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Dr Sue Howarth

Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education: Science

Institute of Education

Contact Details


tel: 01905 542082

Sue initially worked in Higher Education, in universities in Canada and the UK, before moving into secondary school Science teaching in England for many years. Whilst Head of Biology in a school in Bath, she received a ‘Teacher of the Year’ Award from the Institute of Biology (now the Royal Society of Biology). Other highlights of her school teaching career were: instilling a love of Biology in pupils; running clubs and societies; organising field trips to Malaysia, to work in an elephant sanctuary and to Peru, to study the biodiversity of the Amazon and raising the aspirations of students by encouraging them to enter competitions such as The ‘Young Science Writer of the Year’ which they won. Sue was also a finalist in a national award for use of ICT in Teaching.

Since becoming a Science Tutor at the University of Worcester, Sue has worked as a member of the Science Team to enhance the Science PGCE and School Direct programmes, including making good use of the undergraduate laboratory facilities and the grounds of the university to promote practical work and learning outside the classroom. Sue and the team invite a good range of external speakers from learned societies and professional bodies, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, the Science Learning Centres etc; to visit and work with their trainee teachers as well as organise visits to places of scientific interest such as the Jenner Museum, Thinktank in Birmingham, @Bristol, Dudley Zoo, the National Space Centre in Leicester etc. Sue also helps organise joint events, such as those run by partner schools e.g. Triple Science workshops.

Sue is the Ethics Coordinator for the Institute of Education and the Research and Knowledge Transfer Representative for the Centre for Secondary and Post-Compulsive Education.

You can follow Sue on Twitter: @howarthsg where she tweets mainly about Biology/Science Education news, resources and competitions and sometimes about bees.


Chartered Science Teacher: CSciTeach

Chartered Biologist: CBiol

Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology: FRSB

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry: FRSC

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: FHEA

Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Distinction (Worcester)

Graduate Certificate in Science Education (London)

PhD Animal Physiology (London)

BSc (Hons) Zoology and Physiology (Leeds)


Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

Initial Secondary Teacher Education

Science Education, particularly Biology Education

Biology in (and out of) the National Curriculum

The Importance of Practical Work, including Field Work and Dissection, in Science Education

The Roles of Communication, ICT and Networking in Science Education

Continuing Professional Development for Science Teachers

Stretch and Challenge in Science Teaching

STEM Enrichment and Enhancement

Science and Cultue

Teacher-training in Other Countries, including Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Egypt

Research Interests

Sue enjoys supervising PhD and Masters students and her research interests are many and varied, but mostly revolve around Biology, Science and Education. Some key interests are listed below.

Gifted and Talented in Biology, including the Roles of the British Biology Olympiad and the Biology Challenge Competitions

Stretch and Challenge Opportunities in Science and STEM subjects

Equal Opportunities in Science Labs

Making the Most of, and Developing, Partnerships between Schools, including European Schools and Science Organisations

Keeping and Using Animals in Schools

Biology A level reform

Retention in Secondary ITE trainees

Tutor-Mentor partnerships in Teacher training

The Role of Diagrams in Teaching

Professional Bodies

Professional Bodies

Association for Science Education: member of Publications Committee (until 2013) and member of editorial board of School Science Review (until Sept 2015); Section Editor, with Linda Scott, of The Clubbers’ Guide (until June 2014); currently Editorial Associate.

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour: secondary education representative on the Education committee until 2010

Association of Tutors in Science Education, ATSE

Biology Education Research Group, BERG, member since inauguration

British Science Association: member of the BSA; member of the West Midlands regional committee (until 2013); national judge for Senior Science at the Big Bang Fairs

Higher Education Academy: Fellow of the HEA

Royal Society of Chemistry: Fellow of the RSC

The Royal Society of Biology: Fellow of the RSB; member of the editorial board of The Biologist (until Sept 2015) ; committee member of the West Midlands branch; webmaster for the WM branch until 2010; recipient of the Teacher of the Year award (2005); member of the judging panel for the Biology Teacher of the Year Award; member of the judging panel for the Biology Book of the Year Award (postgraduate category)

United Kingdom Biology Competitions, UKBC: founder member of Biology Challenge and past member of both Biology Challenge and British Biology Olympiad working groups; escort to the International Biology Olympiad




Publications and Presentations

Publications and Presentations

Further details and older publications can be found via WRaP

The Early Career Development of Science Teachers from Initial Training Onwards: the Advantage of a Multi-faceted 5-Year Programme (2014) School Science Review, Garrett, Caro; Tas, Maarten; Twidle, John; Warhurst, Adrian; Howarth, Sue; Clarke, Julian and King, Chris; School Science Review 95 (353) pp 95-105

School Biology Clubs (2014) School Science Review 95 (353) pp 14-22

Success with STEM; Ideas for the Classroom, STEM Clubs and Beyond (2014) with Linda Scott, Routledge, ISBN 9780415822893

Mongolian Teacher-training and Trainer-training Course; Biology AS Equivalent, Ulaan Baatar, Summer 2013, For Cambridge International Examinations

Ideas for Science / STEM Clubs .....from Books. (2013) School Science Review, 95 (350). pp. 19-23. 

Creating a Buzz Around School (Editorial). (2013) School Science Review, 94 (349). p. 18. 

A Treasure Trove of Science Activities (editorial). (2013) School Science Review, 95 (348). p. 16. Howarth, Sue and Scott, Linda

Proposals for Devising a Programme for the Early Career Development of Science Teachers From Initial Training Onward. School Science Review. (Submitted 2013) Garrett, Caro and Tas, Maarten and Twidle, John and Warhurst, Adrian and Howarth, Sue and Clarke, Julian and King, Chris 

Marketing and Extending Your STEM Club. (2012) Scott, Linda and Howarth, Sue; School Science Review, 94 (347). pp. 19-22. 

Perspectives on Teacher Education Risk-taking in the Workplace; Challenging Trainee Teachers to Develop Their Practice.(2012) Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching Clarke, Paul and Howarth, Sue and Whitehouse, Kerry and Wood-Griffiths, Susan (7). pp. 1-6. ISSN 2024-8032 

Crazy Ideas in Secondary Science Teaching That Work (2013) ASE annual conference, University of Reading

Risk-Taking in the Work-Place; How Trainee Teachers are Challenged to Develop their Practice (2012) With P.Clarke, K.Whitehouse and S. Wood-Griffith Conference Proceedings, Learning and Teaching Conference, Christchurch, Canterbury, June 2012

The Most ‘Awesome’ Science Fair in the UK (2012) Co-authored with Linda Scott, School Science Review, 93 (345) p 14-20

Kazakhstan Integrated Programme of Development project: course plans for biology grades 11-12 (UK AS/A2 equivalent); Cambridge International Examinations, April/May 2012; delivery in Astana, Summer 2012

A Collaborative, Inter-disciplinary Study of Risk-taking as a Positive Mechanism for Science and other Student Teachers to Develop their Practice (2012) Conference proceedings /presentation. ATSE/SLCEM/University of Leicester, May. With P.Clarke, K.Whitehouse and S. Wood-Griffith

STEM Clubs and Gardening Creatively (2012) Presentation to teachers at the Malvern Three Counties Show, May

Happy Reading: World Book Day in Worcester, 23 April 2012 University of Worcester News and Views, May,

Creating Effective Science Teachers in the UK (2012) Co-authored with Linda Scott, Conference proceedings, TEAN

Creative Gardening as a STEM Club Activity (2012) Co-authored with Linda Scott, School Science Review, 93 (344) p18-22

Getting Scientific in Liverpool: Notes from the Association for Science Education Annual Conference at the University of Liverpool (2012) University of Worcester News and Views, February, p10.

Improving Retention of Science Student Teachers (2012) Co-authored with Linda Scott and Phil Collins. Conference proceedings, the Association for Science Education annual conference, research seminar series

Looking forward to 2012 with your STEM / Science Club (2011)
Co-authored with Linda Scott, School Science Review 93 (343) p19-24

New academic year, new science/STEM club? (2011)
Co-authored with Linda Scott. School Science Review, 93 (342) p31-36

Inspirational Ideas for STEM Clubs and Projects from The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair (2011) Co- authored with Linda Scott School Science Review 92 (341) p25-35

Student teachers become STEM Ambassadors in a scheme that benefits both the school pupils and the students (2011) Co-authored with Linda Scott School Science Review, 92 (340) p22-24

Conference notes from the largest science education conference in Europe (2011) Other authors: Karen Blackmore and Linda Scott. Published in News and Views, University of Worcester p11

Improving Mentor Attendance at Mentor Meetings in University, (2010) SEDA 3 research project

School Science Review: Guest Editor (2010) with Neil Ingram, University of Bristol, special edition on Biodiversity, celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity 91 (336)

Two Cheers for Biodiversity (2010) School Science Review, (with Neil Ingram, University of Bristol) 91 (336) p23-25

A View of Reviewing (2009) Journal of Biological Education, An introduction to UW Science PGCE and GTP book reviews

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology for Edexcel A2 Biology (2009) (author team) Pearson Education Ltd; UK

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology for Edexcel A2 Biology (2009) Topic 7 on-line worksheets, University of York / Pearson Education Ltd, UK

Sweet Science: School Science Review 89 (328), 2008, also presented at Geosciences Information for Teachers workshop; Vienna, April 2007, (co-authored with Alan Woollhead)

Biology Field Work in School Grounds: A Model of Good Practice in Teaching Science, School Science Review 87 (320), 2006 (co-authored with David Slingsby, British Ecological Society)

Acid Rain and Snail Shells: A Novel KS3/4 Investigation, School Science Review, March 2004

Book reviews (mainly published in The Biologist and other Science journals). Some of these reviews are listed below:

Animal Teeth and Human Tools

Photosafari - Images of Wildlife in Zoos

Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art

Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record

The Mandarin Duck

Wildlife in Kenya

Howarth, Sue (2013) The Mayflies of Europe; Book Review. The Biologist, 60 (1). p. 36

Howarth, Sue (2012) Meat for Mice – A Vet’s Diary of the London Natural History Museum 1962 Expedition to Northern

 Rhodesia- (Review). The Biologist . 

Nobel Prizes and Life Sciences

The Golden Eagle

Spider Silk Evolution

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West


Giant Pandas

Mammals of S. America

Ticks: Biology, Disease and Control

Science Learning, Science Teaching

An Introduction to the Invertebrates


The Complete Human Body: The Definitive Visual Guide

Developing Scientific Literacy Using News Media in the Classroom

Women in Science

Pimp Your Lesson

The Diet Delusion

Drink, Drugs and Your Body

Biozone Ecology

Ready, Set, Science

External Responsibilities

External Responsibilities

Association for Science Education: editorial board for School Science Review (until Sept 2015); Editorial Associate

Association for Science Education: section editor (with Linda Scott) for School Science Review (until June 2014)

Association for Science Education: member of the Publications committee (until Dec 2013)

Association for Science Education: member of West Midlands branch committee until 2011

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour: member of the Education Committee (until Dec 2010)

British Science Association: judge for senior Science/senior Biology at the Big Bang (the UK National Science and Engineering Fair)

British Society for the History of Science: member of the Education and Outreach committee, secondary education representative (until 2009)

Edexcel A level Biology: Reviser for A-level Biology papers (until Sept 2013)

Higher Education Academy: reviewer for bids

Newcastle University , PGCE course: External Examiner (2012- summer 2016)

Ofqual: Subject (Biology) Expert

Science Education Review: member of editorial board for this international journal Science in School (until Sept 2015)

The Royal Society of Biology: member of the Editorial board of The Biologist (until Sept 2015)

The Royal Society of Biology: West Midlands branch committee member

Teachers’ TV : Associate and Focus Group member (until 2010)

TES User Panel: member, including web site development (until 2010)

United Kingdom Biology Competitions: Biology Challenge (national competition for Y9/10) founder member and member of working party

United Kingdom Biology Competitions: British Biology Olympiad, network member; escort to the International Biology Olympiad in Canada