“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
The aims of the Science Department
- To stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment of Science
- To develop a sense of wonder about our World and the Universe
- To enable students to take an informed position in matters of scientific interest
- To recognise the usefulness and limitations of scientific method and appreciate its applications in other disciplines as well as everyday life
- To develop abilities and skills that are relevant to the study and practice of Science and are useful in everyday life, including numeracy, communication and ICT skills
- To help students to recognise that concepts in Science are of a developing and sometime transient nature
- To stimulate and encourage students so that they are prepared to embark on the next stage of scientific study
Why study Science?
To understand the world around you and your place in it you need Science – Science is a compulsory subject but we believe in delivering science with reference to the world around us and with as much hands on practical experience as we can. We hope you will start to look for the underlying science in everyday things be it using Chemistry to explain the reactions that happen when you mix ingredients together to make a cake, Physics to explain how the cooker generates the heat to cook it and what the particles are doing inside it as a result and Biology to explain what happens when you eat it.
Students are taught in their tutor groups during year 7. They will spend the first half term developing their practical and investigative skills, including getting their Bunsen Burner licence when they are safe and competent enough to use one in the lab. They will then rotate through 7 modules of study taken from the 3 areas of science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The modules studied are Cells, Tissue & Organisms, Keeping Healthy, Acids & Alkalis, Particles, Reactions and Separating mixtures, Force & Speed, Energy & Electricity and Magnetism & Space. Students are assessed at the end of each topic and set appropriate targets to improve as a result. At the end of the year students sit an exam covering all of the work done and this information is used to help us group pupils as they enter into Year 8.
During Year 8 students will build on the skills and knowledge gained previously and begin to make clear links between different aspects of science. Within their practical work they will continue to develop their ability to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate their experiments. The modules studied in Year 8 are Studying Disease, Classification & Food Webs, Life & Death, Atoms, Elements & Compounds, Sound, Light, Electricity, Energy, Forces & Space. Students are assessed at the end of each topic and set appropriate targets to improve as a result. At the end of the year students will sit an exam covering all of the KS3 content to generate their KS3 Level of attainment. Skills and knowledge learnt in Year 7 and 8 is focussed on preparing them for GCSE Science.
KS4 – Edexcel GCSE Combined Science & Separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics
Students begin to follow the GCSE course from the start of Year 9, allowing plenty of time for the development of their practical skills and greater consolidation of knowledge. Each class is taught by 3 subject specialists and the student’s timetables are marked as Biology, Chemistry and Physics lessons rather than Science.
During Year 9 students in all sets follow the full curriculum including the content required to gain a qualification in the Separate Sciences. We will identify students who appear to be good candidates for this by the end of Year 9, they will then go on to gain separate GCSE’s in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All 6 papers are 1 hour 45 minutes long and students will gain 3 GCSEs (one in each subject).These students will gain 3 GCSEs (one in each subject).
All other students will follow Combined Science/. This is a double award course – meaning that students will gain 2 GCSE grades at the end of Year 11. The exam is assessed at the end of Year 11 through 6 x 1 hour 10 minute papers (2 for each subject area). A high grade in Combined Science is no barrier to A-level Sciences.
There is no coursework element within both these courses; instead students will be expected to have carried out a number of specific experiments over the duration of the course which they will be asked about within the written exam papers.
The current Year 11 Combined Science students are studying OCR gateway specification but this is being phased out and all other students are studying the Edexcel specification to Year 11.
KS5 – A-level Biology (Edexcel)
The Biology course is designed to give a broad and balanced understanding of both Plant and Animal Biology and the skills and techniques needed to study living organisms. The curriculum is structured to include those areas of Biology that are at the forefront of modern scientific research, including Gene Technology, Transmission and Prevention of Disease, Conservation, and Global Climate Change. Students’ are required to carry out a number of core practical’s across the 2 years of the course and these will build on the skills they developed at GCSE leading to them being able to devise, structure and carry out their own individual investigation during Year 13 which is assessed by the exam board.
KS5 – A-level Chemistry (Edexcel)
Chemistry is the science of materials. Advanced chemistry students learn about atomic and electronic structure and use these ideas to explain the chemistry of particular elements in the Periodic Table. The chemistry of carbon (organic chemistry) is studied specifically and the factors that control chemical change form the basis for a study of physical chemistry. In A2, quantitative chemistry is developed and students study organic synthesis and analysis methods in further studies of organic chemistry. Chemistry is a laboratory based subject and throughout the course practical activities are linked to the theory studied and a variety of experimental techniques are learnt.
KS5 – A-level Physics (Edexcel)
You will learn about how objects move, how mechanical systems operate, how light, waves and sub-atomic particles behave, how electric and gravitational fields affect the world around us and how Physics applications shape the world of the future. You will be expected to solve numerical problems and to describe and discuss your understanding of physical concepts. You will have the opportunity to develop your practical skills and will perform experiments that illustrate scientific theory.
Students who have studied Science are in high demand and an A-level in any of the Science subjects will demonstrate to employers and universities that you have developed the skills and knowledge demanded by what are regarded as some of the most academically rigorous A-levels on offer. Our past pupils have gone on to work as Doctors, nurses, engineers, computer programmers, physiotherapists, midwives, analytical chemists as well as within wider unrelated fields of law, accountancy, and managerial positions in all industries.