“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
– Marie Curie
Our aim for our students is to develop inquiring minds and curiosity about science and the natural world. To acquire knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills to solve problems which will enable them to make informed decisions in scientific and other contexts.
The science department consists of four full time and two reduced timetable members of staff (AHT, SENCO) who are all subject specialists’ teachers with no non-specialists staff teaching within science.
The school runs a 2-week timetable and the hours are allocated as shown:
- Year 7 and 8 – 6 hours
- Year 9* – 8 hours
- Year 10* – 9 hours
- Year 11* – 8 hours
*Students who have opted to study separate science receive an additional 5 hours of science lessons in addition to the standard quota of lessons.
Students studying science are taught in sets based on their ability across both key stage 3 and key stage 4. Students in year 7 will be set as of autumn half-term once sufficient content has been completed to make a judgement on their ability. This judgement will be decided based off both quantitative data (ie: their end of unit assessment, key stage 2 SATS and CAT testing) and qualitative data from teacher feedback and assessment for learning carried out within lessons.
At year 7 students will following the Activate 1 Scheme of Work supplied by Oxford University Press. This meets the demands of the National Curriculum and covers a variety of topics from Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This scheme will strive to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of key scientific theories that will allow them to become inquisitive, independent learners. Additionally, the scheme has a heavy weighting towards the practical skills required to progress further at Key Stage 4.
In year 8, students are currently studying the Activate 2 Scheme of Work. Activate 2 is a continuation from Activate 1 and follows a very similar approach towards developing students’ knowledge and understanding of key scientific theories. This means that all students at Key Stage 3 have enough time available to access and explore the curriculum meaning they are fully prepared for Key Stage 4.
The scheme of work followed is a 5-year plan. This means that key stage 3 into key stage 4 is a seamless transition with students in years 7 and 8 learning and practicing the skills that will be built on in key stage 4.
At key stage 4 we follow the AQA Trilogy specification as well as offering the single sciences in AQA biology, AQA chemistry & AQA physics. AQA was chosen based on the structure and resources available, which best suit the cohort of students that we teach at Stanley High School.
The curriculum is planned based on the Oxford University Press AQA ordering of lessons. From experience, this has enabled coverage of the course in an appropriate and effective manner. It has enabled pupils to build subject knowledge that is then required at later stages of the course. Staff and pupils are happy with the general structuring of the curriculum at GCSE. Additionally, to this, the resources provided through the online platform are extensive and allow students to have access to digital textbooks and resources. For example, all students in years 9-11 are able to download practice papers and mark schemes and to provide support/intervention there are downloadable podcasts to support them through their studies.
Across both key stage 3 and key stage 4 homework plays a vital part in reinforcing learning. We as a science department do not set homework for homework’s sake. We set it so that it is meaningful and beneficial to the students understanding of the topic they are studying and will enable them to apply their knowledge better when they are assessed. Homework takes many different shapes within the science department; this may range from exam questions to reading an article/text to identifying and correcting common misconceptions. The length of the homework depends on the topics that have been taught and the year group that the student is in.
As well as delivering the science curriculum to GCSE we also offer opportunities for our students to get involved in extra-curricular activities, such as Rocket Club, STEM educational visits and local college science competitions these are accessible to a wide range of students from different abilities.
Catering for students of different abilities:
SEND students in science
- Small class sizes and TA support.
- Quality first teaching.
- School SENDCO is a science teacher
Disadvantaged students in science
- Access to catch-up sessions
- Homework help
- Additional funding for revision resources
More Able students in science
- Promotion of the separate science GCSE route.
- Enrichment visits to further education establishments
- Local science challenges run by colleges
We currently invite our local feeder primary schools to an enrichment project designed to help with their key stage two studies of digestion. Students from year 5 are invited into the science department once a week where they carry out a series of practicals over a 3-week block to reinforce and develop the teaching that has taken place at their school. This has provided the students with additional learning experiences that they may not have been able to receive at their current school.
Our sole aim is for all students to leave Stanley high school having enjoyed 5 years of high quality and challenging teaching in science. This will result in them achieving a qualification in science at the end of year 11 that they have worked extremely hard for. We are confidence that our students are equipped with the theoretical and practical skills needed to flourish in the next steps of their chosen educational pathway and have an appreciation of the importance that science plays in the world.
Since the changes to the GCSE exams in 2017 we are very proud of the success of our year 11 students in science with our first cohort of students achieving: 58% grade 4-4 and above, 13% grade 7-7 and above. This shows the hard work and dedication that we have as a staff to our students in this subject.
At the end of each academic year, we as a department review and evaluate our practices and are pro-active in making any changes needed in order to benefit our students.