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 and engagement in science and in exploring the impact of new approaches to science teaching on young people’s responses to science.
I am currently leading a number of research projects. These include:
- Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST), a six-year project funded by the Salters' Institute, developing and evaluating the impact of evidence-informed curriculum materials for pupils aged 11-16
- Science Beyond the Boundaries, a three-year project funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation, developing and evaluation the impact of interdisciplinary resources for students aged 16-18
- Practical Assessment in School Science (PASS), a three-year project funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, looking at effective ways of assessing practical skills for students age 14-16
- a six-year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK National Space Agency and looking at the impact of human space flight on young people’s attitudes to science, mathematics, technology and engineering
My time at York has included the following:
- Before taking on the role of Salters’ Professor, 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 to undertake identify and synthesise areas of research in science education.
- I 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 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- attitudes and engagement in 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:
- Wafa Alresheid: The student voice in science classrooms
- Mythily Ratnasingh: Comparative cross cultural study on context-based and concept-based science education in the UK and Sri Lanka
Former PhD Students
- Estelia Bórquez Sánchez (2020): The development of scientific literacy
- Telima Adolphus (2017): The impact of physics resource availability and utilisation on senior secondary schools students’ physics achievement
- 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