Heather Wain

Ms Heather Wain MProf, BSc (Hons), PGCE, NPQH, MInstP

Head of Academic Development, Department of Teacher Education


Having spent 18 years as a physics teacher and senior leader in secondary schools, I came to Sheffield Hallam in 2008 as a professional development leader in science education and to teach physics education in the department of teacher education.  I am currently Head of Academic Development in the department of Teacher Education where I work closely with the Head of Department in a cross-department role focussing on the quality or provision and the student experience.  Most of my teaching takes place on the secondary undergraduate suite of courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status in the shortage subjects of Mathematics, Science and Design and Technology.  I have an interest in and philosophical and pedagogical ideas and approaches to the in the teaching of physics, specifically in relation to gender.


I was previously a science (physics) teacher for 18 years with experience in a number of schools across the region and in the south west. Most recently, I was an assistant head teacher and curriculum leader for science at specialist Science College in Leeds. I completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2007 with a view to progressing in leadership but decided instead to stay involved with specifically science education.

I came to the university in 2008 initially as a full-time professional development leader within the Science Learning Centre Yorkshire and the Humber, but over the past three years I have moved full-time into Teacher Education leading the suite of undergraduate courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status in the subjects of Mathematics, Science and Design Technology.  This is a little known route which, each year, supplies high quality NQTs in these shortage subjects and beyond and I am proud and privileged to work with these trainees, our team of expert academic colleagues and partnership schools on a daily basis. 

I continue to be passionate about physics, education and physics education and  I was awarded a university Inspirational Teaching Award in 2014.  I am also enjoying a more academic engagement within the field and I am about to submit my dissertation for  a Professional Masters in Research in Education, the focus of which has been girls,  physics and the teacher shortage.

As well as teaching physics and general education modules on the undergraduate teacher education courses, I have lead professional development across a range of areas including leadership and I have a particular interest in the subject knowledge and subject specific pedagogical development of non-specialist teachers of physics.

Specialist areas of interest

Physics Education
Gender in (physics) education


Subject area

Secondary undergraduate


BSc (Honours) Science with Education and Qualified Teacher Status
BSc (Honours) Mathematics with Education and Qualified Teacher Status


Physics Foundations
Further Physics
Turning Points in Physics
Practice in the Context of Learning and Teaching
Developing Learning and Teaching in the Curriculum
Professional Studies in Education


I am currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education (EdD) with a focus on gender, physics and pedagogy. I have recently presented at conferences on this theme at the National STEM centre. I am also interested in the on-going impact of subject specific CPD for non-specialist teachers of physics.


Theses / Dissertations

Wain, H. (2018). Physics and feminism: a personal reflection on one physicsteacher’s doctoral journey. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Taylor, C. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00104

Other activities

Member of the Institute of Physics
Member of the Association for Science Education
I am also the co-ordinator for the undergraduate routes into teaching and lead the post-ITT Subject Knowledge Enhancement programme in physics and chemistry.

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