I have an goal towards which I have been workling for a few years. I am seeking the opportunity to create a thriving school science enrichment programme. One in which pupils would engage in real hands-on science. I am now actively looking for a physics teaching post in the 11-18+ sector (N:East) in which I would be able to help set up a national class enrichment and outreach programme.I firmly believe that it is possible for a school, particularly an 11-18 school or sixth form to build an ongoing science enrichment program which permits students to engage in the excitement of real research. Opening up the possibility of ongoing engagement with researchers and contributing to real papers. Indeed a few bold schools in the UK such as Simon Langton Grammar have done this. Regrettably rare in the UK this type of thing is much more common on the continent with programs such as HiSparc and in the americas with such projects as Stanford University SID detector and IRIS seismometers.
Such an undertaking would require very little capital though would need time and a bold supportive leadership. The effects upon student’s ambition and C.V.s are remarkable whilst the school would gain from a regular stream of excellent publicity.
I have over 20 years’ experience of teaching physics and computing from GCSE to A-Level most of that time as Head of Subject and ongoing contacts with academics in physics departments and national bodies. For most of that time I have also run extra-curricular science enrichments - on a shoestring and frequently self-funded. My students have built electronic systems to monitor aurora and lightning. They have configured systems to communicate with high altitude balloons, monitor changes in the ionosphere and taken part in an international particle physics project to measure cosmic rays (HiSparc). Students have configured tuned and networked a seismometer into the IRIS international network. In computing they have built a proof of concept supercomputer (a ‘Beowulf cluster’) and for some 15 years I have taught courses in ‘scientific’ computing and scientific document typesetting (LaTeX). I have run electronics/physics courses in partner schools and recently helped out with python programming/electronics in a local primary. Along the way I completed both a research M.Sc. and Ph.D. in computational physics.
I have direct, recent experience of students applying to University to read Physics, Mathematics and Computing who claim their interviews were dominated by these extra-curricular activities. I have seen a shy 16 year old in email contact with the Dutch High-Energy Physics group. Students who have never programmed before taking one of my enrichment courses discussing their maths and physics simulations at interviews for Russell group universities.
For the past three years I have been working on group of mainly geo/astrophysics projects in my own time and at my own expense. These are now sufficiently developed to form the nucleus of an enrichment programme which could be rolled out promptly in an 11-18 school and academy chain or sixth form with good links to feeder schools.
A subset of my recent activities are here under the Projects and Blog headings. If you are interested - drop me an email.May 2018
- Holly Mount RC Primary School
- Bury Grammar School for Boys
- Aston University B.Sc. Physics
- Manchester University P.G.C.E. Physics
- Salford University M.Sc. Computational Physics
- Salford University Ph.D. Computational Physics