What is Communicating Physics?

Communicating Physics is an optional Undergraduate module for second year and fourth year F309 students. Communicating Physics will count towards a student's overall degree classification.

Communicating Physics students will develop a range of communication and teaching skills and will learn how to develop projects and teaching methods suitable for pupils at school from Year 7 to Year 13.

Students taking Communicating Physics need to complete 24 hours in a school, this usually converts into a ½ day each week for approximately 8 – 10 weeks during the Spring Term. Communicating Physics students support physics teaching whilst gaining first-hand experience of the education of young physicists in a school environment. A current list of schools taking part in Communicating Physics can be found in the 'Partner Schools' link to the right.

What does the course entail?

The student’s role in the classroom normally begins with initial observation after which Communicating Physics student should expect to become more involved. The role of a Communicating Physics student during their placement can vary depending on the student and the school they are placed in. A student can be expected to work with small groups of pupils on specific topics or activities, set up practical experiments, and even plan parts of or a whole lesson and deliver this to the pupils. Every Communicating Physics student will be required to implement a teaching project which should be targeted at a specific physics concept or activity for which there is a perceived need in the school. The project idea should be discussed with and agreed upon by the host teacher at the school.

When does the course take place?

Communicating Physics students will need to complete a DBS check over the summer if successfully accepted onto the course (see the above ‘how to apply’ box for the application details). At the very latest this needs to be completed at the start of term one before any school visits are made. Communicating Physics students will then attend a training day on the first day of term 1 and make an initial visit to their host school before the end of term 1. The majority of school visits will take place during term 2. All Communicating Physics students will meet with the Course Coordinators three times in Term 2 to review progress, twice during tutorials and once during a school visit. Students will also be asked to complete a progress questionnaire mid-way into their placement to update Course Coordinators on their progress.


The application deadline to take the Communicating Physics module in the 2021/22 academic year is has now passed. 

Interviews for the 2021/22 cohort have already taken place. Interested students will need to wait until the application process is open for the 2022/23 academic year to apply.

Course Cap

The number of students we can accept on to the course is limited by the number of host schools we work with. This year we are limited to taking 20 students.

Contingency plans for the course in the light of the COVID 19 situation

School placements take place during term 2. We very much hope pandemic restrictions will largely be lifted then but it is impossible to predict and we need to be ready for scenarios where placements are compromised.

If a student cannot attend the entirety of a placement in person (whether the school is closed, the student is required to remain at home, or both) then we will investigate possibilities for the placement to take place remotely. If this can’t be done for any reason (which could be simply that the student or host teacher does not want to run a remote placement) then the student will be asked to select another option.

If a student can only attend part of a placement due to pandemic restrictions then similar considerations apply where the student, host teacher, and course leaders have a dialogue regarding the possibilities for a hybrid placement consisting of part face-to-face and part remote. It may be the case that placements begin normally and then unexpectedly have to shift to being remote. In these cases, the student will be given the option of continuing the course or selecting another option. Again, this will always involve three-way dialogue between the student, course leaders and host teacher.

In the event that a student completes all or part of a placement remotely the department will supply any electrical equipment needed to do this.

If a school is happy to host a student in person but the student decides that attending the school in person is not safe then please report this to Kayleigh or Vijay. 

The course will continue to run while we still have students on the course, even if restrictions reduce numbers to 1 the course will continue.

Please contact Vijay Tymms or Kayleigh Murphy with any queries.