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Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching (SKPT)

Apply now for Phase 2 of the programme that aims to help science teachers develop the tools to teach physics with confidence.

Since September 2021, the Institute of Physics (IOP) has been running a substantial Department for Education-funded pilot programme for eligible teachers in English schools, helping them to develop the knowledge and skills to teach physics with confidence.

Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching (SKPT) is a blended-learning CPD course for science teachers within the English state sector who want to develop their physics subject knowledge and pedagogy.

The IOP is now delighted to launch Phase 2 of the SKPT programme, which will start in January 2022 and will focus on the core areas of Electricity and Energy. This course is for teachers who want to develop their physics subject knowledge and pedagogy with a mix of face-to-face sessions (in Leeds, Birmingham, or London), live online tutorials and asynchronous online learning.

SKPT is free for eligible teachers.


To be eligible for SKPT you must:

  • have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) with a subject specialism not including physics;
  • be teaching physics (modules/content) to Key Stage 3 and/or Key Stage 4 students in a state-maintained school in England;
  • not be taking part in SKPT Phase 1.

Applications will only be accepted from eligible teachers.

Course outline

Phase 2 of the IOP’s SKPT programme focuses on the core areas of Electricity and Energy. It will be delivered by the IOP during spring 2022.

Participating teachers will be expected to attend two full-day face-to-face sessions, two interactive online tutorials and to engage with asynchronous online learning delivered on the Open University’s OpenLearn Create platform.

You will have a SKPT Tutor to support your development online and in person.

When and where will the face-to-face sessions take place?

The sessions in the spring term will be full-day sessions on Saturdays in central London, Birmingham and Leeds. The dates for these sessions are:


Saturday 5 February 2022

Saturday 5 March 2022


Saturday 12 February 2022

Saturday 19 March 2022


Saturday 19 February 2022

Saturday 12 March 2022

You are expected to attend the same hub for both days.

Course completion and certification

The IOP will send teachers a certificate on completion of each unit. To qualify as having completed a unit, participants will have:

  • attended the face-to-face sessions and the online tutorials; and
  • engaged with tasks from the online component of the course.

There is an additional, optional opportunity to undertake IOP micro-accreditation for each unit. This will involve taking an online test which covers subject and pedagogical knowledge for that unit. This will be certificated separately at the end of the SKPT course.

Financial support

To facilitate attendance at face-to-face sessions during the spring term, a ‘bursary’ is available of £200 per participant. On completion of both modules, schools will be invited to invoice the IOP for each successful participant. We expect schools to make a commitment to their teachers who participate in SKPT and use this bursary to support them in attending and completing the course (e.g. transport, childcare).

What happens if I miss a face-to-face/live session?

The IOP expects teachers who sign up to SKPT Phase 2 to attend both full-day face-to-face sessions. In exceptional circumstances it may be possible for you to attend one of the other venues, but only if there is space.


Apply now

To complete the application form, you will need:

  • your teacher reference number (previously also known as: QTS, GTC, DfE, DfES or DCSF number – further details about how to find this);
  • the name and postcode of your school;
  • the amount of physics on your current timetable;
  • how long you have been teaching (and teaching physics);
  • your QTS teaching specialism; and
  • the name and email address of your headteacher or a member of the senior leadership team (SLT).

Please ensure that your school is aware of (and supports) your application for this course. Your headteacher/SLT member or other designated signatory at your school will be asked to sign a brief Memorandum of Understanding with the IOP.

Applications close on 14 January 2022. If you have any questions, please contact the SKPT team at [email protected].


When will courses start?

SKPT Phase 2 activities will start in January 2022.

Key information on Hub locations – please read before applying

Before applying for a place, please check this list of SKPT Hub locations:

  • Leeds
  • Birmingham
  • London

Is SKPT suitable for early career teachers?

Current early career teachers (ECTs) are eligible to apply for SKPT. The course does require a significant time commitment, and you need to be currently teaching some physics at Key Stage 3 and/or Key Stage 4. We would urge ECTs to consider this carefully before applying.

Nonetheless, applications are welcomed from teachers at any stage in their career.

What happens if SKPT is oversubscribed?

Should we need to award priority for places, we will consider:

  • the percentage of students eligible for free school meals in your school; and
  • the amount of physics within your teaching timetable.

We may also take into consideration anything you tell us in your application form about your situation.

Can I attend other IOP continuing professional development (CPD) events?

SKPT participants are still free to attend any other IOP teacher CPD.

1. We encourage all participants to attend an IOP Regional CPD Day – these really help you to become a part of (and feel part of) the physics teaching community. Along with any other IOP online CPD sessions, they will give you more opportunity to develop your subject specific and pedagogical knowledge. Whilst these should not be seen as an optional replacement for dedicated SKPT sessions, you should record attendance at these in your learning log, and this can be counted towards your SKPT CPD time.

2. Teachers in Stimulating Physics Network (SPN) Partner Schools can (and should) continue to attend sessions run for their school/department. Again, these can enhance significantly your subject specific teaching skills and confidence.

What happens if I miss a face-to-face/live session?

The IOP expects teachers who sign up to SKPT Phase 2 to attend both of the full-day face-to-face sessions at the same location. In exceptional circumstances it may be possible for you to attend one of the other venues, but only if there is space.