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Dr Sue Tunnicliffe
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
20 Bedford Way
Dr Sue Tunnicliffe profile picture
  • Reader in Science Education
  • IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am a zoology graduate from Westfield College, U of L, (PGCE IOE 1968. secondary biology and general science). I have taught all ages, including preschool and FE. I set up and ran a new advisory team in Primary Science and Design and Technology for a London Borough where I managed the running of a mobile Technology Unit and delivered CPD to teachers. I also inspected schools with the Schools Inspectorate, later becoming an OFSTED inspector. 

I was appointed Head of Education at the Zoological Society of London. Following redundancy, I studied for a PhD from King’s College, London (1995) and lectured at Cambridge and Winchester. At this time I also worked as an Education officer for the BBC and was the science education adviser to the National Maritime Museum. 

I joined the Institute of Education in 2000 as a Research Officer working with the newly appointed Professor of Science Education and Head of Department, Dr Michael Reiss. From 2007 to 2010 I lectured Teaching and Learning of Science for the BAEd degree and gave lectures on informal learning on other undergraduate degrees. Subsequently, I was  a tutor in Maths Education contributing to new curricula for Mexico and Malta.  

I was partner in an EU fp7 project, Primary Science Net, 2012-2014 which was funded by the from 2016 -2017.  On this project I worked with the Marie Curie Scholar from University of Lyon looking at the use of pictorial resources and fiction for developing an understanding of both science and critical thinking/problems solving skills. I am now a Reader in Science Education (part-time) at the UCL Institute of Education and supervise PhD, DEd and Master’s degree students. 

In 2016 I was awarded the NSTA’s Faraday Award for Science Communication (USA) and also the RGSC in Mauritius for services to science education.  The UK ASE has also recognised me (in 2012) for services to national and international science education. 

I am chair of the Commonwealth Association for Science, Technology and Maths Educators and am a Trustee of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth. I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Biology Education. I am a member of an African Universities Research group and promoting early years since( pre formal and formal) for ICASE.  I co-founded and co-edited, from 2012 to 2016, the Journal of Emergent Science hosted by the Association for Science Education.

Research Summary

My research has had made a profound impact  on the understanding of the voice of the child and how they interpret phenomena, beginning with biological specimens, live or preserved or biofacts. Increasingly I have looked at interpretation. and skills development progressively s in  critical first years before in a variety settings and countries. I have strong international links. introducing innovative ‘tools in entering formal school, I was the first. informal field  to listen to children and analyse their responses in zoos and natural history museums, botanical and horticultural gardens as well as in the field,  I am observing free choice play preschool and identifying progression in skills and understanding and interested in early years and parents identity as STEM competent recognising Mothers are the first and most important teacher  their child, hence empowering women, child and encouraged the setting up of Mothers Talking Everyday Science (STEM) groups with the Commonwealth. I introduced the idea of birth education in primary schools and secondary schools and incorporation of basic first aid with the associated science content. Local primary schools ask us to run e science at home workshops for parents which and we notice the STEM identity for this approach as lacking as there is a very narrow view of  what is science. I also look at the science content inherent in Pictorial fiction books and the missed opportunities for dev eloping STEM understanding and problem solving skills. I am presently looking at STME in the  free choice play of  pre school children particularly 9 mths to 4 yrs and working with African colleague looking at such too.

Teaching Summary

Chin, Tang Yin 2011-2013 DEd. 

Maria Christina Kismati M Res  2013

Zabya Ghazali  2013-2016 Ph D, 2nd supervisor

Edward Mifsud  2012  -  2016  PhD 2nd supervisor

Sabuddin Molla 2016  Phd  now Ist supervisor

Denise Balmer  2019 PhD   2nd supervisor

Jane Insley  2019   PhD    2nd  supervisor 

Carol Song 2016-2017 MA Science Education  

Keith Shurlock  2016 -17 MA Science Education  

Gamze Bilen, 2018- 2nd supervisor 

Grokem Altunbas  2019 - 2020  MA Science Education

Havaa Gorkem Altunbas 2021-  2nd Superviso PhD

Academic Background
    Zoology Westfield College University of London
1968   Postgraduate Certificate in Education Institute of Education
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