Teacher's (& Tutor's) Qualifications Do Matter!

In a study (reported by the BBC, The Telegraph & others) by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson of University of Buckingham:-

From "Key Findings"
  • Overall, in the schools and colleges of England and Wales, 37.7% of the teachers of physics/physical processes to 14-18 year-olds had physics as their main subject of qualification.
  • Teachers’ expertise in physics as measured by qualification is the second most powerful predictor of pupil achievement in GCSE and A-level physics after pupil ability.
From "Box 6.4: Lack of Underpinning for A-level"
  • ‘It is essential that dedicated enthusiastic physics teachers take all physics lessons from Year 8 at least. Non-specialists convey the impression the subject is difficult because of their own unfamiliarity and this instils prejudice and problems which can often not be rectified in pupils at a later stage.’
  • Teachers without a solid physics background struggle to excite and gain the confidence of the KS4 pupils.
  • Many of our students have not been taught physics at high school by a physics graduate and consequently the lack of thorough grounding in the subject makes A-level difficult for both students and staff.’
From Section 6.10:
  • Physics is often seen as a hard subject by pupils. According to the head of science/physics in an independent girls’ day and boarding school in Yorkshire and Humberside, this is attributable in part to non-specialist teaching lower down the school, “Non-specialists convey the impression the subject is difficult because of their own unfamiliarity and this instils prejudice and problems which can often not be rectified in pupils at a later stage.”
(Source: Physics crisis linked to lack of qualified teachers, University of Buckingham, Summary, Full report)