The Physics Mentoring Project aims to increase the uptake of Physics A Levels in Wales and improve pupils’ attitudes towards science, by sending trained university students into schools to mentor Year 9 – 11 pupils.

Notoriously, physics is perceived to be a difficult subject. Students and parents often struggle to see the benefits of the subject, including transferable skills and possible careers. The award-winning Physics Mentoring Project aims to tackle this, in order to ultimately contribute to the future economy and prosperity in Wales.

Physics Mentoring believes:

  • Physics is relevant to all lives and should be available to all who wish to engage with it, regardless of background, protected characteristics, or academic ability.
  • Physics skills can increase a person’s belonging in society, increase economic benefit and lead to an immeasurable number of careers in a wide variety of fields.

In Wales, there is an ongoing lower uptake of Physics as an A-level qualification when compared to the other STEM subjects. In 2020-21, only 24% of STEM A-level entries were for Physics. Additionally, there is a distinct lack of girls studying physics compared to biology or chemistry at A-level – only 21% of physics entries are girls.

The Physics Mentoring Project delivers near-peer mentoring to small groups of Year 9 – 11 pupils in schools across Wales with the aim of increasing Physics A-level uptake (specifically the uptake of girls). Mentors are undergraduate and postgraduate students from partner institutions, and sessions are based on the Science Capital Teaching Approach.

The project, which builds on the successes of the award-winning Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Mentoring Scheme, is delivered collaboratively by six Welsh universities: Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of South Wales, and Wrexham University. It is funded by the Welsh Government and these partner institutions, and is fully supported by the Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles.

Read more about the aims of the project, how we have achieved them, and how we plan to continue building on our achievements.

Statistics below are taken from StatsWales