Head of Department
Dr C Robertson
Pupils in Year 7 are taught science as one subject by a single teacher. From Year 8 upwards classes are taught biology, physics and chemistry separately. We broadly follow the National Curriculum for science, but do not feel constrained to limit ourselves to its content. Groups are taught in their forms, which are mixed ability, up to Year 9 and are then placed into science sets for Year 10 and Year 11 based on their abilities. Even though controlled assessment is being phased out, we still carry out full scientific investigations in order to develop the girls as thinking scientists.
Key Stage 3: Years 7- 8
Pupils study a range of topics including cells, forces, acids and bases, reproduction, electricity and atomic structure. There is a good balance between theoretical and practical work and the small group sizes ensure that pupils learn and follow the correct safety procedures. Pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of the ‘scientific method’ of investigating problems, whereby one factor is varied, others controlled and the results measured. End of unit tests are used to inform pupils, parents and staff of the progress being made by each pupil during the year.
Key Stage 4: Years 9 – 11
The Key Stage 4 curriculum is started in Year 9 to allow plenty of time to complete the work required to achieve high grades at GCSE. At the moment all pupils sit Edexcel examinations for GCSE Science (often called Core Science) in Year 10. This involves the study of all three science subjects for a single GCSE grade. Staff use the outcomes of these examinations, together with their detailed knowledge of each pupil, to decide on the appropriate course for the subsequent year. In Year 11 pupils either enter for GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics, leading to three GCSE grades from Edexcel board. Alternatively, they study for GCSE Additional Science, which like Core Science gives one GCSE grade covering all three science subjects. The aim is to maximise the achievements of pupils on an individual basis by matching the choice of course with their aptitude for science. Controlled assessment tasks currently constitute 25% of the course marks for all of these GCSEs.
New GCSE courses are replacing those described above and in 2015-16 Year 9 will study towards the new GCSE Combined Science, which will not be examined until the end of Year 11. We will be following the AQA GCSE specification with this year group.
Key Stage 5: AS and A level
AS and A level courses are offered in all three sciences and the science department is proud of the very good results achieved by pupils. Practical work is a key component of all courses together with an emphasis on ‘How Science Works’.
Able and gifted pupils are stretched and participate in the weekly Science in Action programme at Warwick School where they undertake projects at a level similar to that studied by undergraduates.
We run a science club during Science Week in the spring term. Where there is demand, this is extended to offer a weekly science club. Trips are organised to outside venues and events, which have included the ‘Big Bang’ at the NEC and the Space Centre at Leicester. All pupils attend a residential biology field course in Shropshire in Year 9 and A Level pupils attend a further field trip, usually to Snowdonia. On occasions we have entered pupils for national competitions such as the Chemical Olympics