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Teacher Support and Continued Professional Development

Teacher CPD activities


The Science Engagement team offer a range of exciting free engaging activities, workshops and school talks that support and enhance the curriculum for both primary and secondary school students. We also create original and relevant teaching resources based upon our research and use this material in workshops as part of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and training support sessions for teachers. We are keen to collaborate with teachers to develop activities that best suit the needs of the individual school.

Activities range from one-off workshops to one-term or year-long scientific investigation projects, and from teacher CPD sessions to whole-school science week programmes. There is no charge for any of these activities. However, as we rely on volunteers from university departments, we are limited on availability but do try to cater for requests wherever possible.

You can also get involved with Durham University’s Science Engagement by hosting an undergraduate student as part of the undergraduate module Science into Schools or attend Celebrate Science during October half term.

Please do feel free to get in touch. We are very happy to chat through ideas and look forward to working with you.

Continued Professional Development

Our close partnerships with teachers enables us to create original and relevant teaching resources and use this material in workshops as part of CPD courses and training support sessions for teachers. As well as bespoke programmes and network sessions (including coordination of the Durham Primary Science Network for Durham County Council), we run specialist events on campus such as: 

  • Primary Physics Professional Learning Day – A day of CPD which has been designed to increase primary teachers' subject knowledge and confidence, helping them to bring science to life in the classroom. In 2018, Durham was the first university in the country to host the event when 66 teachers from 59 primary schools across the North East took part in workshops themed around the topic of electricity. In 2019, 85 local primary school teachers spent a day with us taking part in workshops exploring several areas of the primary science curriculum.
  • EINSTEINPLUS (E+) UK – In 2023 we hosted our first three-day immersive professional development programme showcasing resources from the Perimeter Institute, funded by The Ogden Trust. This annual CPD programme has been designed to provide new teaching resources and ideas, subject knowledge support with contemporary physics and an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practice in a supportive learning community. Nineteen secondary school teachers of physics from the Ogden Teacher Network took part in the three day residential programme.

  • A Day for Everyone Teaching Physics – A day of CPD which has been designed to extend both specialist and non-specialist secondary teachers’ knowledge and understanding of physics and provide ideas for practical activities for the classroom. This annual event, sponsored by the North East Branch of the Institute of Physics (IOP), began in 2009 and each year attracts around 60 secondary school teachers and their technicians from across our region.

Resources to Support Teaching

In addition, we produce resources that support teaching more generally. Examples from our primary school programme, include the innovative teaching pack - ‘Spooky Space – Creative Teaching of Space’. Over 700 copies have been distributed around the region, and is also available to download from the ESERO website. Whilst our contribution to the ‘Earth to Space Challenge’, formed part of the UK Space Agency & ESA’s teaching resources surrounding Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

Secondary focussed resources include ‘Radioactivity to Redshift', a series of classroom posters and a CD-ROM, which were distributed to over nine hundred schools around the UK. It is estimated that our ‘Gravity, Gas and Stardust’ DVD, produced in collaboration with the IOP, has been viewed by over 500,000 Key Stage 4 students in the UK alone. We also contributed to the IOP’s 'Teaching Astronomy and Space' DVD. 'How Big is the Universe?' and 'The Expanding Universe and the Big Bang' feature on the Guardian YouTube channel and have been viewed over 5 million times. Science Engagement also created a TED-Ed Original lesson. 'What light can teach us about the universe' has so far received over 290,000 views on the TED-Ed website.