Science: Statement of Intent
At Christ the King we believe that every student should get the best possible education from the moment they walk through the door. For this reason, Science is taught, wherever possible, by specialists from Year 7. We believe that students should be encouraged to wonder and question the world around them, and the department use investigative work regularly to develop these skills in our students.
In Key Stage 3, students in Year 7 and 8 undertake twelve separate modules per year which are divided between the key areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In Year 9 the students undertake 9 modules allowing more time for accelerated learning and early entry to Key Stage 4. The modules are taught with an emphasis on investigation work, which focuses on the development of key practical skills as well as ensuring that the students build up their theoretical knowledge and understanding.
Assessment is continuous throughout each year and involves end-of-unit tests for each module, graded assessments for each module and an end-of-year examination to assess the full year which allows for a range of skills, including practical skills, to be assessed. In Year 9, on completion of the 9 modules and an end-of-key-stage assessment, students are accelerated into one of the Key Stage 4 GCSE pathways allowing maximum success here too. All assessed work is placed in a work portfolio, which students keep and take home with pride at the end of each key stage.
Students in all classes are challenged to access the highest levels so that students understand that they are able to move within ability streamed sets and gain a clear understanding of how to do this. All assessments are linked to the schools assessment ladder at Key Stage 3 (Entry to Diamond) or GCSE grading at Key Stage 4 (9-1). Students will receive regular feedback from their teachers and are encouraged from Year 7 to engage in this dialogue to gain understanding of how they can improve their work.
All students are involved in self-assessment and peer assessment and will be encouraged to improve all marked work and peer-mark others work to aid greater independence, as well as experiencing ample opportunities to discuss their work with their teachers and peers. In-class assessment will regularly include ‘challenge’ questions designed to stretch and challenge all students to be the best they can, as well as to identify particularly ‘Able and Talented’ students.
Students in all year groups receive ‘Literacy and Progress Trackers’ which they use daily to record key vocabulary and definitions and to record the achievements in the various assessments they complete.
At Key Stage 3,students are rewarded for their efforts in class and homework with ‘stars’ that are added to their Literacy Trackers. The students in each year group meet at the end of every rotation (6 times a year) when these science reward stars are awarded. At the end of the school year, all students receiving at least one star receive a certificate and for those with the highest number of stars, a special Science badge is awarded to recognise their continued efforts.
At Key Stage 4, students are offered a choice of two pathways for GCSE Sciences. The first option is the Triple Science Pathway which studies all 3 individual GCSE subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This is an intensive course designed to prepare students for Advanced Level sciences. Students opting for this course should have successfully completed the Key Stage 3 course at a minimum of a ‘Gold’ standard and will, when successful, gain 3 GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (AQA).
The second option is AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) GCSE. This course is not as intensive as the Triple Science Pathway but still allows students access to Advanced Level sciences in Further Education and covers the range of all 3 Science disciplines. Students at Christ the King are taught to the highest standard in all groups and given multiple opportunities in all classes to access the higher tiers at GCSE. Study Support sessions are available every Thursday after school and are available to all GCSE Science students.
Key Stage 4 students are rewarded for impressive efforts and attainment in their sciences via the use of certificates which are awarded at termly House Reward Assemblies.
Following assessment and reporting, students who are underperforming in Science are given visual shared intervention targets that are displayed on their folders and students are encouraged to continuously work hard to reach these targets, thus helping them move more quickly toward their target.
Students in both Key Stages are given quality homework tasks, the completion of which prepares the students for skills needed to excel in each Key Stage. Every unit of work a student covers has a corresponding Firefly page that can be accessed at home via the school’s Virtual Learning Environment Firefly to help with homework completion and revision.
Students are encouraged to consider careers in STEM subjects wherever possible and opportunities to provide outside experiences, for example using visits by BAE roadshow as well as an annual visit to UCLAN. This, as well as the use of outside speakers really helps to provide a more a varied understanding for students of all the courses and career pathways available. Each March, the Science Department also organise activities to help promote love of Science. Biennially, Key Stage 3 students are challenged with designing an experiment or presentation about any area of Science of interest which they present to their peers and compete for prizes. Subsequent year activities vary and are designed to centre around promoting community links and/or recent Science initiatives or developments. These have included a ‘Cluedo’ themed ‘Who done it?’ whole school activity where House Tutor groups solved clues using scientific principles to solve a fictional ‘murder’, as well as visits to local primary schools to host after-school Science clubs.
The department also run a ‘Zeppelin’ themed STEM event on an Extended Learning Days each year. This involves students working in teams to learn about the historical and scientific development of airships. The day involves students working in various teams to: produce a ‘documentary’, build model airship, learn to navigate a drone and practise interception techniques used in WWI. The event ends with each team giving a presentation and the winning House team receives a trophy. Events like this often provide opportunities to invite outside ambassadors who can again encourage students into the STEM related careers pathways available to them, and develop team-building, presentation, communication and leadership skills in students’ personal development.