I am the Salters’ Professor of Science Education and leader of the University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG). UYSEG has an international reputation for its research and research-informed curriculum development work, and is the home of national courses including Salters Advanced Chemistry and Twenty-First Century Science.
I joined the Department of Education in 1990, though my connections with the University go back further than this, as I studied Chemistry-with-Education and took my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PCCE) at York. I then spent eight years as a secondary science teacher, mainly in London. During this period, I studied part-time for an MA and then a PhD, at King’s College in London, researching gender issues in science education.
My research interests lie in the area of attitudes to science and in exploring the impact of new approaches to science teaching on young people’s responses to science. I am currently leading a three-year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK National Space Agency which is looking at the impact of human space flight on young people’s attitudes to science, mathematics, technology and engineering. I am also leading the development of a new research-informed curriculum development project called Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST), funded by the Salters' Institute.
My time at York has included the following:
- I was Head of the Department of Education from 2006-2014.
- I was leader of the Science Review Group, which was part of the Evidence Informed Policy and Practice Initiative (EPPI) funded by the Government, and set up to undertake identify and synthesise areas of research in science education.
- I have worked on a number of national and international curriculum development projects, including Science: the Salters Approach and Salters Advanced Chemistry in the UK, and Prime Science in the USA.
- I work on collaborative projects with colleagues in Germany and in South Africa.
- I have served as Chair of the Research Committee of the Association for Science Education (ASE).
- I am a member of the STEM Learning Board, which oversees the work of the National STEM Learning Centre.
I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- attitudes to science
- evaluation of aspects of curriculum development
- systematic reviews of research evidence in science education
Research and curriculum development work with colleagues in Germany and South Africa.
Current PhD students:
- Telima Adolphus: The impact of physics resource availability and utilisation on senior secondary schools students’ physics achievement
- Wafa Alresheid: The student voice in science classrooms
- Estelia Bórquez Sánchez: The development of scientific literacy
- Mythily Ratnasingh: Comparative cross cultural study on context based and concept based science education in the UK and Sri Lanka
- Tuan Mastura Tuan Soh: The impact of visits to the National Science Centre on the attitudes and knowledge of school students in Malaysia
Former PhD Students
- Mario Fenech Caruana (2015): Greening the chemistry curriculum in Maltese educational institutions
- Mutlu Cukurova (2014): An investigation into the effects of self-directed learning on students’ understanding of university level chemistry
- Nita Siti Raudhah Amri (2013): The effects of science research-based competitions on high school students’ responses to science
- Rachael May Sharpe (2013): Secondary students’ attitudes to practical work in school science
- Pam Hanley (2012): The inter-relationship of science and Religious Education in a cultural context: teaching the origin of life
- Nahieli Greaves-Fernandez (2011): The influence of views about the nature of science in decision-making about socio-scientific and pseudo-scientific issues
- Elia Lorena Lopez Ramirez (2011): Facilitators and barriers to lower secondary education in Mexico