David Morris, Head of Physics at St Peter’s School, was one of eight teachers awarded the Teacher of Physics Award 2012 at an award ceremony at the Intercontinental in London.
With entrants from all over the country, the winners were marked out by their commitment, their passion, their love of physics and their talents at instilling these qualities in their students: inside and outside the classroom.
The IoP judging panel were also looking for teachers who have inspired and supported their colleagues and have worked in the wider education community.
David Morris first worked at Bristol Grammar School, followed by King’s School, Rochester before taking up the post of Head of the Physics Department at St Peter’s School in 1989.
In his time at St. Peter’s the physics department has bucked the national trend by keeping the number of pupils studying physics relatively high; this current year in particular there are an unprecedented 52 pupils studying physics in Year 12 with a record percentage of girls studying physics.
The school has always had internal Science Society lectures, but in 2010 David wanted to open up the lecture programme to the general public of York, and invited Dr Sean Paling from Sheffield University to speak on his search for Dark Matter at Boulby mine. The event was a huge success, showing that there was a demand for this sort of event. Ten lectures later it has developed into a full blown public lecture programme with four lectures a year including a Star Gazing event in January. The lectures regularly attract audiences of 400 plus with the next one being the Guy Fawkes Public Physics lecture being given by Professor Carlos Frenk. Other upcoming speakers include Dr Chris Lintott, Dr Tim O’Brien and Dr Lucie Green.
David has also helped to promote high quality teaching at the school and beyond, running an evening course once a term through the IoP aimed at PGCE students and non-specialist teachers of physics from the local area. He has organised teachers and technicians’ conferences and has also run courses as part of the York Schools independent state partnership.
Six years ago he started the St. Peter’s School Physics Olympics competition for year 8 pupils, which has grown to attract up to 35 schools from across the North of England. His latest venture is in working with the University Physics Department and the Ogden Trust to establish a York Schools Partnership, which will see funds provided for physics events in York.
David said: “I am delighted to have received this award from the Institute of Physics, and I look forward to continuing to raise the profile of physics in York.”