“Science is great because you can get involved with cool experiments.”
“The best part of Science is that the teachers are really encouraging and if you don’t understand something you can go and ask them about it and they will help you.”
“The screaming jelly baby experiment was really good fun!”
As a compulsory subject it is important that Science learning is contextualised, so it is relevant to students whether or not they intend to pursue their studies of Science to A-level and beyond. We believe that the Science our students learn at Key Stage 3 and 4 will provide them with the scientific literacy they will need to be able to engage with scientific issues. Throughout our lives we are confronted with dilemmas involving Science and need to be able to make informed decisions.
So what do students need to be “scientifically literate”? We believe that firstly, they need to understand key scientific explanations for the world around us e.g. the particulate theory of matter, the solar system and its place in the universe, the germ theory of infectious disease. Secondly, students need an appreciation of how Science works, the nature of scientific data and how scientists arrive at explanations, and to be aware that data have limitations and how and why scientific explanations change. Most importantly, students should then be able to use their understanding of scientific concepts to make decisions about controversial issues that involve science such as the building of nuclear power stations or wind farms, whether or not to have a child vaccinated or whether to take part in drugs trial.
Key Stage 3
We teach a two year Key Stage 3 course based on the Oxford University Press Science Works Scheme. We believe this provides a relevant and engaging Key Stage 3 Science course which will provide students with:
- knowledge and understanding of scientific models
- working scientifically practical investigatory skills
- understanding of the importance and limitations of scientific data
- understanding of how scientific explanations are developed and tested by the scientific community
- understanding of how society makes decisions about risk
- scientific knowledge basis for Key Stage 4 Science courses
(Photograph by Ryan Maudsley, Settle College Student)
Key Stage 4
We offer Key Stage 4 Science courses from the OCR Specification B, Twenty First Century Suite of GCSEs. Students can follow two pathways:
Separate Sciences, where students gain three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and physics, or combined science, where students gain two GCSEs that are an average of the students’ performance in the three Science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
At the heart of each 21st Century Science option is the concept of Science for Citizens. This aims to build on the Science studied at Key Stage 3 in a way that will help students to engage with an increasingly scientific world. Students need a clear understanding of scientific concepts and of how scientific data is obtained, how reliable it is and therefore how far they can rely upon it. Students will explore these aspects of Science preparing them to deal with decisions such as what it means to ‘go green’, GM food scares and mobile telephone safety as well as new science-based issues as they arise.
Both separate Sciences and Combined Sciences provide students with the detailed scientific theory, models and ideas necessary to access A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This part of the course contains a considerable amount of practical work.
The new GCSE courses do not have a Controlled Assessment component, meaning that the whole grade is based on the performance in the examinations at the end of Year 11. As Science is a practical subject, there are questions about the practical skills in the written papers, alongside questions that examine the students’ scientific understanding.
Key Stage 5
Enrichment activities e.g. trips/visits/clubs
The Science department recognises the huge importance of learning that takes place outside the classroom. As part of this, we organise several educational visits. These include a post-16 trip to CERN, Geneva, and a KS3 trip to Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, where students can put their ecology learning into action. We also run several activities in school, such as activities during Science Week and STEM workshops.
Staff Names and Roles
Miss J Nutter – Subject Leader Science; Teacher of Chemistry and Physics
Mrs R Grimshaw – Teacher of Chemistry
Mr G Hudson – Teacher of Physics
Mr M Langan – Teacher of Biology and Chemistry
Ms F Morphet – Teacher of Biology
Ms S Cox – Senior Technician
Mr P Worthington – Technician
Primary students enjoying some Forensic investigations