through all phases of the process - development, delivery and evaluation.

Engaging Physicists Each university and national laboratory on the database has nominated an outreach officer who has an understanding of the needs of both teachers and physicists.

IOP outreach workshops

Training workshops for physicists who are interested in getting involved with public engagement and outreach activities.

Related websites


A UK-wide Programme in partnership with the IOP