The Science curriculum is made up of topics in physics, chemistry and biology. It builds on students’ experience of Science at primary school and provides an excellent preparation for further study at GCSE.
Students learn through lively and interesting experiments and they begin to develop a more detailed understanding of scientific theories and discoveries.
Their practical expertise develops throughout the three years and they become more skilled at problem solving by applying scientific knowledge. Students become adept at working co-operatively with others, sharing ideas and learning from each other. They are encouraged to wonder at the incredible nature of science and the patterns that unfold.
Students have access to information and communication technology in many lessons. They use data spreadsheets, databases and data logging equipment. The use of ICT at home is encouraged if the technology is available.
Students are currently taught in mixed ability tutor groups at the start of year 7 moving into groups based on ability after the first term. Years 8 and 9 are placed into groups based on ability throughout. Students who prove able are given the opportunity to move groups during the year.
Homework is set regularly and is an important part of the subject. It is made accessible to all students whilst still providing challenge for particularly able students. Students are expected to be committed to producing their best work and will be directed towards completing tasks that are suitable for their ability.
Science is taught to all of our students for four 50 minute lessons per week. We have 5 purpose-built laboratories so we are able to offer a modern, pleasant learning environment. Our rooms are equipped with further ICT devices so that students are able to carry out complex research tasks or to access the variety of resources that we are able to offer and we have access to trolleys of ipads. All of the laboratories have data projectors and interactive white boards or ‘Smart’ tablets for the teachers to write on.
All students receive four lessons per week. In year 7 and 8, as far as possible, the classes are taught by one teacher for all of the lessons so that we can build good relationships and get to know how well the students perform. Year 7 and 8 groups are taught all of the science topics mixed together. During years 9, the students are taught by 2 teachers in ability groups and we aim to make the best use of our subject specialists so that the students can gain the best experience possible.
In years 7&8 we follow a course called Activate Science that allows us to prepare students for the demands of the new tougher GCSE’s. The work is differentiated and personalised by the teacher to suit the needs of the students so that we are able to build upon the student’s prior knowledge. The key stage 3 curriculum is covered over a two year period. During year 9 we begin by covering the maths and practical skills needed for the GCSE course. Once these skills have been taught we start to deliver the AQA GCSE science course to all students with options whether to take separate or combined science taking place at the end of year 9. All course materials are available on-line with all students being given access to these via the Kerboodle website. This will allow students who are absent from school to access the work from home and so limit any possible disruption to their education.
Homework is set every two weeks by one of the students’ science teachers. The homework will take a variety of formats ranging from preparation for assessments to completing work sheets, carrying out research or completing an internet based activity. We actively discourage copying from the Internet and we will ask for work to be repeated should this happen. The work is usually submitted to us on a piece of paper but we are encouraging the movement towards a totally electronic environment. All work can be printed off at school and completed at school if necessary so that we do not penalise students who are unable to access computers.
At the start of year 7 all students complete two baseline tests. The first test is to identify areas of the key stage 2 curriculum that students may have gaps in. The second test helps us identify areas of the practical based Enquiry Processes students have yet to grasp from primary school. Individual help is then given to any students showing gaps in this knowledge. For the reminder of year 7 and all of year 8 students are taught 10 topics based on the tem big ideas in science. Each topic is split into two modules, with module one being taught in year 7 and module 8 being taught in year 8. Low stakes testing takes place at the end of each module with feedback provided in line with school policy.
In year 9 students begin the year with three individual tests on biology, chemistry and physics content from years 7&8. This allows students and their teachers to highlight areas they need to work on in order to make a successful jump up to GCSE level. Once year 9’s start studying the GCSE curriculum they are assessed using exam-style questions that are in line with style and challenge of actual GCSE exams at the end of every topic.
The department offers opportunities for students to enrich their experience throughout the year and we are constantly looking to offer more. For example, students last year were involved in a lunchtime science club, activities week STEM experience. In addition we also offer students access to teachers at lunchtime and after school so that students are able to improve or develop their work.
More able students are given tasks that encourage them to enrich and enhance the knowledge that they have gained. Homework tends to be more open in nature and students are encouraged to participate in the activities that we are able to offer. Students will have their progress closely monitored to ensure that they exceed their targets and that their work genuinely demonstrates that they are starting to deal with science in the world away from school.
Support is available to targeted students within the class room and work is differentiated so that all students are able to gain access to the tasks. Science staff regularly attend the Homework Club and offer support and catch-up sessions at lunch time and after school. Our emails addresses are made available to the students and they are able to contact us when issues arise.
Students are encouraged to develop their leadership skills through having to work in teams and being given responsibilities within the class room. All students will, at some time, be asked to deliver presentations to the rest of the group or to develop work that is suitable for others. We are looking for students to become more responsible for the development of their knowledge and we ask that they become increasingly independent looking for ways to resolve problems before they seek help.