Science

Science Department

 

Our Science Department has a high reputation both within and outside School. All our pupils study the three sciences to IGCSE, many continue to A Level and then follow university courses in the physical, chemical and biological sciences, medicine, and engineering.

The Science Department is housed in three single-story buildings. The Newton Building provides 3 laboratories serviced by a preparation room. Each laboratory is furnished with a science staff office. The Darwin Building provides two further laboratories both with fume cupboards for chemical demonstrations. A new state of the art preparation room with a fume cupboard, storage and washing facilities is located between the two laboratories in the Darwin building. The 2 Darwin laboratories also have their own fume cupboards. The Franklin Block, our newest laboratory block, houses 2 laboratories separated by a standard teaching room. Practical work is central to our teaching and our resources reflect this. We are also well resourced and fully equipped to integrate information technology into our classroom teaching.

 

In their first three years, pupils study Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately and are taught by subject specialists. All of our pupils study for the Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) Double Award exam which we feel is a scientifically rigorous course and is excellent preparation for studies at A Level.

 

In the science department we aim to give students opportunities to: 

 

  • acquire scientific knowledge and develop an understanding of science;
  • develop an interest in and enjoyment of science:
  • develop experimental and investigative abilities;
  • develop an understanding of the nature of science;
  • develop an understanding of the role of science and technology and its application in society.

 

In Year 9 students begin the IGCSE and are taught in mixed ability groups. At the end of year 9, data is used from formative and summative assessments from the three science disciplines to group students into sets more suited to their ability.


In Year 10 and Year 11 students in the top set will be taught subject content from the Triple Award syllabus and will have the opportunity to sit for these examinations. Invitation to sit for the Triple Award is made by the Head of Science in consultation with subject teachers. Parents will be notified in writing after the mock examinations have been sat in February of the examination year. The other two sets will take the Double Award.

 

In the Triple Award students sit paper 2 as well as paper 1 in each of the three science disciplines this results in 3 separate grades for Biology, chemistry and Physics. The Double Award will be graded and certificated on a 15-grade scale: A*A*(a*a*), A*A(a*a), AA(aa), AB(ab), ...G(fg), GG(gg), of which Grade A*A*(a*a*) is the highest and Grade GG(gg) is the lowest.

 

A-level Biology

Why study Biology?

Whilst challenging, the study of Biology at A-level is both thought provoking and wide-ranging. Biology is at the forefront of many of the most exciting, innovative and controversial issues that concern us all and is rarely out of the headlines these days. Stories concerning genetic engineering, human health, stem cell research, environmental concerns, bird flu, MRSA, cancer research and forensic science continue to make Biology one of the most debated and interesting fields in Science.

 

Abilities Required
We expect students to have gained a good IGCSE grade, either in Triple Award or in Double Award Science; with anything less pupils are likely to struggle right from the start.


The Course

The CIE course is followed to AS and A-level. The A-level Biology course is designed to stretch, inspire and challenge students, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and thus help universities to recognise and reward their talents and interest in Biology.

 

The AS course, which is studied in the Lower Sixth, consists of three units:

  1. Unit 1: Cells and Biochemistry [cell structure, mitosis, Enzymes, biological molecules]
  2. Unit 2: Structure and function [Transport and Gas exchange]
  3. Unit 3: Interrelationships. [immunity, Infectious disease and Ecology]

 
The units are further subdivided into topics. Each topic consists of lecture/demonstrations and relevant practicals. Written work is completed weekly, and after it has been marked any difficulties are discussed. Each unit ends with a test composed of questions from past AS-level papers.

The AS-level assessment consists of the following papers;
Paper 1 is a 1 hour multiple choice paper consisting of 40 questions.
Paper 2 is a 1 hour 15 minute structured written paper consisting of 60 marks.
Paper 3 is a 2 hour practical paper consisting of 40 marks.

The A2 course, which is studied at the end of the Lower Sixth and completed in the Upper Sixth consists of four units:

  1. Unit 5: Respiration & Photosynthesis
  2. Unit 6: Regulations & Control
  3. Unit 7: Inheritance & Evolution
  4. Unit 8:  Applications of Biology [Biodiversity & Conservation, Biotechnology, Gene Technology, Crop Plants, Aspects of Human Reproduction]

The style and organisation of the A2 teaching is similar to that used at AS-level.

The A2 assessment consists of the following papers:
Paper 4 is a 2 hour structured written paper consisting of 100 marks.
Paper 5 is a 1 hour 15 minute Planning, Analysis and Evaluation paper consisting of 30 marks.

 

A-level Chemistry

Why study Chemistry?


From the moment you are born, and throughout your life, you are surrounded by chemistry – the air you breathe, the food you eat and the clothes you wear – they’re all chemistry. Chemistry is the study of substances; what they are made of, how they interact with each other and the role they play in living things. Whether you want to care for penguin colonies in Antarctica or work in a dynamic business environment, chemistry can help you achieve your goals. From research in space, to the depths of the oceans, chemistry helps you understand the world around you and opens up lots of career opportunities. A chemistry qualification can take you almost anywhere.


Abilities Required
We expect students to have gained a good IGCSE grade, either in Triple Award or in Double Award Science; with anything less pupils are likely to struggle right from the start.

The Course
The CIE course is followed to AS and A-level. The course aims to stimulate and sustain students' interest in, and enjoyment of, Chemistry, and to show the interrelationship between the subject and its applications in society. In addition we aim to develop intellectual and practical skills which will lay the foundation for further study and be of value in future life.

The AS course, which is studied in the Lower Sixth, consists of four units:

  1. Unit 1: Theoretical Chemistry [Atomic Structure, Stoichiometry, Bonding and Matter]
  2. Unit 2: Physical Chemistry [ Kinetics, Equilibria and Basic Electrochemistry]
  3. Unit 3: Inorganic Chemistry
  4. Unit 4: Organic Chemistry

 
The units are further subdivided into topics. Each topic consists of lecture/demonstrations and relevant practicals. Written work is completed weekly, and after it has been marked any difficulties are discussed. Each unit ends with a test composed of questions from past AS-level papers.

The AS-level assessment consists of the following papers;
Paper 1 is a 1 hour multiple choice paper consisting of 40 questions.
Paper 2 is a 1 hour 15 minute structured written paper consisting of 60 marks.
Paper 3 is a 2 hour practical paper consisting of 40 marks.

The A2 course, which is studied at the end of the Lower Sixth and completed in the Upper Sixth consists of four units:

  1. Unit 5: Physical Chemistry II [Equilibria, Kinetics, Further Electrochemistry, Ionic Compounds]
  2. Unit 6: Inorganic Chemistry II [Group IV and Transition Elements]
  3. Unit 7: Organic Chemistry II
  4. Unit 8:  Applications of Chemistry [Chemistry of Life,  Applications of Analytical Chemistry, Materials and Design]

The style and organisation of the A2 teaching is similar to that used at AS-level.

The A2 assessment consists of the following papers;
Paper 4 is a 2 hour structured written paper consisting of 100 marks.
Paper 5 is a 1 hour 15 minute Planning, Analysis and Evaluation paper consisting of 30 marks.

 

A-level Physics

Why Study Physics?

 

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science. Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to great discoveries, like computers, lasers, satellites and smart phones that lead to technologies which change our lives -from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions and easing telecommunications.
Physics provides a broad training in skills that are valued by all employers; an ability to grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, along with problem-solving, analytical, mathematical and IT skills.

Abilities Required
We expect students to have gained a good IGCSE grade, either in Triple Award or in Double Award Science; with anything less pupils are likely to struggle right from the start.

The Course
The CIE course is followed to AS and A-level. The course aims to stimulate and sustain students' interest in, and enjoyment of, Physics, and to show the interrelationship between the subject and its applications in society. In addition we aim to develop intellectual and practical skills which will lay the foundation for further study and be of value in future life.

The AS course, which is studied in the Lower Sixth, consists of five units:

  1. Unit 1: Quantities and their measurement [Physical Quantities and units, Measurement Techniques]
  2. Unit 2: Motion Force & Energy
  3. Unit 3: Electric Charge
  4. Unit 4:Matter
  5. Unit 5: Waves
  6. Unit 6: Particle and Nuclear Physics

 

The units are further subdivided into topics. Each topic consists of lecture/demonstrations and relevant practicals. Written work is completed weekly, and after it has been marked any difficulties are discussed. Each unit ends with a test composed of questions from past AS-level papers.

The AS-level assessment consists of the following papers;
Paper 1 is a 1 hour multiple choice paper consisting of 40 questions.
Paper 2 is a 1 hour structured written paper consisting of 60 marks.
Paper 3 is a 2 hour practical paper consisting of 40 marks.

The A2 course, which is studied at the end of the Lower Sixth and completed in the Upper Sixth consists of six units:

  1. Unit 6: Non-uniform Acceleration
  2. Unit 7: Thermal Physics
  3. Unit 8: Force fields
  4. Unit 9: Electromagnetic Induction
  5. Unit 10: Modern Physics
  6. Unit 11: Applications of Physics

The style and organisation of the A2 teaching is similar to that used at AS-level.

The A2 assessment consists of the following papers;
Paper 4 is a 2 hour structured written paper consisting of 100 marks.
Paper 5 is a 1 hour 15 minute Planning, Analysis and Evaluation paper consisting of 30 marks.

 

Head of Department
Mr G. Were

 

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