In science we have 7 specialist scientist teachers and a dedicated suite of fully equipped laboratories, all featuring interactive whiteboards and practical science benching. 3 of our laboratories are also fitted with a class-suite of computers, allowing pupils to develop important research and ICT skills.
All students are provided with a personal password to access Kerboodle resources, which support both the KS3 and KS4 curriculum. Homework and intervention tasks are set using this resource to allow pupils to consolidate content and practice skills they learn in class. Both KS3 and KS4 pupils receive a revision textbook. This is to enable pupils to revise specific content, and also to prepare them for assessments during the year. Also, pupils are supported by specialist teaching assistants to help with their educational needs.
Key Stage 3
Upon entry, students begin the KS3 National Curriculum programme which we aim to complete by the end of year 8. Topics are learned using a variety of strategies aimed at different learning styles, all with a particular emphasis on 'How science works'. As learning through experiment is a key concept in the new national curriculum, we have designated two of the four science lessons a week as ‘Practical Science’ so students get plenty of opportunity to master this important aspect. The remaining two lesson per week are designated as ‘Theoretical Science’. Students carry out this work in two separate lab books but refer to both throughout lessons so the importance of linking outcomes of experiments to scientific understanding is regularly practiced.
Students' progress is carefully tracked; with personalised, early intervention and support for those who require additional help in reaching their challenging targets. KS3 home learning is completed each week. The details of these activities are handed to students and if applicable, available on the VLE.
Key Stage 4
Students begin studying for their GCSEs in year 9, which prepares them well for the final examination in year 11. This means scientific content is regularly interleaved, developing recall skill and productive revision techniques. Interleaving is the practice of revisiting content frequently throughout the year, ensuring its understanding is consolidated and put in perspective with other learning.
Our current Y10 and Y11 are following the OCR Core and Additional Science course which provides pupils with GCSEs in two sciences by the end of Y11. The students also have the opportunity to opt for a Triple Award science course which they begin at the start of year 10. Pupils in Year 7,8 and 9 will be sitting the new GCSE 9-1. Specifications for these qualifications have not yet been released by the exam board for review. When they become available we will review them and select the most appropriate course to follow for our pupils. All pupils will be following the new Combined Science GCSE 9-1 or the three separate sciences of GCSE Biology 9-1, Chemistry 9-1 and Physics 9-1.
Students have a wealth of support available when preparing for assessments at KS4 including revision guides, information packs comprising of lesson slides, flash cards and past papers on the VLE. The department also run regular revision sessions although we actively encourage students to make use of a variety of resources independently when they are preparing for their assessments.
The department encourages pupils to get involved in the educational trips offered. The most recent experience was led by a scientist involved in Channel 4’s successful programme ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’. It gave students the opportunity to see the anatomy of a wide range of animals, and ask questions to someone who is extremely successful in their field. This allowed pupils to not just see science as a school subject, but as a career choice with many exciting possibilities.
Science teachers offer intervention days to all Year 10 and 11 students as part of their exam preparation. Department members will plan personalised revision sessions during Easter / half term which students can attend to support their revision process. Each member of the department will also offer weekly lunch time and after school revision sessions throughout the school year, maximising the support provided to all students.
During summer term, the department plans a fun filled science day for students, where they take part in a variety of scientific tasks and investigations based around a theme. Last year a zombie apocalypse took over the school and only the most logical, quick-thinking scientists survived! Next year should be even better…