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Physics A Level - teacher leaving

(12 Posts)
cradletodave Tue 19-Nov-19 09:39:59

DD planning to stay at her school sixth form and do physics A Level but sadly we've heard the physics teacher is leaving and the course is going to be taught by one of the biology teachers instead. She's a good biology teacher but she says she hasn't taught A level physics before or even studied it herself since A level. Should we be worried? I know A level physics has a lot of maths in it and can be quite hard.

OP’s posts: |
Thistly Tue 19-Nov-19 09:47:50

Yes, i would be worried. Have you looked at alternatives? Just so you know what they offer?

cradletodave Tue 19-Nov-19 09:48:27

Just to add, she does teach some physics at GCSE but I guess A Level is a big step up from that?

OP’s posts: |
Purpledragon40 Tue 19-Nov-19 09:56:00

Physics A Level is a huge step up from GCSEs. I could teach GCSE physics but I couldn't pass physics A Level. On the other hand the biology teacher might be perfectly competent though I know sometimes SLT have a hard time realising that not all Modern Foreign Languages are the same and not all science is the same. I would be worried honestly, it's possible she might know her stuff well but it's possible SLT might have forced it on her.

michaelbaubles Tue 19-Nov-19 09:56:30

I'm not sure how they can be so confident about staffing for next year right now - lots can change between November and next September! In fact I've been confidently told in July I'll be teaching something only to find my actual timetable in September is totally different.

A non-specialist is less than optimal, to be sure, but Physics teachers are hard to recruit and if they have made this decision already at least that gives the teacher lots of time to prepare and hopefully get resources etc from the outgoing teacher.

cradletodave Tue 19-Nov-19 11:54:34

Michaelbaubles I suppose they needed to present it at the sixth form open evening as something that was covered, and that a familiar and well-liked teacher was going to be taking it over. Perhaps they might still advertise for someone else but I guess they can't guarantee getting someone.

OP’s posts: |
churchandstate Tue 19-Nov-19 13:43:20

It really does depend on the teacher. If she did Physics A Level and has an affinity for the subject and she is diligent then it might be fine. Or it might be a disaster...

Pythonesque Tue 19-Nov-19 14:21:40

I'd view that as a red flag too. I was educated elsewhere and our final 2 year physics course was probably pitched somewhere in between GCSE and A level. We had one great physics teacher in our school; and unusually two of us extremely interested in physics which brought out the best in him. At any rate, for the first time we had two senior physics classes instead of 1, and that first year one class was taken by a biology teacher. Although the classes were not particularly different at the outset there was a clear difference in attainment and rate of continuing the subject into our final year, when they arranged things so everyone doing physics had the physics teacher.

Encourage your daughter to seriously look elsewhere, and perhaps discuss your concerns with the school too. Hope you can find a good solution that gives her access to an excellent physics teacher one way or another.

avocadochocolate Tue 19-Nov-19 14:26:47

I would be concerned. Can you speak to the head of science? It is possible they have a good plan in place, but it would need to be a very good one.

Is it worth your DD changing to a different school!?

I feel sorry for your school. Physics teachers are like gold dust.

XelaM Tue 19-Nov-19 18:21:08

Maybe find a private tutor just in case if it's financially viable? My brother who has always been top of the class or thereabouts in sciences did Physics and said it was hard. He had my grandfather (a physics professor) tutor him regularly

InACheeseAndPickle Tue 19-Nov-19 18:32:15

I don't think it's at all ideal is there only one teacher for the whole of physics a level? Is your daughter also taking maths? Alot of the topics which are most technical are covered also (and at a higher level) in maths so wouldn't be too much of an issue. However a biology teacher will certainly be less able to answer off the cuff questions put the material in context and go beyond the syllabus for students who want to take physics or engineering beyond a level.

noblegiraffe Tue 19-Nov-19 19:28:44

Is the teacher doing a conversion course? I’ve got a friend who is a biology teacher but did a course aimed at getting other science teachers up to A-level Physics standard.

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