I was born and bred in East Harling, Norfolk, a small rural village in the Brecklands. My family lived in two pubs in the village, the White Hart and the Royal Oak. Harold and Enid Lock, my parents, worked in a fish and chip shop.

My interest in biology stemmed from living in a rural area. I collected and pressed wild flowers while in primary school and through working on various local farms in school holidays, built up a collection of birds' eggs - not something I am proud of now.

I graduated with a first class honours degree in Botany from the University of Aberdeen in the late 1960s. After a spell in industry, I returned to Aberdeen where I trained as a teacher. The three schools I taught in were in Kilmarnock, Birmingham and Leamington Spa, where I was as a senior teacher and head of science at Trinity School. From the late 1970s to September 2011 I have worked in teacher education at the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and Birmingham, although I had a spell on the dole in the early 1980s. My PhD is on assesment of science practical skills, awarded by the University of Leeds in 1986. From October 2011 I have worked as a consultant on science education projects

A lifelong supporter of the Canaries, Norwich City FC, I also have interests in prehistory, folk art, folk dancing and music from skiffle to "dad rock"!