OUR CURRICULUM AIMS AND VALUES
Science allows pupils to gain an understanding of the world around them, and also what the future world may look like. Our aim is to develop pupils’ scientific understanding and application within a safe and secure environment that will allow them to pursue a career within a Science discipline. This is prompted by developing a pupil’s curiosity and passion for the subject from year 7 that will encourage them to continue their interest in the sciences beyond Greenbank High School.
We build on the core scientific principles that have been established during the primary school and in association with the national curriculum for science we want all pupils to:
- Gain an appreciation and deeper understanding of the world around them.
- Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
- Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of scientific enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
To most effectively meet these standards, lessons are taught which incorporate elements of both substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge. These skills are built on and developed through the pupils’ time at school so that they can apply their knowledge of science when conducting scientific investigations of their own. Skills which are necessary at GCSE but also at A-Level and beyond. We also want to ensure pupils have an experience of Science outside of the classroom. This is done through a range of enrichment and additional activities that help develop the cultural capital of pupils in relation to Science education.
Science at Greenbank High School aims to complete the following by the end of year 11:
- Highest achievement for all, irrespective of background or need which enables pupils to progress on to the next educational stage.
- Encourage pupils to take science related courses following year 11 which can then enable progress into a science based career in STEM related subject areas.
- Develop skills such as problem solving, practical competency, numeracy and literacy that can help pupils achieve further success.
- Mature a pupil’s ability to work both independently and within a team and to develop reflective and evaluative skills which will be needed for whichever career path is chosen following Greenbank.
OUR CURRICULUM ORGANISATION & DELIVERY
KS3 – Year 7 and 8
Pupils are taught science in their form groups during year 7 and then work groups in year 8. Science classes are mixed ability. Pupils have six hours of science per fortnight and have either one or two teachers.
The rationale for teaching in mixed ability in years 7 and 8 is to promote progress of all pupils, irrespective of ability. Teachers have access to pupil data allowing them to adapt their teaching strategies to ensure quality first teaching for all. We believe teaching our Key Stage 3 classes in mixed ability science groups encourages all our students to be aspirational in their GCSE goals.
KS4 – Year 9, 10 and 11
All pupils will study science at GCSE. Pupils will have two options:
- AQA GCSE Combined Science
- AQA GCSE Separate Sciences – GCSE Chemistry, GCSE Physics & GCSE Biology
When students first begin their journey into AQA Separate Science in year 9 they will receive a total of 10 lessons per fortnight block. These 10 lessons are split as follows. They will have a subject specialist teacher for each of their science disciplines.
Separate Science is taught in mixed ability classes. We are not selective as to who can study GCSE Separate Science. We believe if a pupil shows passion and commitment for a subject, they should have the opportunity to study it.
Students moving up to year 10 and 11 will see an increase in their curriculum time as follows but classes will remain mixed and be taught by subject specialist teachers for each domain:
Chemistry has slightly less subject content hence the difference in allocated curriculum time.
When students first begin their journey into AQA GCSE Combined Science (Trilogy) they are taught:
- In ability groups
- By one or two teachers
- All three sciences
- 6 lessons per fortnight
In year 10 & 11 pupils are taught:
- In ability groups
- By subject specialists for each of the three science disciplines
- Have a 1 hour review lesson per fortnight
- Have 3 hours curriculum teaching time for each science discipline per fortnight
- Taught by the same three subject specialists throughout their year 10 and 11
The rationale for setting at the start of the GCSE courses for Combined Science is to enable more effective and efficient quality first teaching as a result of using pupil data, key information and teacher judgement to narrow down the attainment range in the multiple classes. Students are still taught all of the Combined Curriculum and will have the opportunity to sit the higher tier paper should it be appropriate. Science sets are not static and whilst we try to minimise disruption, where it is felt a set change would overall improve the success of a pupil, it will absolutely be made.
Key Stage 3 – Year 7 and 8
Our Key Stage 3 Curriculum is based on the new and exciting Activate Scheme by Oxford University Press. Lessons are taught using a variety of informed strategies to ensure quality first teaching and are supported/enhanced by presentations and worksheets. Lessons not only involve teaching substantive knowledge but where best appropriate include disciplinary knowledge. This way our students have a deeper understanding of the practical methods used by scientists and how they are used.
Our Key Stage 3 Curriculum covers the following areas:
Each of the 20 topics taught throughout year 7 and 8 are taught using a similar format:
Although the topics are taught in a rotation to ensure equal access for all classes to necessary practical equipment, each discipline is taught in a progressive way – allowing the students to fully understand the foundational knowledge (e.g. cells) before moving on to more complex concepts (how characteristics are inherited from parents).
At the end of year 7 & 8, all pupils will complete an end of year examination which pulls together the learning across all topic areas and skills to gather an overall view of how well pupils have learned the curriculum.
For this year (21/22), due to the loss of learning time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also incorporated some year 7 topics in the year 8 curriculum. These are 7P2 Sound, 7P3 Light and 7P4 Space.
Information gained from the end of year 8 assessment, along with end of chapter tests, pupil data and teacher judgement will then be used to help appropriately place pupils in their sets for the start of year 9.
Key Stage 4
For GCSE, pupils either complete the AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) course or the AQA Separate Science. AQA was selected as the exam board due to the availability of resources and support materials, as well as how the curriculum was structured and sequenced. The curriculum is planned based on the material provided by Oxford University Press (OUP). We have found that it links well with the content taught at Key Stage 3 and enables pupils to build confidence in concepts from year 9 through to year 11. Historically, we have followed the course as indicated by the OUP resources, however due to the commencement of the GCSEs in year 9 as well as some topics having a direct link to environmental issues, we felt it was appropriate to slightly alter the sequencing of the courses. This can be seen on the curriculum maps in the appendix. As with Key Stage 3, at the end of each unit (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), all pupils complete an end of topic test. These are tiered tests and link directly to the content just taught, as well as including scientific enquiry skills applicable to all parts of the course. Following each test, a detailed review sheet follows where pupils complete IT in relation to their individual areas of concern.
To help support pupils through either the Combined or Separate Science course, all pupils have access to the OUP textbooks both in lessons as well as electronic resources supplied via Kerboodle. As well as the textbooks, pupils will also have the opportunity to purchase revision and support materials that are supplied by CGP. These include practice exam papers, revision guides and revision flash cards. Pupils’ in receipt of Pupil Premium funding will automatically receive these resources. All purchasable revision materials are normally offered to pupil’s part way through year 10.
Key completion points are provided to staff to ensure all pupils reach the same points in the course. This is applicable to both Key Stage 3 and 4. This is to ensure all pupils have covered the same content prior to end of year examinations, PPE examinations and crucially the GCSE examinations at the end of year 11.
Homework across both Key Stage 3 and 4 plays a vital role in reinforcing learning. It is important that homework is purposeful and adds to the development of understanding in pupils. Homework takes many different shapes within the Science department and can include exam questions, worksheets, research and revision. As pupils progress through the GCSE course, the main type of homework that will be set will become revision based.
There are three main assessment points during the course of each academic year – Autumn PIPS, Spring PIPS, and Summer PIPS. Data collected from the end of topic tests as well as from formative assessments is used to provide forecast data and Attitude to Learning (ATL) scores for each assessment period. Analysis of this data is carried out by Mrs Barber who will then provide any necessary intervention to those pupils requiring additional support.
This is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a pupil can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. It is one of the key elements a student will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work. Within the Science department at Greenbank High School we are committed to ensuring pupils have experiences that prepare them for life beyond secondary school. Listed below is a selection of key opportunities and experiences that pupils will be offered in Science (this is not an exhaustive list, and some opportunities span different year groups):
- How to work in laboratories – involving safe handling of apparatus, safe working practices and opportunities to work with others.
- Relationships, puberty and reproduction.
- Gardening club – pupils experience science in action. Pupils grow a range of crops in the specially designed garden area which promotes understanding of content but also offers a great cultural experience.
- Access to poly-tunnel (crop growth) and pond area for biological investigations.
- STEM Club
- Open Evening Volunteers
- STEM Club
- Gardening club
- Digestion and healthy eating – pupils consider the effects of a healthy, balanced diet on the body and the implications if this is not followed.
- Chester zoo trip.
- Science & Technology Challenge events (Liverpool, John Moores and Manchester University).
- Salters Science Competition (Salter’s Institute).
- Open evening volunteers.
- Science Leadership opportunities – this includes work with primary school children, specific roles at evening events such as Open Evening and assisting GCSE pupils in production of ‘Required Practical’ tutorials.
Year 10 & 11
- Trip to CERN in Switzerland.
- Science based trip to Berlin, Germany.
- GCSE Science Live Conference
- STEM Rocket Club
- College visits and challenge days – Runshaw College, Scarisbrick Hall School
- Previous students, inspirational women in STEM visits and talks
- Heart health and effect of drugs on the body.
- Causes and effects of cancer.
- Causes and effects of extinction.
- Fertility issues and treatments.
- Paying bills – electrical devices in the home.
- Driving safely – impact on braking distance.
- Environmental concerns associated with combustion.
- Availability of clean, safe drinking water.
- Life cycle assessments.
- Climate change and the greenhouse effect.
- Helping out at Options Evening
- Revision sessions in the morning for students who have been identified from the PPEs as requiring further support.
Vulnerable pupils’ access to this provision is monitored carefully in order to support those whose cultural gap may be wider.
Careers in Science
As pupils choose their options part way through year 8, information relating to careers in science is included in the options booklet that all pupils are provided with. This is in relation to Combined Science and Separate Science GCSE courses. Pupils are also introduced to different career pathways through the curriculum as well as through extra-curricular activities and events. These include trips to colleges and universities, as well as attending science based lectures run by some of the country’s leading scientists – such as Professor Robert Winston and Dr Alice Roberts. Careers advice is provided in school by the school’s independent careers advisor – Mrs Edwards, who will provide pupils with information relating to different courses focussed around particular career paths.
Information relating to careers in science is also displayed to pupils throughout the science areas at Greenbank High School. A big focus is to encourage pupils in to STEM disciplines and to address the gender imbalance in science and engineering based careers.
SMSC in Science
The science curriculum, both at key stage 3 and 4, is packed with SMSC strands that enables pupils to understand the content being taught but also the impact the science can have on themselves and others around them.
Spiritual development: In Science…. this involves the search for meaning and purpose in natural and physical phenomena. It is the wonder about what is special about life, an awe at the scale of living things from the smallest micro-organism to the largest tree and the interdependence of all living things and materials of the Earth. It concerns the emotional drive to know more and to wonder about the world and aesthetically appreciate its wonders including for example the enormity of space and the beauty of natural objects or phenomenon.
Topics included are:
- Reproduction, pregnancy and contraception.
- Health and disease
- Genetic engineering
- Nervous and hormonal response
- Drugs – medicinal and illegal
- Earth’s structure
- Energy resources
Moral development: Our understanding of Science has allowed us to develop technology we couldn’t have imagined 50 years ago. Now however, we must start deciding if we should we do all the scientific activities we are able to or morally should we decide not to. This can be as simple as should we test medicines for humans that could save lives on animals causing them cruelty? It could be as complex as should we allow somatic or germ line cell therapy. Moral development is a vital part of any scientist’s development. Students will need to develop a good understanding of it to firstly pass exams which always comprise of ethical questions but more importantly to become a good rounded scientist.
Topics that promote moral development include:
- Fossil fuels and renewable fuels
- Diet and exercise
- Combustion and global warming
- Food chains and webs
- Drug development
- Animal testing
- Nuclear power
Social development: In Science…this involves group practical work which provides opportunities for pupils to develop team working skills and to take responsibility. Pupils must take responsibility for their own and other people’s safety when undertaking practical work. Science has a major effect on the quality of our lives. Pupils are encouraged to consider the benefits and drawbacks of scientific and technological developments and the social responsibility involved.
Activities that promote social development:
- Working safely in science – adhering to laboratory rules
- Team work and collaboration
- Listening and responding to others
- Managing scientific conflict
- Linking science to different beliefs and cultures
Cultural development: Scientific development comes from all across the world, from people of all backgrounds and cultures. It is also important to understand how the different cultures around the world can have different impacts on the planet and what impact more economically developed countries have on poorer areas. This will also be vital into the future as we need to monitor the impact of quickly developing cultures around the world on our environment.
Topics that promote cultural development:
- Periodic table
- Development of the atom
- Antibiotic functions
- Micro-organisms and disease
- Solar system
Mrs M Barber – Director of Learning for Science and PE
Mrs C Fox – Assistant Director of Learning for Science and PE
Mr D Burton – Deputy Headteacher / Teacher of Science
Mr C Pritchard – Assistant Headteacher / Teacher of Science
Mrs D Atherton – Teacher of Science
Mr L Dunne – Teacher of Science
Mrs K Blease – Teacher of Science and Progress Leader
Mrs J Mullinder – Science Technician
Miss G Smithson – Teacher of Science
Mr A Sinclair – Teacher of Science and Progress Leader
Mrs A Smith – Teacher of Science
Mrs C Pritchard – Teacher of Science and Progress Leader