SAPS Plant Science Summer School

For post-16 Biology Teachers – 26th – 29th June 2022, York 


This course initially developed with the National STEM Learning Centre gives a select group of post-16 biology teachers the opportunity to join a plant science summer school hosted by some of the leading lights in plant science.

The programme aligns with the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School for biology undergraduates also giving the participants an opportunity to engage with 1st year undergraduate bioscience students, along with tutors and researchers from various UK universities. Taking part in inspiring practical workshops, contemporary plant science research updates and discussions on the importance and relevance of plant science will help further participants’ subject knowledge and provide inspiration for the development of their resource.

Inspired by the sessions, we will support you, both during the summer school and afterwards, to produce a new teaching and learning resource relevant to post-16 biology specifications. In time, these resources will be disseminated via the SAPS website and the ASE Annual Conference to engage teachers and students and inspire and motivate future plant scientists. The resource is to be drafted by November 2022.


Course outcomes

You will be able to:

  • demonstrate new knowledge and understanding of plant science topics
  • discuss scientific issues and controversies related to contemporary plant sciences
  • identify stimulating contemporary plant science ideas, practical activities and resources and use these to develop inspiring teaching approaches
  • support, advise and encourage post-16 biology students about plant sciences at university


Bursaries are available for non-fee paying (state) schools. To register your interest or to find out more, please email us at

Summer School practical sessions for 2022

Plant Pathology – Track pathogen infections with FERA scientists using PCR and identify common plant pathogens.

Cell Biology – Use confocal microscopes to experience real-time cell processes visualised with fluorescent proteins.

Plant Development – Unravel the secrets behind the spiral and body form patterns, programme your own flower plan and re-create plant forms in-silico.

Plant ID – Experience a foolproof way to identify and plant to family level and practice your field ID skills.


Summer School lectures for 2022

‘Thinking like a vegetable’

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI (UK Research & Innovation)


‘Breaking the Silence: How to make small plant mouths that support our sustenance’

Professor Keiko Torii, University of Texas


‘Ecological monitoring with citizen science’

Dr Chantal Helm, Cambridge University Botanic Garden


‘How and why do plants tell the time?’

Professor Antony Dodd, John Innes Centre


‘Domestication: why do we eat what we eat?’

Dr Mark Chapman, University of Southampton


You can read more about the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School for undergraduates here:  (Please note that the end date for undergraduates differs from the course end date for teachers.)

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