“Outstanding” physics teacher wins national award

A Turriff Academy teacher has been recognised for his dedication to physics by the professional body representing the scientific subject.

Stephen Dempsey was among the winners who received this year’s Teacher of Physics Award from the Institute of Physics.

His citation said

Steve is an outstanding teacher who is passionate about his subject. His students frequently praise the quality of his lessons, appreciating his dedicated and caring approach. He makes skilled use of practical work, and he enhances the learning experience for students of all abilities.

His lessons foster curiosity about science and physics, and he goes the extra mile to capture students’ imagination. He is actively involved in a rage of extra-curricular activities with pupils, leading school trips and other activities. Steve is very committed to helping colleagues, and his coaching of early career teachers has been invaluable. He has taken responsibility to lead the Physics Teacher Support Group in Aberdeenshire and provided outstanding service to its programme, as well as to other professional organisations.

Mr Dempsey said

I feel honoured and humble that this is how my peers in the profession regard me and my contribution to physics teaching not just in school but in the professional subject network group as well.

I am very pleased and delighted to be recognised. I enjoy what I do and being in the classroom. It’s all very positive. I have had a lot of congratulations from staff and pupils at Turriff Academy.

As an award winner Mr Dempsey has received a Caithness glass paperweight and a cash prize.

Stephen Dempsey with his Teacher of Physics Award from the Institute of Physics
Stephen Dempsey with his Teacher of Physics Award from the Institute of Physics

His 43-year career in teaching began in 1978. In 2004 he became the head teacher of Brechin High School, where he worked for ten years before retiring. He returned to the profession, first as a supply teacher, and then permanently at Forfar Academy before teaching at Portlethen Academy for three years, and now Turriff Academy.

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Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said

Well done Steve! This award demonstrates the strength and passion of teachers in Aberdeenshire, and it is fantastic to see their work being commended at a national level by such a respected body.

Cllr Charles Buchan, a former physics teacher at Fraserburgh Academy, received an award from the Institute of Physics in 2009. He is now a member of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee. He said

I am delighted for Steve that he has won such a prestigious award. Having been honoured myself I know what this must mean for him. Congratulations Steve!

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