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Senior Science

As a department our role is to introduce and promote the study of Science and inspire students to become the Scientists of the future. Those joining the school at KS3 or KS4 will inevitably have a wide range of scientific and academic experiences and skills. It is therefore important that the courses have scope to challenge the most able, whilst making science accessible to the less able, ensuring that the students develop cognitive, practical and written skills including ICT. While learning and undertaking activities in science at KS3 and KS4 students will be given the opportunity to become:

 

• Successful learners who enjoy learning make progress and achieve

• Confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives

• Responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society

 

The department has the following aims at the core of its teaching

 

  • To fire students’ curiosity about phenomena in the world around them and offer opportunities to find explanations for these
  • To encourage students to link direct practical experience with scientific ideas often historical in nature
  • To use experimentation and modelling to develop and evaluate explanations and to encourage critical and creative thought
  • To encourage students to discover how scientific ideas contribute to technological change – affecting industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life
  • To encourage students to question and discuss issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of societies and the future of the world

 Girls using microscopes

Facilities

 

Four dedicated laboratories, two equipped with fume cupboards and one without fixed benching to allow versatility during practical classes. Two prep rooms support the provision of practical equipment. All labs have overhead projectors and two have interactive whiteboards, all of which are linked to the school computer system.

 

Staffing

 

Darrel Jones (Head of Science, Teacher of Biology and Science)

Joost van Es (Teacher of Physics and Science)

Lawrence Coen (Teacher of Biology and Science, Deputy Head (Pastoral))

Jackie Jones (Senior technician)

 

Courses at GCSE

 

KS4 Gateway Science Curriculum

The department currently offers specifications in the OCR Gateway Science suite with some students following a Double Award Science course and others separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics GCSE levels. These specifications build on the aims and content of the KS3 curriculum with an emphasis on explanations, theories and modelling in science along with the implications of science for society. Strong emphasis is placed on the active involvement of students in the learning process and the specification encourages a wide range of teaching and learning activities. This is achieved by:

 

  • Identifying activities and experiences which will excite students' interest, and linking these to scientific ideas and their implications for society.

 

  • Providing opportunities to develop science explanations and theories.

 

In each specification there are three units of assessment: two externally set and marked unit examinations, each testing three teaching modules, and one internally assessed controlled assessment. Candidates taking GCSE Science with GCSE Additional Science, or GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics, will have the experience necessary to progress to appropriate Science A-level qualifications.

 

OCR Gateway Science

 

Courses at A level

 

OCR Biology

This specification is divided into biological topics, each containing different key concepts of Biology. Once the key features of a biological topic have been developed, applications are considered. For assessment purposes, knowledge and understanding of key concepts are treated separately at AS; important links between different areas of biology are largely assessed synoptically at A2. While the teaching of practical skills may be integrated with the theoretical topics, they are assessed separately.

Examples of careers open to biological graduates include, Biomedical research, Pharmacologist, Forensic scientist, Waste manager, Conservation or Water officer, Brewing technologist, teacher, medicine, botanist or indeed others non directly related to the degree like Accountant, Charity fundraiser, Museum education officer and many more.

 

OCR Chemistry A

This course builds up the understanding of chemistry through basic structure and bonding, the periodic table, physical and organic chemistry. AS level introduces the topics and A2 expands on them. Practical tasks are undertaken regularly to support and exemplify the curriculum work and a range of skills are assessed during each year of the qualification. Although studying A level. Mathematics is not essential, a good level of numeracy is required to access large parts of the course.

A good chemistry qualification opens the door to many different careers from the sciences to medicine, accountancy and even law. The range of skills that need to be mastered show that successful students are adaptable, which is why chemistry is considered as a pre-requisite to go on to study medicine.

 

OCR Physics A

This course covers the fundamental concepts of physics, from motion and forces to electricity and waves before developing each area further at A2. Application of the basics to cosmology and electrical components, with extension to magnetic fields and nuclear processes is also undertaken. Many of the topics lend themselves very well to practical investigations and an extensive range of tasks are carried out, with some being assessed. A strong competency in Mathematics is recommended for this course.

Applications of physics vary from car safety devices to medical instrumentation and from computer game design to modelling the environment or financial markets. It is also considered to be a challenging subject to study and any qualifications in it are highly regarded.

 

Extra-curricular activities in department

 

Mrs Thompson runs a Gardening club, which tends to the medicinal garden in the Science Courtyard. This won first prize in the Teignmouth in Bloom Contest 2012, Schools Section, and is a fragrant and relaxing retreat in the warm summer months.

 

The department has run a Science fun club for the last three years where students have engaged in a variety of practical activities. Some Science club students have gone on to demonstrate a range of simple experiments to the public as part of the Teignmouth Science Festival based in the Carlton Theatre. The department has also run a range of activities as part of the National Science and Engineering week including regular trips to a Science Festival based at Paignton zoo and @ Bristol the Science hands on centre.

 

Students studying AS Biology have the opportunity to visit the electron microscopy unit at UWE, where they can learn about this fascinating process and get to see micrographs being produced.

 

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