KEEP Teaching trial: help shape the future of physics teaching

We're inviting heads of science and trainee teachers to take part in a national trial to investigate how to encourage physics teachers to remain in the profession.

The research looks at ways to reduce workload, particularly for teachers at the start of their careers. 

Register your interest.

Let’s improve physics teacher retention

We want to increase the number of high-quality physics teachers and keep as many as we can in the profession. 

Our trial looks at ways to reduce teacher workload – particularly for early-career teachers. It examines how this impacts teacher retention.

Join our trial to help physics teachers develop rewarding and enduring careers.

If you're the head of science or a trainee teacher starting your NQT year, you can help shape the future of physics teaching.

What is KEEP Teaching?

KEEP Teaching is a national trial run by the IOP. It is designed to:

  • work with early-career teachers 
  • find ways to improve physics teacher retention

We're recruiting pairs of schools and newly qualified teachers (NQTs).

Help us to Keep Every Early-career Physics (KEEP) teacher teaching and give every student access to a high-quality physics education.

Who can take part in KEEP Teaching?

  • Non-selective state secondary schools in England, recruiting a full-time physics NQT to start in September 2020/21.
  • Trainee teachers (physics specialists) looking to start NQT roles in eligible schools in September 2020/21.

300 schools will participate over the three-year programme. Each school will typically participate for one year. 

Read our frequently asked questions for more on who can take part.

Register your interest

You are:

  • a head of science or science teacher in a non-selective state school in England
  • a trainee teacher and physics specialist starting your NQT year in September 2021

Register your interest.

Are you a science teacher? Talk to your head of science and give them the link to encourage them to register their interest too. 

When does the trial start?

Trials start in September 2020 and September 2021.

Participants in the September 2021 trial must return their signed trial agreements to the IOP by 31 May 2021.

Each cohort will participate for one year.

Why is KEEP Teaching important?

A key IOP aspiration is that:

"Every secondary school pupil in the UK and Ireland will have access to a specialist physics teacher by 2023."

Teaching physics is a rewarding profession and there is a recognised shortage of physics teachers. 

The KEEP Teaching project aims to help early-career physics teachers build successful and enduring careers.

The findings from KEEP Teaching will inform practice on effective ways to retain teachers of all three sciences, and teachers of other subjects. 

What does the KEEP Teaching trial involve?

The trial is a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It is important that we don’t share too many details about the intervention before the trial. This is to ensure the control group continues ‘business as usual’ and is not influenced by ideas implemented in the intervention groups. 

Broadly, the intervention could be a:

  • subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) programme
  • modified timetable
  • mentoring programme
  • initiative to support mental health and wellbeing

All participants will do something. Not every school will implement the intervention. 

The intervention is likely to require the school and NQT between them to commit a total of 3-14 hours over the year. This will be in the course of their regular duties. It will include the time of a member of the senior leadership team and/or the head of science.

Schools will receive a £250 incentive at the end of the year.

NQTs will receive £30.


Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Wellcome Trust, the project will be independently evaluated by UCL Institute of Education. 

Why should I get involved?

By participating in KEEP Teaching you can:

  • be part of shaping the future of physics teaching
  • support a major national trial focused on improving teacher retention
  • help NQTs build successful and enduring professional careers
  • reduce NQT workload and increase job satisfaction
  • increase student attainment with access to specialist teachers

We encourage schools and trainee teachers to register their interest early in the 2019/20 academic year. We will stay in touch through to the 2020 recruitment cycle.

Find out more

Read frequently asked questions about the trial.

Contact us 

Get in touch with questions.

Email: [email protected].

KEEP Teaching trial

School leaders, heads of science, physics teachers and future physics NQTs.

We think there’s a way to improve physics teacher retention.

Register your interest to be part of our research trial and help us find out if we’re right.

Register your interest