St Michael's
We believe that a three way partnership between the school, its students and their parents is vital to success

Science

A downloadable version of this information can be found here.

Overview

Science is important because it influences most aspects of everyday life, including food, energy, medicine, transportation, leisure activities and more. Science improves human life at every level, from individual comfort to global issues. With science, we can answer such questions without resorting to magical explanations. It is the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world through systematic observation and experiments. Through science, we develop new technologies. Technology is the application of scientifically gained knowledge for practical purpose.

What skills will pupils develop?

Problem-solving and critical thinking are two of the most important skills students learn in our school. Science is one of the most important subjects students study because it gives them the critical thinking skills they need in every subject. Students will develop skills in planning and conducting investigations, gathering information, teamwork and evaluating their findings. Students will develop skills that will help them to analyse, explain and evaluate data. They will perform investigations and experiments that will make them more proficient in handling apparatus and equipment. They will also develop curiosity and intrigue into the world around them.

What will help pupils to learn?

Inspiring staff and stimulating activities alongside active learning and tailored assessments will encourage students to progress well. Up to date resources and revision guides to develop independent learning at home. Development of revision techniques to understand how to learn and intervention sessions to embed and develop key concepts.

KS3 Course Structure

Students in Year 7 and 8 will study a two-year science curriculum, which will prepare them for the new GCSE.

Year 7 students start science at St Michael’s with the ‘Beginning Science’ unit of work in the first half term. This is where students are introduced to practical work and health & safety in the lab.

Years 7 & 8 follow the KS3 AQA Ten Big Ideas Curriculum, covering the following key topics:

  • Forces
  • Electromagnets
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Matter
  • Reactions
  • Earth
  • Organisms
  • Ecosystems
  • Genes

These topics are developed at KS4 with an aim to build on prior learning and develop a mastery approach. Students will also complete ‘home learning’ projects every half term, which enable them to develop their research skills and get more creative with presenting information and making models to develop learning. Home learning projects will be judged every half term and prizes, as well as certificates, will be awarded to ‘best projects’.

KS3 Assessment

Students will sit ten assessments each year that will test their knowledge, understanding and working scientific skills. Staff will use assessments to identify the strengths and weaknesses within each unit to help students fill in the gaps in their knowledge. At the end of the year, students will complete an end of year exam.

KS4 Course Structure

There are 2 courses offered at GCSE Science: Exam Board AQA Trilogy:

Separate Sciences (Triple Science) is offered to a small cohort of selected students and Trilogy Combined Science is offered to the majority of the year group.

The curriculum is mapped out over the 3 years, as GCSE Science starts in Year 9. This enables us to incorporate practical work and other activities to enhance their learning with time to review and revisit content covered.

Students are also expected to complete around twenty ‘required practicals’ set by the exam board. These will be delivered through relevant topics as students are assessed on these in their written exams.

Maths in science now forms 30% of the questions in the GCSE Science exams. This is developed in science lessons through working collaboratively with the Maths Department.

Year 9

Students study the first three topics in each of the subjects – this is the same for Trilogy Combined Science and Separate Sciences (with additional content within each topic)

Biology topics:

B1 – Cells and transport

B2 – Cell division

B3 – Organisation and digestive system

Chemistry topics:

C1 – Fundamentals in chemistry

C2 – Chemical bonding

C3 – Equations and separating techniques

Physics topics:

P1 – conservation & dissipation of energy

P2 – Energy transfer by heating

P3 – Energy resources

Year 10

Students will revise the first three topics in covered in Year 9 during catch-up and review weeks built into the curriculum map. They will be examined in the Year 9 earlier than in Year 10. In Year 10, we aim to deliver the rest of the paper 1 content and move on to paper 2 content.

Biology topics:

B4 – Organising plants & animals

B5 – communicable diseases

B6 – Preventing & treating disease

B7 – Non-communicable diseases

B8 – Photosynthesis

B9 – Respiration

B10 – Nervous system (paper 2 content)

B11 – Hormonal coordination (paper 2 content)

Chemistry topics:

C4 – Chemical calculations

C5 – Chemical changes

C6 – Electrolysis

C7 – Energy changes

C8 – Rates & equilibrium (paper 2 content)

C9 – Crude oil & fuels  (paper 2 content)

Physics topics:

P4 - Electric circuits

P5 – Electricity in the home

P6 – Molecules & matter

P7 - Radioactivity

P8 – Forces in balance (paper 2 content)

P9 – Motion (paper 2 content)

Year 11

In Year 11, there will be a revisit of Year 10 work followed by a mock exam in the first term. Students will study the rest of the paper 2 content that will be examined through further mock exams:

Biology topics:

B12 – Reproduction

B13 – Variation & evolution

B14 – Genetics & evolution

B15 – Adaptation, interdependence, competition

B16 – Organising &ecosystems

B17 – Biodiversity

Chemistry topics:

C10 – Chemical analysis

C11 – The Earth’s atmosphere

C12 – The Earth’s resources

Physics topics:

P10 – Forces & motion

P11 – Wave properties

P12 – Electromagnetic waves

P13 – Electromagnetic spectrum

KS4 Assessment

Trilogy Combined Science & Combined Science

Internal assessment

Students will sit end of topic tests in Year 9, 10 and 11 to test their knowledge, understanding and application of subject content. After each assessment, they will carry out a reflection task to identify strengths and weaknesses and fill the gaps in their knowledge.

Students will also sit paper 1 and paper 2 mock exams during these years to enable them to experience exam-style questions. During these mock exam periods, students will be encouraged to use the revision guides that the school has given them and follow a revision programme so they are adequately prepared for these exams.

 

External exams

Trilogy Combined Science

This is assessed through end of course examinations that students will sit at the end of Year 11. There are no controlled assessments. Students will sit two 1 hour and 15 minutes exams for each science, all weighted equally at 16.7 %. Therefore, in total, they will sit 6 exams, which accounts for 100% of the total GCSE marks. They will get 2 grades for this.

Separate Sciences (Triple)

This course is also assessed through end of course examinations and has no controlled assessment element. Students sit two 1 hour and 45-minute exams for each science, all weighted equally at 50% for each science subject.

Staff

Mrs S Beardsmore

Director of Science

Mrs Shahida Hussain

Head of Department

Mrs J Malhi

Second in Department (KS3)

Miss H Coley-Smith

Teacher of Science

Mr S Dix

Head of Year and Teacher of Science

Miss A Dowler

SEN in Science

Ms F Jeffreys

Assistant Head Teacher/Teacher of Science

Mr M Holloway

KS4 intervention lead and Teacher of Science

Mr S Lakin

Ethos Leader and Teacher of Science

Miss A Rahman

Teacher of Science

Mrs P Righton

KS4 Physics & Maths lead and Teacher of Science

Mr D Shikotra

Teacher of Science

Mr V Vadukar

Teacher of Science

Mr D Wakelin 

Teacher of Science

Opportunities out of lessons

Students are actively encouraged to involve themselves in some of the extra-curricular activities that the department provide such as science homework club and intervention sessions with their class teachers.

Students will also make visits to places of scientific interest and have the opportunity to experience work completed by students at local universities. We are also inviting visiting speakers into our school from local universities to give talks about current science issues & advances in science.

Career Pathways in this subject

Careers could include research science, medicine, sports science, all kinds of body therapies, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, astronomy and teaching. The possibilities are endless.