Evaluation of the TLIF: The Institute of Physics Future Physics Leaders Project

Jennie Harland, Dawson McLean, Julie Nelson and Jack Worth (NFER)

29 September 2022

Research report on the DfE website

Between September 2017 and May 2022, NFER and Sheffield Hallam University undertook the evaluation of TLIF, a three-year funding programme which aimed to support projects offering high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers and school leaders in the areas and schools in England that needed it most. One of these projects was the IOP Future Physics Leaders (FPL) project, which aimed to improve capacity and capability for physics teaching and leadership, and the retention of physics teachers. The FPL project provided professional development in three regions of England with a network of IOP development coaches working with local ‘hubs’ comprising a Lead and Partner Schools. The project included: mentoring newly-qualified physics teachers (NQTs); coaching and training to develop physics teachers as future school-based development coaches (SBDCs) and deliverers of physics continuing professional development (CPD); and CPD to develop the subject/pedagogical knowledge and leadership skills of specialist physics teachers and subject and pedagogical knowledge of non-specialist physics teachers. 


Key Findings

  • The need for support for physics teaching was generally well recognised and engagement with the project was good. Feedback suggested that the FPL provision was of high quality as a result of a well-designed package of support, an expert delivery team, scope for customisation of the support, and accessible local hub delivery.
  • There is evidence that the project improved participants’ physics subject knowledge, physics teaching pedagogy, confidence to teach physics, physics leadership knowledge and skills, and access to physics CPD. There is also some evidence that the project improved teachers’ retention in the profession; analysis of School Workforce Census data suggests that FPL teachers were statistically significantly more likely to remain in teaching one and two years after the project than teachers who had not participated in FPL.
  • There is little evidence that the project led to improvements in participants’ motivation to teach physics and engage with physics CPD, or on participants’ physics leadership practices and motivation to progress into physics leadership.
  • There is no evidence that the FPL project achieved its aim to improve teachers’ progression to middle leadership.