The word Science comes from the Latin “scientia,” meaning knowledge.
Science is “knowledge attained through study or practice,” it extends and enriches our lives, expands our imagination and liberates us from the bonds of ignorance and superstition. Science is you. It’s how you grow and what makes you tick. It has developed the food that you had today, the clothes that you wear and the way that you travel.
The science department comprises seven teaching staff and three technicians. With many years of experience both in teaching and industrial applications of science, they are superbly equipped to help students reach their potential and understand the world around them. There are also five specialist laboratories equipped with DVD players, data projectors and wireless internet connections.
There is naturally an emphasis on practical work and we take time to develop the relevant skills that pupils will require later in life:
- problem solving
- team working
- time management
- data analysis
Key Stage 3
Combined Science is taught in six periods per fortnight during Years 7 & 8 and seven periods per fortnight in Year 9.
Students are taught in ability sets for the three years based on their results in the Science and Maths tests that they take. The sets are reviewed at the end of Years 7 and 8 in conjunction with the Head of Maths.
In Year 7 students take a diagnostic test within the first couple of weeks in September, to assign a benchmark level. This test level, along with CATS results help to set target grades for the year. The students then follow a program of study based on the AQA activate scheme and using the Kerboodle software, but adapted to the school.
Students will follow topics that will give them a grounding in the three scientific disciplines:
- Cells & Reproduction
- Muscles & Bones
- Particle Theory
- Atoms, Elements & Compounds
- Forces & Energy
During the year there are various assessment tests to enable the students and teachers to monitor progress and an end of year test during the second half of the summer term.
Students continue the scheme of work, sitting more assessment tests and an end of year test for the purpose of monitoring progression. The topics covered include:
- Food & Digestion
- Breathing & Respiration
- Plants & Photosynthesis
- Metals and periodic table
- Earth & Space
The scheme of work continues with:
- Genetics & Evolution
- Forces & Motion
This course is designed to give the students a firm grounding the scientific concepts that they will expand on during the new GCSE courses.
After sitting their end of Key Stage assessment test, at the end of the spring term, the students will start the first modules of the GCSE science course.
Key Stage 4
Science is a core National Curriculum subject, so all students must study elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics through to the end of Year 11.
On 20th January 2011, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced a review of the national curriculum in England. It was hoped that by making GCSEs and A levels more rigorous they will prepare students properly for life after school. It would also ensure that all pupils acquire a core of essential knowledge in English, Mathematics and Science. From September 2016 all state secondary schools in England started the new GCSE courses in Science.
The main changes in the new GCSEs are:
- No controlled assessment (ISAs).
- No assessment of quality of written communication.
- The minimum exam time for each GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics is 3 hours 30 minutes.
- The minimum exam time for Combined Science is 7 hours.
- 15% of GCSE marks are for practical skills
- The A* to G grades have been replaced by 9 to 1 for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
- Combined Science has a 17 point grading scale, from 9–9, 9–8 through to 2–1, 1–1.
Students conduct eight practicals for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and 16 for Combined Science. Students are assessed on their practical skills in their exams with at least 15% of the marks coming from questions relating to practicals.
All examinations for Science are now taken at the end of the Year 11.
The topics covered include:
• Cell biology • Organisation • Infection and response • Bioenergetics • Homeostasis and response • Inheritance, variation and evolution • Ecology
• Atomic structure and the periodic table • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter • Quantitative chemistry • Chemical changes • Energy changes • The rate and extent of chemical change • Organic chemistry • Chemical analysis • Chemistry of the atmosphere • Using resources
• Forces • Energy • Waves • Electricity • Magnetism and electromagnetism • Particle model of matter • Atomic structure
Some students may be interested in following a course which will enable them to obtain separate GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. One group will be working towards this during Years 10 and 11. These students would be expected to be able to achieve a good level 6 or above in the end of Key Stage assessment which will take place in Year 9. This will show us that the student has an aptitude, interest and enthusiasm for Science. We would normally expect students in the top Year 9 set and some from the middle set to be able to follow this option.
The topics covered will be similar to combined science but they will be explored in more depth. As with the combined science there will be two exams for each subject and students would gain their three separate GCSEs at the end of Year 11.
Updated May 2017