Partner 10      University of Reading (UOR)



The University of Reading is ranked as one of the UK's 10 most research-intensive universities and as one of the top 200 universities in the world. It is home to several centres of excellence and conduct world-class research across a broad range of disciplines. The university is involved with four national Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and pursues an ambitious and innovative enterprise agenda.


The Institute of Education is a major provider of teachers nationally and regionally, with Secondary, Primary, and Graduate Teacher Programmes. There is a strong Continuing Professional Development Programme, innovative programmes at undergraduate level and a large cohort of PhD students. Areas of research strength include among others school improvement and historical and comparative aspects of education and science education.


Dr John Oversby is a lecturer in science education at the University of Reading in the UK. A major area of his work has been in the field of chemical modelling in secondary schools. His background includes extensive work as a teacher in schools. In 2005, he was elected Chair of the ASE Research Group, charged with promoting science education research among the membership and in supporting teachers in engaging with research. He is involved in the history and philosophy of chemistry (chemical word equations, ideas about acidity, links between models, theory, data and phenomena). More recently, he has been convenor of the PALAVA teacher-researcher group of teachers and education tutors at the University of Reading. The aim of the voluntary group is to engage teachers with research and practice in chemical modelling. The PALAVA group has engaged in action research across science, with some evidence of the influence in secondary school classrooms. 24 Best Practice Research Scholarships from the UK Department of Education were received by teacher members, under his mentorship. The topics included chemical equations, models of sound and ecology, the place of exercise books in recording learning, and models of biological cells. Apart from the reports on the government web site, the teachers presented their research work at an annual PALAVA conference, and at ASE and other conferences. In their presentations, they included the effect on their teaching, using materials from their research projects on which they worked with their mentor. John Oversby has made arrangements yet to work with The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading as a context to train science teachers about working in museums. This will start next year.