Our purpose is to ensure the biology curriculum at all educational stages is as relevant as possible and prepares students for their next steps in life – whether they go on to study biology at university, use biology in a related career or use their biology knowledge as non-scientist citizens of the 21st century.
The Curriculum Committee's terms of reference are to:
- develop the Society's content criteria for biology qualifications
- consider and provide guidance and information on appropriate assessment models for biology qualifications
- advise on the Society's responses to external consultations on curriculum, qualification and assessment matters
- advise on the biology content of related science qualifications
- advise the Society's ETP Committee on any matters associated with the biology curriculum
Past Working Groups:
The Curriculum Committee received valuable input from supporting advisory and working groups. This included a primary working group composed of primary specialists to focus on ages 3-11 and a student curriculum committee to ensure student voice was heard.
In 2016 the committee conducted an investigation into the student experience of post 16 biology in schools and colleges by surveying undergraduate students. Our post 16 survey page has details about the survey and its findings.
In July 2016 the committee hosted its first event which focused on the transition from schools to higher education.
Members of the Biology Curriculum Committee
- Dr Jeremy Pritchard CSciTeach FRSB - Current Chair
- Dr Mike Cassidy CBiol FRSB
- Ann Fullick CBiol FRSB
- Dr Dawn Hawkins
- Dr Neil Ingram
- Dr Charles Lane MRSB
- Alistair Moore MRSB
- Joy Parvin
- Elena Segalini-Bower MRSB
- Jonathan Weston
- Dr Natalie Vlachakis MRSB
- Dr Claire Pike MRSB
- Kathryn Horan
- Kathy Freeston MRSB
- Therese Osula Winthe MRSB
- Dr Carys Farrell Hughes CSciTeach MRSB
- Dr Andrew Chandler-Grevatt MRSB
- Donna Dawkins
- Ian Harvey FRSB
Past Members of Curriculum Committee:
Professor Libby John FRSB (previous chair)
Beverly Ann Goodger MRSB
Dr Mark Kerrigan FRSB
Dr Jennifer Koenig
Professor Mariann Rand-Weaver FRSB
Rev Professor Michael Reiss CBiol FRSB
Professor Stuart Ferguson
Dr Nick Dixon
Professor Berry Billingsley
Lauren McLeod AMRSB
Helen Mitchell MRSB
Jeremy Pritchard is a senior lecturer in biology. His research at Birmingham University focuses on plants and aphids and he has previously researched plant interactions with their environment in the USA, New Zealand and Europe. Jeremy is also actively involved in diverse teaching, covering topics from field biology and ecology through plant biology to evolution.
Jeremy is involved in communicating science and evolution to schools and the public, and has developed resources to help educators and learners at all levels. He is director of education for the college of life and environmental sciences at the University of Birmingham and chairs the Royal Society of Biology Education Training and Policy (ETP) committee.
He speaks on outreach and public understanding of science policy issues nationally (e.g. ASE, BSF, Wellcome Trust Science Engagement) and has a strong interest in developing policy collaborations with other learned societies internationally, acting as consultant on a range of teaching and education issues.
Within the School of Biosciences Jeremy is an admissions tutor for biology and runs a range of schools liaison activities from years 5 – 13 and CPD for teachers, aiming to help public understanding of science and also facilitate progression across the secondary – tertiary boundary.
Mike Cassidy is currently teaching at Durham University specialising in Science Education and Curriculum. Prior to this he taught both Biology and Education at Warwick university. Mike also supervises Masters and Doctoral students at Durham and the University of Northumbria. Previously Dr Cassidy has taught a variety of Life sciences (Biology, Applied Bioscience, Environmental Science and Psychology) in schools and in Further Education.
After completing his PhD in Zoology at Newcastle University, Mike’s research involved invertebrate animal behaviours and informal learning in Science centres in the UK. He is a Fellow of the Linnaean Society and an experienced university examiner (currently Chief External examiner at the University of Hull). He has contributed to several RSB publications and Advanced level Biology texts and is currently completing an undergraduate text book on Evolutionary Biology.
Dr Cassidy has acted as Science consultant for the former QCA (Qualification and Curriculum Authority) working on qualifications such as Science Diplomas, GNVQs, Science for the 21st Century and HND Bioscience; he has also worked with the Ogden Trust (attracting Physics undergraduates into teaching) and the Natural History Museum in London (evaluating their ‘Real World Science’ project).
Ann Fullick studied natural sciences at Cambridge and was a biology teacher and head of science for many years. She is a successful, internationally published author of more than 90 titles including many UK A Level and GCSE biology textbooks, and books for countries from Ethiopia to the Caribbean. She also produces online biology resources and learning apps. She has examining experience, has been closely involved in UK curriculum development, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, where she is involved with the Education Training and Policy Committee, the Biology Education Research Group and the Curriculum Committee.
Dawn Hawkins is a Reader in the Department of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University. In collaboration with colleagues and postgraduate students in the UK and Tanzania she has on-going projects looking at patterns of biodiversity in relation to natural and anthropogenic factors as well as the behaviour and management of elephants and baboons. However it is her experience teaching statistics to biologists in higher education that mainly brings her to this committee. This experience ranges from designing and leading a first year undergraduate introductory biostats module to 300 students to providing one-to-one support for undergraduates, postgraduates and colleagues. Her textbook Biomeasurement: A student guide to biological statistics is in its 3rd edition for Oxford University Press. She has also been involved in a series of HEA funded projects (NuMBerS, SUMS) designed to support the teaching of maths and statistics in higher and further education in collaboration with Dr Toby Carter and co-founded the BioMaths Education Network with Dr Jenny Koenig.
Neil Ingram is a senior lecturer in science education at the University of Bristol. He is the senior biologist on the initial teacher training course. He has a PhD in quantitative genetics from the University of Birmingham and teaches on a Master’s level Unit on Genes, Education and Society in the School of Education in the University of Bristol . He writes textbooks and is an examiner for A-level Biology. He is involved in the Epigenetics: Environment, Embodiment and Equality (E4) project, funded by the ESRC and BBSRC.
Charles Lane is a consultant plant pathologist and citizen scientist working at Fera Science Ltd, York. he is working on 'Inspiring the next generation of plant health scientists' on behalf of Defra and the Government Office of Science.
Charles has been involved with Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) and the Gatsby plant sciences summer school for over 10 years and has been working with the University of York science education group developing resources for GCSE and A-level for communicable plant diseases.
Charles has over 25 years experience of working with government, ngos, industry and more recently citizens concerning tree health and plant biosecurity.He is a scientific advisor for Tree Health Citizen Science Projects such as OPAL, Observatree and the International Plant Sentinel Network. He has been working to develop the new plant health professionals register, and is a RSB senior plant health professional, Arboricultural Association technician and elected Young Mushroom Scientist of the Year in 1993!
Charles is a director of NYBEB involved Business Education Partnership Development in the North and Yorkshire and a member the local LEP Skills Panel.
Alistair Moore works in the Centre for Innovation and Research in Science Education (CIRSE), part of the University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) and the University's Department of Education.
He has extensive experience in the development of assessments, science curricula and teaching support materials for students aged 11-16. He is currently working on research-informed curriculum development projects for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 science, with emphases on embedded formative assessment and scientific literacy.
Previously, Alistair worked at the assessment organisation OCR, first as qualification leader for A level biology and human biology, and then as qualifications manager for GCSE Sciences. He studied biology at the University of Durham, followed by postgraduate research in immunology and biotechnology at the University of Cambridge.
Joy Parvin has been the director of the Centre for Industry Education for eight years, and before that was primary projects manager for twelve years. She has created or edited over 30 primary science resources including interactive websites for pupils and teachers; written research and evaluation reports and published papers on primary and transition-to-secondary projects; and given presentations at science education and industry conferences in the UK and abroad (including China, India, USA and various countries in Europe). Joy has developed and delivered a wide range of primary science CPD courses in the UK and overseas, varying in duration from twilight sessions to 9 day (year-long) courses and been responsible for the associated Masters accreditation. Joy oversees a team of primary and secondary specialists, and is responsible for the design and delivery of all CIEC projects, ranging from translating cutting edge science research in to primary and secondary science activities, to supporting teachers with understanding, leading and assessing science in primary schools, and making credible links with science industries and related careers. Key projects Joy has developed are Children Challenging Industry (funded by government, education and industry sources), the Primary Science Enhancement Programme (funded by the Gatsby Foundation) and Discussions in Primary Science, (funded by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust).
Elena Segalini-Bower was previous head of biology, head of extended project qualifications and teaching and learning at Hereford Cathedral School, a co-educational independent day school, where she worked between 2008 and 2017, additionally teaching A Level Psychology. She has been a KS3 national science strategy lead teacher for Worcestershire and she has worked in both independent and state schools as a lead teacher focusing on implementing the most effective teaching and learning strategies. Elena has been a PGCE and NQT mentor throughout her teaching career.
Elena has a keen interest in Anthropology and has included this wonderful branch of biology in the KS3 schemes of work at her school. She was educated in Italy and spent two years completing a Masters on ethology (ants behaviour) as part of her natural sciences degree course at Parma University (Italy). During her PGCE course she completed a project on the active learning cycle comparing the use of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to enhance learning to more traditional teaching techniques. Her article on the endoplasmic reticulum song homework featured in the School Science Review published by ASE.
Elena was one of the three finalists in the RSB teacher of the year award in July 2015.
Between September 2017 and 2019 she worked as an IB Biology teacher at the British School of Warsaw, where she enjoyed working with an international student body.
Elena is currently teaching Biology (A level, IB and IGCSE) at Ardingly College (West Sussex) where she is also a UCAS advisor, in charge of Medical Society.
Natalie Vlachakis is a Curriculum Support Manager in science with the awarding body AQA. Prior to that, she was a science teacher for 12 years and most recently Head of Biology at an Oxfordshire comprehensive school. Her teaching experience spans comprehensive and private schools in the UK, as well as international schools in South Africa and Abu Dhabi. Natalie is interested in equity in science education, and practical strategies that increase science capital for all students. She studied Biochemistry followed by an MSc in Crystallography at Wits University (South Africa) and a PhD in Structural Genomics at Sussex University.
Claire Pike is Deputy Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University. In this role, she oversees curriculum development, academic quality, student achievement and the student experience across a wide range of STEM courses and disciplines. She is passionate about the power of education to positively transform people’s lives.
Claire read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, progressing to the MSci in Biochemistry and then a PhD in the field of epigenetics and transcriptional control at the Gurdon Institute. She completed a postdoctoral Research Associateship at the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre, focussing on the genetics and genomics of breast cancer.
Alongside her research work, Claire has taught for 15 years at the University of Cambridge, supervising undergraduates in the Biological Natural Sciences Tripos, directing final-year project students in the Department of Pathology, and acting as a Director of Studies for Magdalene College. She has lectured on a broad range of biomedical sciences topics in London and at Anglia Ruskin, supervises PhD students in cognate disciplines, and has played a key part in writing new degree courses, which were successful accredited. Claire is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Heads of University Sciences of Biomedical Sciences.
Kathryn Horan is a Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) with eleven years experience, currentlyworking at Pudsey Waterloo Primary School in Leeds. She is also an independent primary science education consultant with extensive experience facilitating teacher training, including for ITT, and directly supporting teachers and senior leadership teams. In recent years, Kathryn’s particular interests include links between science and literacy teaching and developing a love of and respect for the natural environment in pupils.
Kathryn is a college fellow of the Primary Science Teacher Trust and an active member of the Association for Science Education, currently in role as the chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional ASE Committee. She is an assessment specialist for Cambridge Assessment International Education and also works as a Primary Science Quality Mark Hub Leader, supporting schools through the developmental PSQM process.
Kathy Freeston has been teaching for 20 years and is currently the lead teacher for A level at East Leake Academy in Nottinghamshire. She brings her intrinsic enthusiasm for biology to this role and is motivated by succeeding in getting students excited about the complexities of the natural world. As part of the team behind @ChatBiology on Twitter Kathy brings current biological news stories to her classroom and the wider teaching community to enable students to step into the shoes of a biologist so they can really understand how science develops because of collaborative research. Kathy enjoys tackling misconceptions and creating innovative methods and models to unpick these and build a depth of understanding. Alongside her interest in the substantive knowledge of biology Kathy allows her teaching to be guided by the science of learning and the research into cognitive load.