The aim of the science department is to enable students to plan, undertake and evaluate science. Our curriculum is firmly based in the development of transferable skills which are delivered on a platform of scientific enquiry. Science is defined and subsequently learned as an activity that we do and not simply as a body of knowledge. Science is definitely not a spectator activity! Through doing science we develop the skills of hypothesising, experimentation, observation and critical analysis, that are fundamental to a fully participating citizen of the dynamic and rapidly changing environment of the 21st century.
Key Stage 3
The science department offers a condensed Key Stage 3 where the students are firstly taught in mixed ability groups for Year 7 and then in sets in Year 8. Skills and content are learnt through themed topics, with an emphasis on developing students with a strong appetite for scientific enquiry. Our assessment is made using a variety of different styles, with the onus on the delivery of presentations, model analysis and practical skills, accompanied by written tests. The emphasis is on skills so that the students enter Key Stage 4 with a good grounding in “How Science Works”.
Key Stage 4
We offer a variety of courses at Key Stage 4, with the intention of allowing all students to be successful in developing a scientific aptitude. The range of courses available from these options may vary as they will reflect the learning needs of each individual cohort. The students can do Triple Science GCSE, which is intended to be a good background for studying science at A Level. We offer Double Science, which involves doing GCSE core science in Year 9 into Year 10 and Additional Science in Year 11. If the students achieve a high grade at Double Science, they will have a good grounding to pursue separate sciences at A Level. We also offer a single GCSE Science for those students who will need the whole of Key Stage 4 to achieve their full potential at Core Science. We offer a BTEC in Applied Science, which is a vocational course that is assessed by continual assessment, and an external examination (the latter accounts for 25% of the BTEC qualification) which provides a sound platform for students who wish to study a Level 3 course as an alternative to A Level. This has proved to be very successful, with 100% of BTEC students achieving a pass or above in 2009/10.
Key Stage 5
A Level Biology has seen a recent surge in popularity, and is currently a highly sought after academic course amongst our students. We offer a varied and exciting approach to the study of Biology, which forms a very strong platform for our students to progress onto study at degree level, or in a wealth of scientific careers.
Throughout the course continuous opportunities are given for students to extend their knowledge of all the biological disciplines, through occasional visits and fieldwork, practical and theory lessons. The course equips students by developing their skills in critical analysis of scientists' work, use of data, reviews of scientific publications, and the ethical and moral implications of science in the world today.
Why study Biology?
Biology is about how cells make sense of their internal and external surroundings and act upon them; how the replication, organisation and function of all cells are governed by a structure called DNA. It is through the understanding of Biology and the application of its key principles that medicines, vaccinations and organ regeneration for example, have been developed.
Become a Biologist and make connections and learn how intricate relationships take place in and between all living organisms. You will be amazed!
Why does lemonade fizz?
How is aspirin made?
These are some of the questions answered in the AQA AS and A2 Chemistry course - this is the best chemistry course around; the chemistry covered is modern, interesting and relevant. Many students who sit this chemistry course enjoy it so much that they choose to take a chemistry related course at university. It is challenging, stimulating and a very rewarding subject, plus you get to wear a white coat and do lots of practical. The content covered includes: the origins of the periodic table, carbon dating of the Turin Shroud, chemical analysis of the stars, why we have photochemical smog, how to detect a forged painting and the carat of a diamond ring.
There are so many exciting career opportunities such as medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, nursing, forensic science, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, material science, teaching and law, but don’t forget Chemistry is a recognised course for entry onto just about anything. Chemistry forms a great combination with Maths, Biology, and Physics, but it can be taken independently with courses such as English and History. The history of chemistry is a history of human development.
Quotes from students
- “I enjoyed all the practical work we completed which helped me to understand what was happening.”
- “The Storylines help you understand why what you are learning is important in the real world.”
- “Chemistry is an essential A2 for many of the subjects I am interested in studying at university.”
The scientific study of matter, energy, space, and time, and of the relations between them is fulfilled by our Physics course at both AS and A2 Level. The AS course has six modules, with the first three modules entitled: Higher Faster Stronger, Good Enough To Eat and Spare Part Surgery, examined in January. The second three modules entitled The Sound Of Music, Technology In Space and Digging Up The Past will be examined in June. The AS modules focus on the equations of motion, the physics of materials, and electricity and waves. The AS course leads naturally on to A2 with a further five modules: Transport On Track, The Medium Is The Message, Probing The Heart Of The Matter, Build Or Bust and Reach For The Stars, again examined in January and June. As well as building on earlier AS modules, the A2 course introduces particle physics and quantum mechanics. In both courses the students' study of scientific thinking and rigor is supported by an extended piece of coursework.
These are exciting and innovative new courses with lots of opportunities for visits to scientific establishments such as planetariums and particle accelerators. There are also many investigative opportunities within the content of the course.
Level 3 BTEC Forensic Science
Do you find yourself shouting out the answers when you watch CSI on the TV? Are you itching to work out who did it? If so then Forensic Science is the subject for you! This Level 3 course will lead to a qualification equivalent to one A Level and is an ideal progression from the Level 2 BTEC in Applied Science, or for students who would like to keep an interest in the exciting world of science. The course is highly practical based and students will learn to become proficient in a range of skills and techniques. Assessment is 100% internal assessment and will be a mixture of laboratory reports, presentations and written work. Students completing the course will be well-prepared for progressing to university or to the world of work, where not only their scientific knowledge and skills will be valued, but also the level of independent learning that the course instils will be sought after.