Schools and Outreach

An important element of work in Lancaster University’s Physics Department is to further the public understanding of Physics and to inspire and enthuse young people in Physics.

Our schools' outreach programme is organised by Phil Furneaux and Mhairi Mitchison. We organise a range of activities on-campus and in schools including Physics Roadshows, Specialist Physics Masterclasses, Academic Talks, support with EPQ’s and Gold Crest Awards, Stem Club support. We also run several residential programmes events where A-level students stay on campus to experience life and University and have the opportunity to engage with University-level Physics for a more sustained period. All our events are strongly supported by our academic staff. Our events are consistently highly rated by students, with 91% rating the day as 4/5 or 5/5 in 2015-2016.

We are keen to develop partnerships with schools by working alongside teachers to inspire and enthuse school students to improve their exam performance and consider continuing to study Physics to a higher level. We have also developed the Lancaster Particle Physics Package which is an educational tool for A-level students to learn more about Particle Physics. Our content is all matched to the National Curriculum.

‌As part of the public engagement strand, our academics give public talks to special interest groups, at music festivals, local community events, and standup science comedy nights. We also work with local partners, such as EDF Heysham, to deliver science days for the local community.

Nationally, our staff have participated in several Royal Society Summer Exhibitions, including:

We run the national AuroraWatch service, developed and run by the Space and Planetary Physics research group here at Lancaster, which provides forecasts of the northern lights over the UK.

Our researchers also blog about their work and write popular science-level articles for The Conversation.

Phil Furneaux

Phil Furneaux

Phil Furneaux was an A-level teacher for nearly 30 years and recently retired from William Howard School, Brampton, Cumbria. He is an examiner for OCR. He works at the Lancaster Physics Department as a Schools Outreach Officer sponsored by the Ogden Trust. His experience helps to provide activities that suit the needs of examination boards and individual students. He is also an IOP Physics Teacher Network Coordinator.

Contact Phil on p.furneaux@lancaster.ac.uk.

Mhairi Mitchison

Mhairi Mitchison

Mhairi Mitchison is an Ogden Trust Outreach Officer here at Lancaster University and she also works as the Curriculum Leader Science and Engineering at Blackpool Sixth Form College and a senior examiner for AQA Physics.

Mhairi has a passion for outreach and started up the Fylde Coast Ogden Partnership in 2013. Since starting at Lancaster in September 2014  she has expanded the outreach programme to include Physics Roadshows for Y5 upwards, an EDT Headstart Course, Space Workshops in collaboration with Polestar Planetarium, EPQ support, BA Gold Crest Award and Work Experience.

Contact Mhairi on m.mitchison@lancaster.ac.uk.