Retirement remarks
It is almost 19 years since I arrived in Reading to work at the university. My official retirement gives me a chance to reflect on what has happened.

I have had much to celebrate in that time. My teaching was almost entirely focused on initial teacher education, mainly at secondary level. I took a very principled approach, focusing on pedagogical basics rather than scientific subject knowledge, and based this on research evidence and scholarship. I was most fortunate to work with Keith Postlethwiate and learned a great deal from him. Despite the frustrations of many students, and some school mentors, who felt they needed hints and tricks at this point, I persevered and developed critical thinking for many that has stood them in good stead in their teaching career. There were many opportunities for students to pick up hints and tricks elsewhere but I felt that a university course should be at a higher level, at least in some parts. Most of the students I selected through my sharp interview system were successful, and some used the course experience to work out that teaching was not for them. I have been very pleased to help some of them make that hard decision.

I have also had chance to work alongside some very thoughtful and hard-working school mentors, receive inspiration from their commitment to their students in hard circumstances, and hone my ideas in intense discussions.

I have had the opportunity to work closely with university colleagues. Academics are very fortunate to have a lot of freedom in their everyday life but they need a solid community to link with and I have found this most of all in the support staff, technicians and secretaries who are always there, and willing to give help at short notice despite their own work pressures. You can not imagine hoe helpful you have been.

I have very much appreciated the outsiders I have worked with, such as colleagues in the Association for Science Education, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and not least, those stalwarts who have attended the teacher researcher group I convene over the last 13 years. What tenacity, especially when I challenge their thinking so much! I have really enjoyed the international contacts, perhaps exemplified by working with Lai Mei and Unsal this year.

I will finish with some ideas of my un-met ambitions. I have missed the chance to work much at Masters and Doctoral levels, since the generation of new knowledge is what a university is all about. Only recently have I had much chance to work outside the initial teacher education programmes, and I have found these so fulfilling that I wished I could have started earlier.

This end is just a start to a new phase, as many of you will know, so I am not entirely leaving but moving to a new position. I hope I can keep in touch with you all.