Science

Subject Leader: Ms Russell

Overview

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The Science Department has been graded as Good overall. This judgement is based on the department review which took place in 2015/16.

The Science Department is led by Debbie Russell as Head of Science with overall KS4 responsibility.  Mr Wilson leads KS4 Chemistry, Miss Shaikh leads KS5 Biology and Mr Watson leads KS4 Physics. Leading KS5 is Mr East who is also responsible for KS5 Physics.  KS5 Biology is led by Ms Badham, supported by Miss Baptist.  Ms Klopper leads KS5 Chemistry, KS5 Vocational courses and is also Second in charge of Science.  Miss Billett leads KS3 Science and is supported by Miss Cox who leads Year 8 and Miss Connolly who leads Year 7.  Ms Manuel oversees Maths in Science and STEAM events while Miss George is responsible for KS5 STEAM and Progress Leader. We have an outstanding team of Technicians led by Mrs Davies and Curriculum Support from Ms Forbes and Miss Thomson.

The department has its own special block.  Four new classrooms were added two years ago, which means that all teachers have their own classroom/laboratory. The large number of laboratories are used for regular practical work; there are also two computer suites, a dedicated KS5 BTEC classroom, and a number of prep rooms which are well organised and used by the technicians. We are currently remodelling a new science department office for staff to use when working and for meeting times.

Strengths

The department built upon the exam success of 2015 achieving another year of excellent exam results in 2016.  GCSE results include:

Core Science A*- C 79%, with 51% B+

Additional Science A*- C 89%, with 66% B+

Further Science A*- C 98%, with 93% B+ and 75% A+ 

This is the first time students have taken GCSE qualifications with no BTEC courses being run as an alternative so these results are particularly pleasing in light of all students now sitting the Core of Additional Science exams.

A Level sciences were very pleasing again and there were equally excellent outcomes achieved on Level 3 BTEC courses. All courses (Biology, Chemistry, and the combined Diploma) achieved excellent value added (ie excellent progress from students’ starting points) - Biology BTEC +0.7VA and Chemistry BTEC +0.9VA.

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The Science Team are proactive, motivated and extremely hard working.  Staff are committed to students in their classes and work effectively to ensure all students make progress.  The curriculum offered in 2015/16 meant that students could study a qualification recognised by schools and sixth form colleges as robust and relevant to the next step up. At KS4, courses offered included Single (Core) Science, Double Science (Additional and Core) or Triple Science (Core, Additional and Further).  At Post-16 students can study Biology, Chemistry and Physics A level or BTEC Science in Chemistry and/or Biology.

The Science department are currently using innovative approaches in their teaching, learning and assessment to improve lesson delivery and outcomes.  For example, using Google Classroom, which KS5 students are particularly excited about, using Visualizers more in lessons to show demonstrations or how to assess and improve work effectively. 

Lessons are well supported by the Science Technicians and support team, who efficiently provide materials and equipment for the many practical experiments and coursework activities, make suggestions about practical work and supporting with the A Level Core Practical preparation. 

The department have high quality central tracking systems, meaning that student progress is closely monitored with detailed intervention plans put in place and shared within department meetings. This is particularly true in KS4 and KS5 with forensic analysis of student data. This analysis supports the excellent outcomes that many students achieve.

Students’ Views and Attitudes

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Behaviour in Science lessons is very good; in many lessons across all key stages there are excellent relationships between students and teachers. 

Students speak positively of their Science lessons, and enjoy doing practical work in particular.  Students attend Science Surgeries/Intervention sessions in their own time, particularly in KS4 and KS5.

Destinations

In September 2016, 24 students progressed to university to study a science/engineering degree from Aeronautical engineering to Pharmacology and Zoology.  This included 13 girls, a national priority for Science university study, who are on courses as diverse as Physics, Biochemistry and Human Nutrition. 

Enrichment

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We have recently set up KS5 Science Café to support all KS5 students studying A Level Sciences; uptake is superb and student feedback about the sessions is excellent. 

Revision classes and targeted intervention sessions are run for KS4 with students put into focus groups to target the areas they most need to improve.

The Science Department ran a very successful Science Week for 2015/16 and are looking forward to the next one already. The department has set up an annual 'Women in Science' event for Year 9 students as an opportunity to investigate Science careers.  This is attended by many different women from science backgrounds such as engineering and pharmaceuticals. 

Students and staff enjoyed recent trips run in science, for example, to Bodyworld in Belgium, The Rutherford Laboratories in Oxford and CERN in Switzerland.

Year 7 students visited the Science museum last year and there is a weekly Science Club for KS3 students.

Future Developments

Continued preparation for the new GCSE in Combined Science as well as the new Level 3 BTEC and A level specifications. These courses have started but developmental work continues to be needed.

Reviewing and improving the KS3 curriculum so that it effectively supports the KS4 curriculum.

Continuing to build the expertise of the Science Leadership Team.