Prepare for a rewarding career in key stages 3, 4 and 5 physics teaching - a priority subject with superb job prospects, and bursaries and scholarships available.
At a glance
Subject / Phase
Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
Sheffield Hallam University
Why Train to Be a Physics Teacher?
Teaching science is all about helping young people to better explain the world around them. It is a unique subject that has an ability to engage and captivate people from all backgrounds. Developing young minds into analytical and dynamic young people is a privilege that you see everyday while teaching science.
David, Head of Science at a secondary school
Physics teachers are in demand! So, you’ll be joining a profession where you are highly valued and have lots of career opportunities. A career as a physics teacher is hugely fulfilling. By sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, you’ll show young people how physics is central to everyday life and needn’t be hard to learn. As with all teaching roles, you’ll also get the opportunity to inspire the next generation, opening their minds to the excitement and possibilities of science. Nothing prepares you for that lightbulb moment when a student suddenly ‘gets it’! While some students may be inspired to take on further study or even careers in physics, you’ll also help prepare all students to be informed citizens in an increasingly scientific world.
What is Life Like as a Physics Teacher?
As a physics teacher, you will help students discover explanations for how the world around them works, studying matter and how it moves through space and time, as well as energy and forces. You will help them develop skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations and how to use practical techniques for scientific inquiry and investigation. You will also teach them about how scientific discoveries impact upon people’s lives, society and the environment. You will help them become scientifically literate citizens, and prepare some students for careers in science and technologies.
You will probably teach physics in a mixture of normal classrooms and science laboratories. This provides you with the opportunity to back up the academic teaching with hands-on, practical lessons – allowing students to experience the excitement of testing their hypotheses and learning through tangible experimentation. As well as preparing and delivering lessons, you will set and mark assignments, and track student progress via data collection and feedback to parents. As part of a wider science department, you will have a good team environment.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Physics Teacher?
A passion for your subject and the ability to inspire the same in your students is essential. It helps if you are organised too. Being able to communicate effectively with colleagues, students and parents is definitely an asset, as is stamina and even a sense of humour. Teachers are continually developing, so the ability to self-reflect and the willingness to take on new learning and training is beneficial. Above all else, the desire to support young people to achieve their very best is what’s needed.
What Do We Cover in Physics Teacher Training?
You will be trained to teach physics at key stages 3, 4 and 5.
This includes training in university, via STSA’s professional learning courses, and as part of your school placements, as detailed below:
Our academic partner is Sheffield Hallam University, whose course is rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. At university, you will have the opportunity to hone your chemistry skills via seminars, workshops, lectures, group work, directed tasks, written assessments and practical work. You are assessed through supportive, collaborative means, helping you to grow and improve.
In STSA Professional Learning Courses
We run a number of STSA professional learning sessions throughout the year. These days are a great opportunity for our trainees to come together, catch up and share their experiences. Our trainees tell us this is a highly valued part of our course.
Examples of topics covered include:
- The Professional Teacher
- Lesson/scheme design
- Assessment: marking and feedback
- Data collection and analysis
- Barriers to learning
- Organisation of self
- Knowledge of consecutive key stages
- Role of SENCO
- Behaviour management
- Building resilience
- Child development
- SEND and inclusion
- EAL and new arrivals
- Collaborative team teaching
- Communication with parents
- Planning for transition
The STSA team are on hand throughout the course to help you with any issues or questions you may have.
During your School Placements
Our course includes high-quality placements in two of our partner schools, providing experience in contrasting settings – which is part of the Department for Education (DfE) regulations for Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Your main placement is approximately 24 weeks over the academic year, whilst your complementary placement is approximately 6 weeks. You also have a 2-day experience in a primary setting.
You will have your own mentor in each school, who will meet with you regularly and provide support and advice. They will also assess your teaching in school.
You can find out more about what to expect on our course here.
You will always be developing as a teacher and could progress to a head of subject role, or even head of a department or faculty. Some teachers decide to specialise in pastoral work, taking on a head of key stage/year group role. From middle management, you could then progress into senior leadership as an assistant, deputy or head teacher. With multi-academy trusts growing in number, there are also new opportunities working across a number of schools, taking on responsibility for your particular subject.
Which Qualifications Do You Gain?
You will gain:
- A PGCE in Secondary Science (Physics) (11-16 with post-16 enhancement)
- Qualified Teaching Status
- 60 Masters credits
It’s a great mix of academic and professional training that really equips you for life in the classroom.
Funding for Physics Teacher Training
As a trainee physics teacher, you could be eligible for a £24,000 tax-free bursary if you have a first, 2:1, 2:2, Masters’ or PhD. Alternatively, £26,000 scholarships are available from the Institute of Physics (IOP) if you have at least a 2:1 in physics or a related subject. You can still apply if you have a 2:2, but you’ll need to provide evidence of significant relevant experience. If your application for a scholarship is unsuccessful, you’ll still be eligible for a bursary.
Find out more about funding here.
Not Got a Physics Degree?
Don’t hold back from applying for teacher training due to your subject confidence – you can top up your subject knowledge with a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. These fully funded courses are available if:
- Your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject but is closely related.
- You studied the subject at A-Level, but not at degree level.
- You have an unrelated degree, but relevant professional experience in the subject.
If you’re unsure whether you need to undertake an SKE course, please talk to us.
Start: September 2023