Education and outreach

KEEP Teaching trial: frequently asked questions

Teaching is a rewarding and hugely worthwhile career, but the workload can be demanding. 

We are looking at ways to reduce workload, particularly for teachers at the start of their careers.

We want to Keep Every Early-career Physics (KEEP) teacher teaching.

Help us by taking part in the KEEP Teaching trial.

Register your interest.


The KEEP Teaching trial

What is KEEP Teaching?

KEEP Teaching is a national research trial, led by the IOP.

It aims to investigate how to help early-career physics teachers build successful and enduring careers. 

The output from the KEEP Teaching trial will be an evidence-base that informs the future of physics teaching.

Although this initial trial focuses on newly qualified teachers (NQTs) with a physics specialism, if it proves to be successful, the intervention could also be applied to other sciences and other subjects.

We think there’s a way to retain more physics specialists in the profession – KEEP Teaching is your chance to help us find out if we’re right. 

Why is KEEP Teaching important?

Teaching is a rewarding and hugely worthwhile career, but the workload can be demanding. 

We’ve been looking at ways to reduce teacher workload – particularly for early-career teachers. We are researching the impact of this approach on teacher retention. 

The KEEP Teaching research trial aims to test interventions that will improve teacher retention by reducing workload from the very beginning of a teacher’s career. NQTs can then focus on becoming highly skilled classroom practitioners.

Why should I get involved?

Be actively involved in shaping the future of physics teaching.

Be part of an important research project investigating how to: 

  • reduce workload for early-career physics teachers
  • help early-career teachers build successful and enduring professional careers 
  • improve teacher retention

There is a payment of £250 for the participating science department.

There is a payment of £30 for the NQT.

How long will the trial run for?

The KEEP Teaching programme is running in schools for three years from September 2019. 

Each participating school will typically take part in the trial for one academic year.

What impact will my participation in the KEEP Teaching trial have on pupils?

For NQTs and schools selected to be part of KEEP Teaching, whether allocated to an intervention or control group, no negative impacts are anticipated on pupil outcomes in science or other subjects. We might expect there to be benefits to pupils due to participating NQTs being more effective.

What impact will participation in the KEEP Teaching trial have on the school?

None of the potential interventions will reduce the number of hours the NQT is available for teaching or increase their workload.

What impact will participation in the KEEP Teaching trial have on NQTs?

None of the potential interventions will reduce the number of hours the NQT is available for teaching or increase their workload. 

There will be no additional work, no negative impact on them, their school or their students.

Tell me more about the intervention

Exactly what is the intervention?

As the trial is a randomised controlled trial (RCT), it’s important that we don’t share too many details about the intervention itself to ensure the control group continues ‘business as usual’ and  is not influenced by ideas being implemented in the intervention groups. 

Broadly, the intervention could be a:

  • subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) programme
  • modified timetable
  • mentoring programme
  • initiative to support mental health and wellbeing

When will we know if we’re in the intervention group and if the intervention requires preparation before September?

Timescales largely depend on when you are able to confirm to us that you have recruited an eligible NQT. After we have received your signed memorandum of understanding, we expect to be able to let you know within a week if you are in the control or intervention group and the nature of the intervention.

I see that one of the possible interventions is a ‘subject-specific CPD programme’. If we are allocated this intervention, would it increase the NQT’s workload or reduce the time they are available to teach?

None of the potential interventions will reduce the number of hours the NQT is available for teaching or increase their workload.

If we are allocated the intervention ‘modified timetable’, what are the implications of this for the school and NQT? 

If allocated this intervention you may be asked to increase the number of physics and/or ‘repeat’ science lessons your NQT has in their timetable cycle. 

Their teaching hours would not be reduced or affected. 

I see that one possible intervention is a ‘mentoring programme’. Will this require the NQT to visit a mentor or undertake additional projects?

None of the potential interventions will reduce the number of hours the NQT is available for teaching, increase their workload or require them to travel.

I see that one possible intervention is an ‘initiative to support mental health and wellbeing’. Will this require the NQT to be absent during the school day?

None of the potential interventions will reduce the number of hours the NQT is available for teaching, increase their workload or require them to travel.

More information

Find more FAQs about the trial and what to do next

Email keepteaching@iop.org if you don't find the answer to your question in our FAQs.

One student in classroom with teacher

KEEP Teaching trial

School leaders, heads of science, physics teachers and future physics NQTs.

We think there’s a way to improve physics teacher retention.

Register your interest to be part of our research trial and help us find out if we’re right.

Register your interest