In the science department we want to excite, enthuse and engage our students in the world around them. We want our students to be confident, independent learners who are scientifically literate and able to use their skills in understanding and analysing issues in their lives. We aim to do this by allowing our students to explore questions, carry out experiments and relate the theory they learn to everyday situations. This approach enables them to develop their scientific knowledge as well as key skills such as problem-solving, and creative and critical thinking. It is important to us, that all students are able to access the wonderful world of science and achieve their full potential. We ensure that the resources we use are stimulating and accessible to all.
Science at KS3
At KS3 we follow the Active Teach schemes of work as they provide a thorough preparation for the new GCSE. Students study 12 units each year (4 units of each discipline: Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Active Teach gives students a good broad understanding of scientific theory and knowledge. It also allows students to relate the theory they learn to the world around them. The course emphasises the development of core scientific skills such as explaining and justifying theories as well as thinking and problem solving.
Throughout KS3 we place a great emphasis on carrying out practicals. They provide an exciting way for students to learn about science and see it in action. Practicals also enable students to develop a range of skills that are necessary for science but also useful in other subjects. Students learn how to plan investigations, carry out experiments in a safe, accurate and precise way and then how to analyse and evaluate the information they have collected. Students often work together in Science lessons, developing important team work skills e.g. listening to others and resolving problems together.
Students will be assessed throughout KS3 on their scientific skills and knowledge.
Science at KS4
Science is a core subject so all students have to take Science at GCSE. Students can choose whether they take Combined Science, leading to two Science GCSEs, or the three separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), leading to three GCSEs.
If a student wishes to pursue Science at A level, we would encourage them to take the three separate sciences, as it is a much better preparation for the demands of a Science A level. For the separate sciences, students will need to have achieved a high grading at the end of Key Stage 3, as this indicates that they will be able to achieve a minimum of a Grade B in all their Science GCSEs (the minimum entry requirement for a Science A level).
Combined Science: Synergy (AQA exam board)
We believe that this course is particularly suitable for our students who are not taking science at KS5. It covers the same content as other courses but is designed to be taught in shorter topics, as at KS3. This keeps the learning varied meaning that students remain engaged and stimulated by the different topics. The course also makes clear links between the three sciences so students can fully appreciate the connections between topics and in real life situations. We will often use theory from one science to help us understand another concept e.g. the chemical reactions that take place in living organisms.
The course is designed to encourage scientific literacy and to develop a range of skills that will enable students to understand and evaluate scientific concepts encountered in everyday life and other contexts.
Practicals remain at the heart of our science teaching and form an important part of the course. Apart from the usual experiments in lessons, students will complete 16 compulsory practicals and investigations over the two years. These practicals will then be assessed during the final external exams.
Students are externally assessed at the end of Year 11. They sit 4 papers, each worth 25% of the overall grade in either the Foundation or Higher tier. Each test is a 1 hour 45 minute written paper and is made up of multiple choice, structured, closed, short answer and open response questions.
Separate Sciences: Biology, Chemistry and Physics (AQA exam board)
This leads to three GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and is particularly suitable for those who wish to study Science post-16 as this path covers the breadth and depth necessary for further study.
In the Biology GCSE, students gain a good understanding of human biology, organisms, evolution and the environment. The Chemistry GCSE gives the students an opportunity to develop a good understanding of the nature of substances and how they react together, how chemistry is used in business and industry and how our use of fuels affect the local and global environment. The Physics GCSE covers the use and transfer of energy, as well as an insight into the nature of waves, radiation and space, and how physics is applied in the real world we live in.
Students are externally assessed at the end of Year 11. They sit 2 papers, each worth 50% of the overall grade in either the Foundation or Higher tier for each of the sciences i.e. six in total. Each test is a 1 hour 45 minute written paper and is made up of multiple choice, structured, closed, short answer and open response questions. Students will also complete 24 compulsory practicals during lesson time over the two year course. Questions on these practicals will be appear in the exam papers.