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The Department is fully staffed with a Head of Biology, Head of Chemistry and Head of Physics, as well as 2ic’s for each subject. Other responsibilities and representation on key whole school working groups are shared amongst the team. We have four experienced technicians, two full-time and two part-time, all of whom are extremely helpful. We have a great mix of 12 teaching staff within the Department covering all Science disciplines which shares experience and expertise with the enthusiasm and knowledge of current educational views of the newer members of staff.
The Science Department is mostly housed in the Main Building on two floors where there are nine laboratories and two preparation rooms. All of the laboratories have interactive whiteboards and the Department is able to take classes to work in the Learning Resources Centre and bookable ICT rooms. In the RR6 (sixth form) building we have a purpose built laboratory with full preparation room and storage facilities.
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7 &8) we teach the AQA Big Ideas specification (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/ks3/ks3-science-syllabus). This breaks down science into 10 big ideas that are taught in Year 7 and then revisited in Year 8.
In Biology the Big Ideas are: Organisms, Ecosystems, and Genes.
In Chemistry the Big Ideas are: Matter, Reactions, and Earth.
In Physics the Big Ideas are Forces, Electromagnetism, Energy and Waves.
Students are assessed at the beginning of Year 7 in order to determine their starting ability. This test will be used to set students, however sets are regularly reviewed throughout the year. Students are also assessed at the end of each topic, using the GCSE 1-9 scale. There is an end of year exam which questions students’ understanding of topics from throughout the course.
At Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11) students will study for either the AQA Trilogy course (Double Science GCSE) or AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse). The decision between the Double and Separate GCSE courses is made in the spring of Year 10, when students complete a mock assessment. Students should achieve a grade 6 or above in order to be assured a place on the triple science course.
Students will study the following topics:-
Biology: Cell Biology; Organisation; Infection and Response; Bioenergetics; Homeostasis and response; Inheritance, variation and evolution; Ecology.
Chemistry: Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry; Chemical changes; Energy changes; The rate and extent of chemical change; Organic chemistry; Chemical Analysis; Chemistry of the atmosphere; Using resources.
Physics: Energy; Electricity; Particle model of Matter; Atomic structure; Forces; Waves; Magnetism and electromagnetism; Space physics.
Key Stage 5 GCE A’level’s or BTEC are for our sixth form students.
Biology students study OCR Biology (http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-biology-h021-h421/). Taught at Rutlish and Ricards Lodge.
Chemistry students study AQA Chemistry (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/chemistry-7404-7405). Taught at Rutlish and Ricards Lodge.
Physics students study AQA Physics (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/physics-7407-7408). Taught at Rutlish only.
Applied Science students study BTEC Nationals (Certificate or Extended Certificate) Applied Science (http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/btec-nationals/applied-science-2016.html). Taught at Ricards Lodge only.
Enrichment and enhancement activities which have been offered to students include a Science Club in Years 7 and 8 (recently successful in a Brooklands Museum Challenge and a Roehampton University Rocket Challenge) and revision classes for Years 9, 10 and 11. After school study support is available once a week for all students. Students have taken trips in recent years to the Science Museum, Science Live, Big Bang Fair, Royal Society summer exhibition and St George’s Medical School. Smaller groups of students have attended science based activity days and lecture programmes.
The main aim in the Department is to make this an area of the School that students enjoy visiting, where they feel that the lessons are well planned and imaginatively taught by teachers who are in command of their subject with the ability to inspire. Our excellent results show we are achieving this.
Ms L. Whitehall-Bentt, Head of Biology
Mrs C Beck, Head of Chemistry
Miss H Ryan, Head of Physics