OBE bestowed on former Ballymena Academy pupil

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A Ballymena-born scientist who specialised in the educational field was awarded an OBE in the recent New Years Honours list.

Professor Robin Millar, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Education at the University of York, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to science education over 40 years.

He is a past pupil of Ballymena Academy and his award was welcomed by the school’s Old Pupils Association.

Robin Millar’s most influential work in the area of scientific literacy has its origins in the report he co-authored in 1998 Beyond 2000: Science education for the future.

The report addressed fundamental questions about school science and the nature of the science education needed by young people in the 21st century.

These principles formed the basis of a major GCSE school science course, Twenty-First Century Science, developed under his leadership.

Following a three-year pilot trial, the course was launched in 2006, and is now studied by around one-fifth of students in England.

Beyond 2000 also provided a model for GCSE science courses now studied by all young people.

Robin Millar graduated in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and completed a PhD in Medical Physics at the University of Edinburgh.

He then began training as a science teacher at Moray House College.

He taught physics and general science for eight years in schools in the Edinburgh area before joining the Department of Education at York in 1982 as a Lecturer in Science Education.

He was promoted to Professor in 1996.

He was appointed Salters’ Professor of Science Education in 2006 and led York’s Centre for Innovation and Research in Science Education until his retirement in July 2014.

He has collaborated with numerous prestigious organisations including the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education in Germany, and the US National Academy of Sciences.