Taught at Sheen: 1949-1957

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Dennis Chisman’s whole career was devoted to the promotion of science education.  He graduated from King’s College London in 1948 and obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 1949.

He joined the Richmond and EastSheenGrammar School in September 1949 as Head of the Science Department at the very early age of 21.  He taught at our school until 1957, when he left to join the Royal Institute of Chemistry (later to become the Royal Society of Chemistry) as its first Education Officer.  He also became Secretary of the British Committee on Chemical Education.

He joined the British Council in 1966 as a Science Education Officer and later that year was seconded to the Centre for Curriculum Renewal and Educational Development Overseas  as Assistant Director of Science Education.  In 1974 he returned to the Council and became Head of Science and Mathematics Education Unit.  In October 1975 he was appointed Director of Schools and Education Department, and served in that post until 1981 when he took early retirement. After this he became an independent consultant in science education and continued to be involved in science education projects overseas, particularly in developing countries, until his last year.

As well as overseas development work under the auspices of UNESCO, he was a key member of the International Council of Associations of Science Education and also of the Commonwealth Association of Science Technology and Mathematics Education (CASTME).  He served on the Council of the latter for 30 years from 1974, and was its Secretary.

He remained an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry at both national and local levels.  By now living in West Sussex, he served as an active chairman of his local section, which covers much of the southern counties.  This was from 2005 until 2007 when he was approaching 80.  He joked that he was being “recycled”.  At one of the annual dinners, he spoke fondly of his time as a schoolteacher.

Academically gifted, he was also  a very good teacher at all levels  and helped a number of boys to obtain university scholarships  and state scholarships. Looking back it is difficult to believe that he was still barely 30 when he left the school.  Certainly, those he taught at Sheen and who found careers based on Chemistry realise just how lucky they were to have had him even for a short time at the school.