Aims and objectives
The aims of the Science department are to teach students how to become scientists by fostering interest and curiosity for the increasingly technological world around them. All students are naturally inquisitive about the biological, material and physical world. It is our aim to harness that enthusiasm through investigation, experimentation, and debate.
Teaching takes place in a suite of eight laboratories, which are well resourced with data projectors and interactive whiteboards. We have many items of specialist equipment to enhance the teaching of science at all levels and an ICT suite is available within the area, as well as an extra computer suite in one of the labs.
Students follow the key stage 3 and 4 Programmes of Study and are taught and encouraged to communicate effectively in a variety of ways. Science teaching involves a wide range of styles and is heavily based on practical work, but also involves discussion, group work and investigations.
Science is one of the core subjects taught to all students at key stage 3 and 4.
Years 7 & 8 In year seven and eight, the programme consists of topics from Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as investigative work. We have a strong tradition of teaching the individual sciences through subject specialists and we do this wherever possible.
Students are assessed in several ways, including traditional testing as well as through investigative work.
Years 9-11 The Science Department currently offers two different choices of Science courses at Key Stage 4.
The OCR Gateway Science GCSE was new in September 2011 and is exam-based. Students achieve 2 GCSEs at the end of year eleven, having studied Science and Additional Science subjects throughout Key Stage 4
Those students who achieve a level 6 at Key Stage three have the option to take Triple Science. This is the same format as above, but students take a six Science lessons per week and complete additional units. This results in three grades at the end of year eleven, one for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This is particularly suitable for those who wish to continue with Science at key stage five and beyond.
Sixth form: Years 12 & 13 In the sixth form, the department is pleased to be able to offer Biology, Chemistry and Physics A-Levels, as well as BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Awards in Applied Science.
The external assessment of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics A-Levels are very similar, as they are all linear courses, with papers examined in June of year 13.
The BTEC offered is Applied Science, which is equivalent to an A-Level but are 100% coursework based and suit those students who prefer this style of learning.
Homework is set on a regular basis in line with the school Homework Policy. This may involve written work, reading or research.
Assessment for Learning
The Science Area is committed to incorporating the principle of ‘Assessment for Learning’ into its assessment of work, as well as acknowledging the need for assessment of learning for the purposes of grading and reporting. Regular assessment enables us to
- identify students’ strengths and weaknesses
- plan subsequent lessons accordingly
- inform the process of grouping students
- inform students and parents regarding the progress students are making
Students’ involvement in the assessment process is vital. We encourage students to discuss and demonstrate their ideas, promoting correct and precise vocabulary to be used at all times, both spoken and written, rarely requiring just an answer.
At all key stages, students are kept informed of their progress through discussion with teachers as well as updated spreadsheets of information, allowing them to improve upon their current progress throughout the academic year.
ICT is an integral part of the Science curriculum and is used on a regular basis by students in the Science area. Students are expected to be able to research independently and present work in a variety of formats.
There are many Science websites which would be of use to students, the most appropriate being:
In Year 7 & 8 Students are identified on entry to the college. They are automatically put into appropriate sets and set tasks accordingly.
In Years 9, 10 and 11: Students will be streamed and entered for the Higher tier. They will follow the Science GCSE in year 9 and 10 and will then go onto Additional Science in year 11. Both GCSEs are examined at the end of year 11. If Triple Science has been offered, all 3 GCSEs are examined at the end of Year 11. Pupils are offered the opportunity to take an extra GCSE in Astronomy
With the abolition of the SATs at Key Stage 3, we are able to assess pupil progress in a number of ways now, including formal examinations and investigative work, to allow a more holistic level to be assessed at the end of the year.
Those students following the OCR Double Award and Triple Science will have written examinations as well as internally assessed assignments in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Career Opportunities supported in this subject:
Those who follow the BTEC route are still able to achieve A-Level equivalents and so too are able to go onto University, although not all courses may be accessible.
Here are just a few of the options available through the BTEC
Anatomical Pathology Technician, Biomedical Scientist, Cardiographer, Children’s Nurse , Dental Hygienist, Dental Nurse, Midwife, Medical Physicist, Nurse, Physiotherapist, Radiographer, Paramedic, Forensic Scientist, SOCO, Police Technical Scientist, Forensic psychologist, Criminology, Pathology assistant, Assistant scientific officer and Lab Technician
If you follow the OCR Twenty First Century route, you can complete traditional A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry or Physics. This will enable you to go onto University to study the ‘traditional’ science degrees. Your options would also include those above as well as:
Mechanical Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Design Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Robotics, Teaching, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Medicine, Zoologist, Marine Biology, Genetics, Veterinary surgeon or nurse, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Dietician, Psychology, Nursing, Environmental health, Science journalism, Clinical scientist, Pharmacy and Neurochemistry.
Books, equipment, materials and resources recommended/needed:
All students are encouraged to buy a calculator and the usual requirements for science or mathematics, such as compass, protractor etc.
All text and exercise books/folders are provided, but students are advised to buy revision guides if sitting examinations.
The Science department has organised trips and enrichment activities such as a Forensics day, a trip to the pathology department and a visit to an Astronomy lecture.