Dr Richard Spencer

Head of Science

Middlesbrough College

Dr Richard Spencer is Head of Science at Middlesbrough College, UK. He has won many awards for science teaching, reflecting his passion for effective & engaging teaching. Richard won a national Beacon Award (2002) for Excellence in Teaching and Student Achievement in Biology (2002). He was honoured with an MBE for services to science communication by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2004) and has won two national STAR awards: Further Education Teacher of The Year (2004) and Outstanding Subject Learning Coach (2006). Richard was listed as one of the UK's Top 100 scientists by the Science Council (2014). He was celebrated as one of the world’s Top Ten Teachers in the inaugural Global Teacher Prize (2015) and was a member of an international team of teachers who won the OECD’s pisa4u school improvement competition (2017). He was awarded an Honorary Master’s Degree by the Open University for his contribution to education (2017). Named as a National STEM Expert by STEM Learning UK (2018), he won the National STEM Enthuse Award for excellence in Further Education and was named Secondary School Biology Teacher of The Year UK by the Royal Society of Biology (2018). Richard is a chartered science teacher (CSciTeach), a chartered biologist (CBiol), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and a SAPS (Science and Plants for School) Award Holder. He is a Varkey Teacher Ambassador, a Qudwa Fellow and member of the UK national steering committee for Science on Stage Europe.


Education in action

25 February 2020 | 10:30 - 11:00 | Variety is the Spice of Life Science: Integrating Song, Dance, Poetry and Design Into Science Teaching

This is an interactive presentation during which I will give examples of the ways I have used song, dance, poetry and design to enhance learning in science - putting the A in STEAM. Delegates will learn about how poetry can be used to help students remember factual content. They will participate in songs that help students to learn technical vocabulary and a dance that brings alive the structure of DNA, as well as other examples of the use of song and dance. Delegates will be given an overview of DesignSTEM, an open-source Erasmus Plus project (completed 2016-2019), which successfully integrated design and STEM subjects. Finally, they will earn about how student participation in an award-winning drama about DNA paternity led to greater student engagement