Problem Solving in Physics - how to extend your able students (Kettering)

17 Jun 2017 - 10:30am to 3:30pm
Kettering Buccleuch Academy, Kettering
Teachers of physics

Image credit: scui3asteveo, Flickr

The event

Staff and volunteers from the University of Oxford and British Physics Olympiad Trust will provide guidance and resources on helping your students to develop advanced problem solving skills in physics. The day will cover extending able students in class through providing extension classes to help them explore their interest in physics.

Past British Physics Olympiad questions will be explored along with simple demonstrations that are designed to challenge students into new ways of thinking. Teachers with experience in stretching students in physics will be present to offer advice, suggestions, ideas and answer questions.

The session will also include insight into what top universities are looking for when selecting a candidate, and how to develop these skills, which are required for further study.

Who is the event for?
This event is for teachers who are less familiar with using more advanced questions in the classroom, similar to those presented in the British Physics Olympiad. The event would also be useful for physics teachers from schools where there is less tradition of students progressing to top universities.

Refreshments will be provided thanks to the generosity of BPhO sponsors.

The British Physics Olympiad

The British Physics Olympiad was founded in 1982 with the aim of selecting and coaching a team to attend an International Physics Olympiad. It now reaches over 15,000 school students with the dual aim of encouraging the study of Physics and recognising excellence in young physicists through five annual Physics competitions. For more information, past papers and resources visit:


Mr Robin Hughes; Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.
Dr Jenny Barnes; Department of Physics, University of Oxford and Queens College, Oxford
Mr Iain Holmes; Kettering Buccleuch Academy
Dr Sian Tedaldi; Department of Physics, University of Oxford

Mr Robin Hughes
Robin Hughes is the Chairman of the British Physics Olympiad and is a member of the team of teachers which trains the squad and, subsequently the team, for the International Physics Olympiad Competition. Robin is engaged in the Isaac Physics project, based in Cambridge. This project is to build up students’ independent learning skills, conceptual understanding, insight, determination and confidence through solving physics problems. He is at the school university interface and is involved in students’ progress as they jump the gap. Previously Robin was the Head of Physics at King's College School Wimbledon (one of the highest academically performing schools in the UK). He has taught physics to pupils from Year 6 - 13 covering both A level and IB.

Dr Jenny Barnes
Dr Jenny Barnes is an Isaac Physics Fellow at Oxford Physics and leads the department’s Physics Access Programme. This involves teaching problem solving skills to A level students, often as part of taster days within the university.

Jenny tutors first and second year mathematics to both material science and physics undergraduates at Queens College, plus some physics courses in the third year. Jenny lectures part of the mathematics course for the materials department and also lecture on the Mathematical, Physical and Life Science (MPLS) bridging programme, covering mathematics and mechanics. Previously, Jenny spent 10 years researching optoelectronic devices in industry in addition to 6 years of research into quantum well solar cells as part of her PhD and post-doctoral research.

Mr Iain Holmes
Iain Holmes is a trustee for the British Physics Olympiad and has been involved with the organisation since 2010. In 2000 Iain was part of the undergraduate team which helped to run the International Olympiad which was hosted at the University of Leicester. Iain has taught A level physics for the last 13 years and has held posts as Head of Physics and Head of Science. Iain is currently an Assistant Principal at Kettering Buccleuch Academy.

Dr Sian Tedaldi
Dr Siân Tedladi is the Outreach Programmes Manager at Oxford Physics. Sian's role is to promote further study and careers in physics through the development and delivery of activities, events and resources. Sian also leads the administration and marketing of the British Physics Olympiad and collaborates with a number of organisations and networks such as SEPnet and The Ogden Trust. Sian graduated in Physics from the University of Liverpool in 2003, and went on to complete a PhD in Science Communication.

Thank you so much for running this, and for being so inspiring… it was truly the most useful training I've been on

(Feedback from workshop, Oxford 2013)


For more information contact: