Physics Enhancement Programme (PEP) Evaluation

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the TTA are working in partnership to increase the number of high school physics teachers. This is to be achieved by widening recruitment (through drawing upon those people interested in teaching physics, who have a 'non-traditional' subject background), developing trainees' knowledge base, enhancing PGCE training and supporting NQT's in their first post.

The Physics Enhancement Programme (PEP) consists of three phases. In Phase 1, the trainees spend up to six months on a subject enhancement course. In Phase 2, those who successfully complete the enhancement course move directly onto their chosen ITT route (for example: PGCE, GTP) to qualified teacher status. Phase 3 focuses on the first two years of teaching, where further support will be provided to improve retention of the NQT's.

This research project has been commissioned by Gatsby Technical Education Projects to evaluate phases 2 and 3 of the PEP. The project started in September 2004 and is due to run for three years.

Project aims

The overall aims of this project are to:

  • monitor the support mechanisms and strategies (the processes) employed in Phases 2 and 3 of the PEP
  • evaluate the impact of these support mechanisms and strategies on the professional development of the participating trainees.

Research Methods

A range of research methods will be employed including:

  • questionnaires: probing trainees' developing pack
  • interviews: with trainees, university tutors and school mentors
  • lesson observations: of a sample of the trainees

The project data will be collected over an extended time period, allowing a longitudinal study of the trainees entry into science teaching. The outcomes of the project will be of interest to all of those concerned with initial teacher training and the professional development of teachers.


In the first phase of our study we have examined trainee and expert teachers' responses to questions about science set in a pedagogical context. A working report is available (PDF file).


School of Education
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT.

A working report is available