The department consists of four Biology teachers with a wide spread of experience and expertise. The staff take an active interest in current educational theory and practice, including the AfL initiative, membership of the A.S.E. and engagement with the East of England’s Science Learning Centre. Some of the staff work as examiners and share their specialised knowledge of examination techniques and board requirements with the other staff and the pupils. Our pupils benefit from these interests in a variety of ways.
Our laboratories are well equipped and the educational emphasis is on learning through practical activities.
In Years 7 and 8 pupils are taught ‘general science’ with input on the Biology components from the department. In Year 9 our pupils complete their Key Stage 3 studies and commence the GCSE examination syllabus. During Year 10 and Year 11 our pupils complete their GCSE studies. Most pupils are entered for the ‘triple award’ GCSE. This means that pupils are awarded three Science GCSEs instead of the more usual two.
At the moment our Key Stage 4 pupils follow the AQA syllabus at GCSE. Our AS level and A level courses are very popular. Currently, over eighty pupils are enrolled on the Year 12 course. These pupils follow the AQA Biology syllabus. Our A level pupils usually do well in their studies and many gain university places to read Medicine or Dentistry.
The courses provide a significant insight into a fascinating multifaceted world of chemistry. It allows our students to apply their knowledge & understanding of chemistry concepts and use their scientific enquiry skills in an experimental and investigative context in order to further advance both their knowledge and skills.
In year 7 and 8, chemistry is studied in conjunction with biology and physics as part of the Key Stage 3 Science curriculum. The course material at this level is structured in such a way as to provide students with the fundamental skills for learning science.
From Year 9 to 11 students study chemistry as a separate subject. They move on to study the AQA GCSE chemistry (8462) course. They continue to develop experimental skills as an integral part of their chemistry learning. Whilst group work is encouraged, students develop the skills that enable them to think independently. This course takes students, not only through the basic chemistry knowledge they require for GCSE, but it takes them a step beyond, to build a sound bridging towards the Advanced Level course.
Our classes in chemistry respond well to challenging activities – developing curiosity and problem solving skills. We hold very high expectations of our students’ academic work, effort and positive behaviour for learning.
At A Level, students follow a two year AQA syllabus (7405), which includes the essential aspects of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and has a 20% mathematical demand. Students study both qualitative and quantitative aspects of chemistry in much more depth. We adopt an academic and scholarly yet fun and practical approach to learning where students are encouraged to read journals and books beyond the curriculum, use models and complete practical work to engage with deep learning. Practical skills are assessed during the completion of 12 required practical areas - awarding students separately with a standalone qualification of a ‘pass or a ‘fail’. Students are fully engaged in complex experiments, which enables them to develop a better understanding of the concepts studied and scientific enquiry skills required as part of the course.
Physics is concerned with the science of how matter and energy interact. Its scope ranges from galaxies and the universe itself to subatomic particles and quantum mechanics. The subject seeks to explain phenomena using experimental data and observations which provide a basis for mathematical models or theories to attempt to understand the behaviour of the physical world.
One of the beauties of physics is the realisation that as your understanding of it grows, so does your perception of the world about you. Besides acquiring a greater understanding of principles and accumulating a body of knowledge, each physics course will also develop transferrable skills such as problem analysis, logical thinking, practical skills, mathematical skills and teamwork. These skills are highly regarded by future employers.
The department consists of three specialist physics teachers who between them have a range and wealth of experience of teaching physics, research experience and the application of physics to the world in which we live. Practical activities are ably supported a specialist laboratory technician.
In the lower school, Physics is studied in conjunction with Biology and Chemistry as part of the Key Stage 3 Science curriculum.
At GCSE level, we follow the AQA Physics syllabus which is taught as a linear course and is examined at the end of Year 11. Year 9 is used as a foundation year to GCSE, where electricity and waves are revisited from the Key Stage 3 syllabus, key mathematical and practical skills are taught before beginning the GCSE course with mechanics. Year 10 covers the principles of thermodynamics and gases, waves and optics, and further mechanics. Finally, Year 11 covers electricity, radioactivity and nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology. The course is supported with many practical activities to develop experimental skills as well as meeting the required practicals components, and lay a solid foundation for practical requirements at A-level.
At Key stage 5 department follows the AQA syllabus. During the first year the fundamentals of particle physics, quantum phenomena, electricity, mechanics, material properties and waves are studied, which can lead to an AS qualification for those wishing to take the one-year course. For those continuing into Year 13 for the full two-year course, the ideas learnt at GCSE and the first year are further expanded, and theories on further mechanics, fields, radioactivity and thermal physics are taught. An optional topic, normally turning points in physics is taught completes the course. Development of practical skills are also a required component of the course and are assessed continually over the two years by completion and submission of CPAC practicals. These skills are also assessed in Paper 2 for the AS course, and Paper 3 for the full A-level.
The philosophy of the Physics department is to learn by experience. To that end, the scheme of work across the key stages are designed with as many opportunities as possible to conduct experimental work. In addition, all theory should be derived from first principles where possible to ensure that bare equations are not presented and to foster a deeper understanding of the topic. The aim of the Physics department is to stretch and challenge pupils, often delivering lessons which are differentiated to include material beyond the current Key Stage. The Physics department is a firm supporter of thinking skills and in particular problem-solving skills and the application of the school's Habits of Learning and Research in Schools educational philosophy. Pupils should not only progress in the subject but should also develop knowledge and understanding around the subject.
Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. It is all around us, in our relationships, our homes, our schools and communities. Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and with the thoughts, feelings and motivations underlying that behaviour.
Psychology is an optional subject offered at A-Level. At AS level you will study a broad range of topics stemming from the different areas of Psychology, examples include the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, the effects of day-care on a child’s aggression, how abnormality develops, the relationship between stress and illness, why we conform to others and research methods. There are two units in total and both of these are examined at the end of the Year 12.
At A2 level you will again study a broad range of topics, including explanations of why we sleep, what makes people aggressive, why relationships breakdown, how schizophrenia develops and how it can be treated, media influences on behaviour and research methods. There are two units in total; one unit is examined in January in Year 13 and the final unit in the summer of Year 13.
You will look at ideas and theories in psychology, learn how to critically analyse these theories, and develop coherent arguments. By the end of the course you should be able to understand, analyse and form opinions on theories, and present and communicate your knowledge in a clear way. You will also have developed a critical approach to scientific methods and evidence, and a knowledge and understanding of how psychology works and its role in society.
Studying psychology will give you lots of options for your career, especially if you are interested in working with people or in areas that need good problem solving skills. This is because it develops a number of valuable transferable skills. If you are interested in finding out why people behave the way they do or how the brain works then psychology could be for you.
'Studying Psychology has proven to be both extensive and beneficial, combining aspects of sciences and history into a subject that’s not only interesting, but also enjoyable. For those keen to learn about human functions and social behaviour, Psychology is amongst the best of the choices available.' Year 12 student.
'Studying Psychology at A-Level is brilliant! It has improved my perspective of how the mind works and how easy it can be manipulated. I find the study of Psychology thought-provoking, intriguing and enjoyable. Being able to delve into the human mind every lesson gives me something to look forward to every school day!' Year 13 student.