This project and its evaluation were affected by the 2020 and 2021 partial school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondary schools and trainee physics teachers are still needed for this project. See below for more information and how to get involved.
Around 60% of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) with a physics specialism leave the profession within five years. Workload is consistently highlighted as a concern. This project aims to reduce teacher workload – and in turn improve retention – by providing physics teachers with an easier beginning to their teaching career.
The Institute of Physics (IOP) are specialists in supporting physics teachers and have identified key factors that determine the ease of transition for a physics graduate through their NQT year. IOP will support schools to provide the conditions physics specialists need to stay in the profession, aiming to provide a better start for physics-specialist teachers and stronger retention outcomes for science departments.
This project was funded as part of the Science Teacher Retention grants round, co-funded with The Wellcome Trust to address the chronic challenge of teacher retention. Science teachers are more likely to leave the profession than non-science teachers, particularly within their first five years of teaching. Physics graduates in particular are the least likely to join teaching and most likely to leave in the first few years. While some factors affecting this are beyond the school’s control, there are ways schools can increase the likelihood of their physics NQTs staying. The Institute of Physics have a sensible, evidence-based approach for working with schools to enable them to support NQT physics teachers effectively.
A team from UCL Institute of Education has been appointed to evaluate this project. This is a two-armed randomised controlled trial, and is an efficacy trial, meaning it will test the programme under developer-led conditions. The trial will run for 5 years in total, with three cohorts of 100 pre-NQTs recruited annually and tracked for their NQT year and the two following years. The primary outcome measure will be teacher retention in the profession.
We will also measure retention in the school, teacher workload and job satisfaction, as well as surveying heads of science to understand usual practice and the changes that occur through the intervention. An additional analysis will look at the GCSE science results at the school level.
The evaluation report will be published in Autumn 2023.
If you express interest in this project, the EEF’s project delivery partner and evaluation partner will use your contact details for the purposes of recruitment to the project. Your contact details will not be used for any other purposes and will be deleted when no longer needed.
A full privacy notice will be shared together with the recruitment documents. More information about data protection in EEF evaluations can be found here.