Science

Subject Overview

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 Science includes Years 7 and 8; GCSE Science courses are introduced at the start of Year 9. All classes are taught in form groups and have 6 lessons of Science a fortnight in Year 7, and 5 in Year 8. Groups are normally split between two teachers allowing for the introduction of Science specialisms. Topics to be taught as part of the programme of study are divided between the two teachers. One member of staff is responsible for writing the reports and attending parents’ evenings. Science follows the Activate Key Stage 3 Scheme of Work which provides a smooth 5-year curriculum leading to the AQA GCSE exams. The programme of study ensures students make good progress and build on the work done in the primary schools. It develops both investigative skills, scientific thinking and short answer exam technique to ensure that students are supported and prepared for their GCSE studies. In alternating topics students will be assessed by either a mastery task activity (such as an investigation or a scientific writing exercise) or by an exam based end-of-topic test. In addition to this, students all take part in a transition investigation and test at the beginning of Year 7, and a full investigation at the end of both Years 7 and 8. This allows progress to be recorded across all strands of scientific skills. In the February of Year 8, 30 students are invited to take Triple Science at GCSE. In order to aid this selection process, students sit a test in January on the topics studied so far. Data from maths and from other science assessments are also used to inform this process.

Key Stage 4

Years 9, 10 and 11 are taught by specialist subject teachers. Those taking the Combined Science examinations have 10 lessons of Science per fortnight, and those studying Triple Science 14. Each year group has one class of 30 studying Triple Science. All Science examinations follow the AQA syllabi: Biology, Chemistry and Physics for Triple Science,  and Trilogy for Combined Science. Students take part in 21 required practicals (24 if studying Triple Science) during the course of the Key Stage 4. These have been embedded into the curriculum and will be reviewed as part of the revision process. At the end of each topic students will sit an examination-based test in order to ensure and map progress. Marks for this are recorded centrally and monitored to trigger intervention. One member of staff is responsible for writing the reports and attending parents’ evenings.

Key Stage 5

Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses are offered at A Level, following the AQA exam syllabi. Each subject is taught by two specialist teachers, both of whom will attend parents’ evenings and liaise to complete reports. Due to the high maths content of the subject, entry requirements are that students receive BB at GCSE Science and grade 5 GCSE Maths for Biology, or grade 6 GCSE Maths for Physics. Additionally if students wish to study more than one of the science subjects, or a science and Maths they will need to have achieved an A or grade 7 at one of the GCSE subjects. Students at A Level have 12 required practicals embedded within each course. Students must both be present and show sufficient skill in these practicals in order to receive the Practical Award Certificate at the end of A Level. Ample opportunities will be provided for students to take part in, and show skill for, these practicals. These are now a requirement for many Science Further Education courses. AQA Applied General Science Certificate and Extended Certificate is also run by the department. This is a university-endorsed course that allows access to applied courses such as nursing, forensics and biomedical science at University. The course will be taught by 3 teachers, covering the 3 specialisms, and is half exam-based and half coursework.

Teaching Aims and Objectives

The General Aims of Science Education at Waddesdon:
  • Science is regarded as an exciting and interesting subject; students recognise its relevance to their everyday experiences
  • Students are successful in Science and gain qualifications which are important for their future
  • The Science teaching inspires good numbers of students to take up Science at A Level and some go on to study these subjects at university
  • Students develop scientific skills which help to solve problems and enable them to make informed judgements about current science-based issues
  • Science complements and supports other subjects and enables students to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.
Course Information
  • Key Stage 3 courses follow Kerboodle Activate Schemes. These accommodate a two-year Key Stage 3 and provide a smooth transition to GCSE.
 
Subject Board Syllabus Number
GCSE Combined Trilogy AQA 8464
GCSE Biology AQA 8461
GCSE Chemistry AQA 8462
GCSE Physics AQA 8463
A Level Biology AQA 7402
A Level Chemistry AQA 7405
A Level Physics AQA 7408
Certificate in Applied Science AQA TVQ01028
Extended Certificate in Applied Science AQA TVQ01029
Examinations 2016-17
GCSE Results 5A*-C % Meeting FFT20 Target
Core   81% 74%
Additional   80% 77%
Biology 100% 70%
Chemistry 89% 30%
Physics 100% 52%
Overall   85% 69%
 
A Level Student Count % A*- C % A*- E
Biology 15 71% 100%
Chemistry   5 83% 100%
Physics   8 78% 100%
Department Resources The Science Department comprises eight laboratories, a preparation room and a small study/marking room. Staff resources are strong and there is an established team of committed teaching and technical staff. Courses are supported by textbooks and revision guides. There are 6 full-time, and 4 part-time members of staff, and 4 technicians.

Department Policies

Health & Safety
  • Teaching staff and technicians are familiar with the Science Health and Safety Policy document and follow the rules. Safety rules and procedures are in line with CLEAPSS guidelines.
  • Any new safety initiative or issue is discussed at the relevant departmental or technicians’ meeting.
  • It is the duty of all Science staff to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions.
  • The Health and Safety Policy of the Science Department of Waddesdon School is kept in the Prep Room. All Science staff must be familiar with it and follow the Code of Practice.
Rules for Students
  • Do not enter a laboratory unless you are told to by a teacher. When you enter the laboratory hang up your outdoor clothes and place bags where instructed.
  • Do not touch materials or equipment in a laboratory until your teacher has explained what to do and instructed you to begin work.
  • Wear eye protection when you are told to and keep it on until you are told to take it off when all practical work and clearing away has finished.
  • Before using a Bunsen burner, make sure that long hair and any loose clothing are tied back or tucked in to keep them away from the flame. When you are not using the Bunsen, either turn it to the yellow flame or off. Eye protection must be worn each time a Bunsen burner is used.
  • Stand up when you are working with liquids or heating substances so that you can move out of the way quickly if there is a spill.
  • Never put sweets, fingers, pencils or other items in your mouth when working in a laboratory. They may have picked up poisonous chemicals from a bench.
  • If any chemicals get on your skin or clothes, wash them off immediately with plenty of water. Wash your hands after all work with chemicals or animal and vegetable matter.
  • Put solid waste in the appropriate waste bin and never down the sink.
  • Report all accidents to the teacher. This includes burns, cuts and chemicals in the mouth or on the skin.
  • Keep your bench surface tidy. Wipe up small splashes with a damp cloth and report larger ones to the teacher.
Rules for all Science Staff
  • Teachers and technicians have a general duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, of other members of staff, of students and of visitors to the school. They have specific duties to be familiar with the LEA Code of Practice, its updates, appendices and the safety texts it refers to. They must observe its requirements and cooperate with colleagues who have been given specific safety responsibilities.
  • Staff must set a good example to students and work in a way that is consistent with laboratory rules.
  • Staff must be familiar with emergency drills and with the location in each Science laboratory of the escape route, fire-fighting equipment, the nearest First Aid box, tubing on a tap and, if possible, the main gas cock and main electricity switch.
  • Laboratories must be left safe when they are not in use. Gas taps should be completely turned off and all mains-operated apparatus switched off. If possible, at the end of the day, the gas should be turned off at the laboratory main gas tap and the electricity at the main switch. Special arrangements must be made for equipment which has to be left running overnight and hazardous equipment which has to be left out.
  • Eating and drinking must only take place in designated areas that are well away from potentially hazardous materials and equipment.
  • Teachers and technicians must think carefully about any practical work they undertake in the laboratory when they are alone in the Department. It is important that nothing be done which could lead to an accident that would necessitate remedial measures.
  • The door to the Science laboratories should be kept locked at break and lunchtimes if the area is vacated.
Rules for Science Teachers
  • At the beginning of each school year, teachers must make sure they have reviewed Students’ Safety Rules with all students. Teachers should ensure that the rules are displayed in each laboratory.
  • Teachers must enforce the students’ safety rules. They should make a point of reinforcing the rules at relevant points during their lessons. Time should be taken to explain the rules to any new students. This is an important part of their safety education.
  • Lesson preparation should be adequate and include checking on risk assessments and other safety precautions when necessary. Staff should consult more senior colleagues whenever there is any doubt about safe procedures. When necessary, experiments should be tried out or demonstrations practised before they are attempted with a class.
  • Open-ended investigations must be so organised that the teacher can assess risks and explain the necessary precautions to students before any hazards are met.
  • If a teacher considers that, because of class size, or the possibility of indiscipline, safety cannot be maintained during a piece of practical work, then the work must be modified or abandoned.
  • A teacher is responsible for the safety of any of his/her classes taken by a trainee teacher. If the normal class teacher is absent, the Head of Department must give another Science teacher this responsibility.
  • Teachers in charge of a department, courses or modules are responsible for ensuring that technicians are familiar with any hazards they might encounter and the necessary precautions which need to be taken when preparing equipment for lessons and clearing away afterwards.
Equal Opportunities and Multi-Cultural Education

The Science course aims to give equality of experience and opportunity to both boys and girls. The GCSE and A Level results are analysed to ascertain any apparent differences. Equality of experience is provided for all students whatever their race. Our aim is that the courses address the issues of equal opportunities and multi-cultural contributions to Science.

Differentiation
  • Students are supported to ensure that they have access to the Science curriculum at Key Stage 3 which is taught in mixed ability groups.
  • Students with learning difficulties and IEPs are given special targets when appropriate.
  • Differentiated homework tasks are set when appropriate.
  • In practical lessons, all students are set the same task and differentiation of achievement is naturally apparent in student outcomes.
  • Students are entered for GCSE papers, depending on ability.
  • In Key Stage 4, each half year group is divided into one top group and two mixed-ability groups.
When embarking upon investigations, students are encouraged to set targets and improve on previous performance grades.
  • Subject Leader: Anna Ewart (Chemistry)
  • Student Achievement Manager & Radiation Protection Supervisor: Dan West (Physics)
  • Student Learning Manager: Liz Hoyle (Biology)
  • Student Achievement Manager: Samantha Wildfield (Physics)
  • Teachers: Sue Band (Biology and Physics), Sarah Barnett (Biology), Susan Caddick (Biology), Kevin Carr (Chemistry), Kirsty Connell (Chemistry), Signe Kallmeier (Chemistry), Chelsey Rose (Chemistry), Jeremy Sampson (Biology)
  • Technicians: Tim Ewart (Senior Technician), Janice Atack, Sarah Baker, Lorraine Day