Science provides students with the knowledge and understanding to understand the world that is around them. Students will learn key scientific skills and knowledge in key stage 3 that will then allow them to develop and apply this to a range of concepts that will allow their success at GCSE level.
Our curriculum is designed to engage students of all abilities and to allow all to progress their understanding of science by receiving regular and personalised formative feedback, which will allow students to reflect and improve. We aim to inspire our students by relating the concepts they learn to the real life contexts of our students. Our intent is to ensure that our students gain a wealth of scientific knowledge and also a wide range of skills that can be transferrable to several other subjects.
Key Stage 3
The Urswick School Science Department uses the national curriculum as a framework to provide the content areas taught during key stage 3 study. Within these content areas, we plan and deliver lessons that are inclusive for learners of all abilities; we stretch the most able, whilst supporting those that require additional assistance in order to maximise their potential. Our science teachers frequently use a range of in lesson assessment techniques to ensure that all learners are progressing as scientists and we provide regular formative feedback that allows students to reflect on and improve their understanding. We embed practical work within our lessons as frequently as possible to ensure that students are not only learning and understanding theory, but are also able to apply this to a practical context. Using this approach, we are able to develop our student’s knowledge and skills so that they are prepared for GCSE study in later years.
To increase the exposure that our students have to the world of science, our STEM coordinator runs a weekly STEM club that is open to all key stage 3 students. Students who regularly attend STEM club are immersed in a range of activities where they are familiarised with the STEM subjects and the type of careers that this area can entail. Our STEM coordinator has strong links with a range of organisations and universities that provide opportunities for students to be taken on extra-curricular visits to working laboratories and workplaces. We also engage with several of these organisations who offer outreach work and bring engaging STEM activities to The Urswick School.
Key Stage 4
The vast majority of our students are entered onto the AQA Combined Science Trilogy course, on which they learn a range of biology, chemistry and physics topics.
Whilst studying the biology topics, students will begin by learning how cells function on an individual level, and then apply this to demonstrate an understanding of how whole organisms are able to survive and reproduce effectively. Students will encounter a range of topics that take into consideration the functioning on the human body and also the complexity of ecological environments, organisms and adaptations.
In chemistry, students begin by understanding the fundamental concept of atoms, their structure and how they interact with each other. This understanding is then applied to explain how chemistry is in part responsible for the world that we live in today, and to evaluate how and why it is currently changing.
Physics is around us all of the time, it is using real life and relatable contexts and scenarios that allow us to develop our students understanding of these. Such as why we get hotter if we run up the stairs instead of walk up them; how the forces on a rollercoaster can cause our face to become distorted to how water waves are comparable to the energy from the Sun.
Embedded throughout the course, students are required to have a detailed understanding of 21 required practical activities, these are used to further enhance our student’s practical skills that they began developing during earlier years.
At the end of year 11, students sit 2 biology, 2 chemistry and 2 physics examinations, each of which is 1 hour 15 minutes. From these they will gain 2 GCSE science grades.
We use the same techniques with our GCSE students as we do with our younger learners. We still stretch the most able and provide support for those that require it to ensure that all are provided with the best possible opportunity of achieving as highly as possible. Similarly, we incorporate a curriculum structure that provides frequent and timely feedback to ensure that students are consistently reflecting and improving their science practice.