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Science

The Science department is fortunate to have a team of twenty science specialist teachers housed in the new Myddelton block comprising of 14 specialist science laboratories all fitted with interactive projectors, supported by an excellent technical team.

Academic results are outstanding, particularly at A-level. Many students go on to study scientific courses at university including medical sciences, dentistry, veterinary science and engineering.

The curriculum includes the understanding of basic scientific concepts, plus Biology, Chemistry and Physics and ‘How Science Works’ – a course designed to enhance the understanding how scientific research and studies are carried out and the impact of science on society.

Learning is enhanced by a rich and varied array of extra-curricular activities. There is a Science Club, the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry, and Olympiad competitions to stretch the highest scientific flyers! The school has also developed strong links with the Royal Vet College, University College London and Imperial College that have led to work experience placements, guest speakers and visits. We run a comprehensive series of Science Society Lectures throughout the year, details of which can be found on the school calendar

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3 students have three hours of science a week with one teacher in Year 7 before splitting between Biology, Chemistry and Physics teachers in Years 8 and 9. They are offered an enriching curriculum that covers a wide range of scientific concepts as well as equipping them with practical and investigative skills that prepares them to meet the demands of higher level courses and life beyond school. There is an important emphasis on ‘How Science Works’ – the impact of science on society and how research is carried out and scrutinised to ensure it is valid.

Key Stage 4

There are two GCSE courses available – Triple science (three GCSE’s) and Combined Science (two GCSE’s). Both specifications are AQA courses and cover topics from Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as ‘How Science works’. Six GCSE exams are taken at the end of both courses. The majority of students choose to study Triple science GCSE.

Key Stage 5

Biology, Chemistry and Physics A-level courses are offered in the 6th form.

Biology

Biology is a fascinating and popular subject in the 6th form, attracting enough students to make four or five teaching groups in each year. Students follow the AQA course; at AS and A Level it is divided into topics covering key biological concepts, ranging from cells to individuals to populations; from the fundamentals of life and inheritance to the newer technologies of genetic engineering and biotechnology; from biochemistry to ecosystems. There are many practical opportunities within the taught course including the exam board required practicals in which students need to demonstrate various competencies and so be awarded practical endorsement alongside their exam grade.  There are a number enrichment opportunities.

Lower School photo competition winner 2015

Lower School photo competition winner 2015

Chemistry

The department follows the AQA specification which is traditional in style, but offers ample opportunity for experimental work. The AS and A-level courses extend and develop the key ideas from GCSE Chemistry and introduce modern concepts. The emphasis of the syllabus is on the relevance of the subject to everyday life and it is therefore an interesting and dynamic course. The Year 2 course is a more advanced treatment of the ideas studied at AS, building on earlier concepts. There are many practical opportunities, including the required practicals that contribute towards students achieving practical endorsement.

There are usually five A-level groups in each 6th form year group and a significant number of students take part in enrichment activities such as the various competitions set by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Physics

Students follow the AQA Physics A-level. The specification covers classical physics topics such as mechanics and theoretical physics such as special relativity. Students undertake practical work regularly throughout the course and ten of these practicals contribute to the A-Level practical endorsement.

Students are encouraged to participate in the Headstart courses at the end of Year 12, which provide tasters at universities in science and engineering subjects. A visit to CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics in Geneva takes place most years. Students can also challenge themselves through the Physics Olympiad with the aim of representing Great Britain in the International Physics Olympiad.

Mr M Jays (Head of Science)

Finty Clarke (Head of Biology)
Bernard Davies (Head of Chemistry)
Simon Poliakoff (Head of Physics and AST (Advanced Skills Teacher))