Girls in to Physics II

Thomas and Robin return after an extended break to talk A-level expectations, girls in physics and strategies for inclusion. 

Thomas and Robin start with a chat about how to identify early on whether students are likely to succeed in A-level physics. We identify a number of strategies and challenges here… 

  • Whilst many students might choose physics as an A-level that they study for interest alone, most are looking to also achieve a grade that will allow them to progress. If a student is unlikely to achieve much better than a C it is only fair to have the conversation about what doors will be opened by that grade. 
  • Thomas and Robin both start with a maths test at the beginning of the year as the best indicator of a student’s potential in the subject. A poor performance in this test is not irrecoverable, but if the student also has low-level study skills, then this may be a sign that physics is too steep a challenge for them. 
  • Students who don’t have sufficient self-awareness to judge their performance and so just trust to hope are a difficult case, and a frank conversation with parents to manage expectations is best tackled early on. 

We are lucky enough to be joined by Emeritus Professor Averil MacDonald who talks about how to make our classrooms more inclusive, for example using adjectives more often and giving physocs context in terms of careers and skills it gives you. Here’s a resource from SEPNet to give you some ideas. The IOP is also doing a lot to try and break down barriers. 

As we carry on with the podcast we will be doing episodes every month or so, but would love to hear from you about you want to hear from us. And if you fancy coming on and talking about something with us, we would love to welcome you. 

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: .  You can also message us via our website contact form at, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember), you could even email us an autio file if you are feeling really keen.


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