Science

The science team encourage a curious, creative and inquisitive nature in our students. In science lessons students get the opportunity to problem solve, develop experimental skills, understand and explain scientific concepts, build arguments and evaluate their own understanding. The learning the students experience leads to a greater appreciation of science and its impact both on the individual and society.

Key stage 3 (years 7, 8 & 9)

The KS3 curriculum is designed to encourage students to apply and extend the new knowledge that they learn so that they are able to apply this knowledge effectively to contextualised situations.  Development of key scientific vocabulary, mathematical skills and practical skills take place, which supports the students across the whole school curriculum. 

In Year 7, pupils are taught in their mixed-ability form groups. In Year 8 pupils are placed in broad bands each with at high, intermediate and lower levels. This grouping is determined by their performance in Year 7 end of topic tests as well as their end of year exam. In Year 9 pupils are re-set in a similar way at the start of the year and stay with their group for all three sciences.  

Continuous assessment of practical and associated skills is an important feature of our course, in which pupils are given advance warning of the criteria they must satisfy to reach various levels. Continuous assessment and feedback for  improvement ensures we are able to determine accurately the tier of exams for which they are entered for GCSE.

Students are formally assessed summatively and formatively during and after every topic providing a detailed understanding of an individual’s and cohort’s strengths and areas for improvement and of course progress. At the ends of Years 7, 8, pupils sit an exam which mirrors the style of the Key Stage 3 tests and in year 9 an exam which is representative of GCSE style questions. 

Prep is typically set once a week and is designed to consolidate learning that has taken place in the lesson.  Each topic taught contains an assessed homework which provides the children with feedback on what they did well and how to progress to the next level.

Curriculum Maps

Key stage 4 (years 10 & 11)

At KS4 level, most pupils follow the AQA Trilogy syllabus.  Our KS4 scheme of learning commences in Year 9.

The GCSE  is taught in units, each of which is 'under the umbrella' of one of the three sciences. Each unit is self-contained, but clear links are drawn between the units within and between subject areas. The units are taught by subject specialists for 4½ hours per week. The Science Department provides opportunities for students to develop their ICT skills. Some students will opt for Separate Science GCSE award.  These students will follow the same curriculum as the trilogy pupils but have an extra set of modules to complete. These units are taught in an additional 2½ hours in total per week in years 10 and 11.

Students are assessed summatively and formatively during and after every topic providing a detailed understanding of an individual's strength and areas for improvement. At the end of Years 9 and 10 pupils sit an exam and in year 11 will sit their science grade indicator exams in December of year 11.  These exams consist of one paper for each of the three sciences.

Key stage 5 (years 12 & 13)

A level science is staffed by experienced passionate teachers who are keen to share their love of their subject with their students. In addition the Science department is well resourced and supported by a highly qualified team of technicians. 

Studying the A level sciences gives a well-rounded view of the way science affects society and the individual. The A level sciences are particularly useful if a student wishes to progress further in medical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical industry, genetic research, biotechnology, the food industry, nursing, teaching, Aeronautics, Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Forensic Science and many others.

In addition to the three sciences biology, chemistry and physics, psychology under the umbrella of science is an A level option. All four A-Level Sciences follow the AQA specifications which build on the content of the AQA GCSE courses. Students have 4 one hour lessons per week and are taught by two teachers. 

Students are assessed summatively and formatively during and after every topic providing a detailed understanding of an individual's strength and areas for improvement. For each of biology, chemistry and physics pupils will complete 12 required practicals. For each required practical they will be assessed and receive feedback designed to ensure they reach the required criteria to pass the practical skill endorsement.

Additional Opportunities

  • Whipsnade zoo trip in year 7
  • Postcard competition in year 7 on adaptations
  • STEM club for KS3
  • GCSE drop in sessions one lunch time per week
  • Olympiads for A level biology, chemistry and physics
  • DNA analysis using equipment loaned from Amgen multinational biopharmaceutical company.   Years 11 to 13.

Key teaching websites used:

  • https://www.kerboodle.com/
  • https://www.educake.co.uk/
  • https://www.my-gcsescience.com/