About the Science Department
St. Thomas More Catholic Academy has a fully staffed well qualified Science department. It is the biggest department in the school with 9 full time staff, 1 part time staff and 3 members of SLT who teach reduced timetables. The department is also supported by two full time technicians.
Lessons in the department are aimed at engaging all types of learner and the department are very keen to support the learning of students of all abilities. Our lessons have a variety of activities; practical work is included where possible and learning mats are used by all members of staff to ensure that lessons are both informative, accessible and fun.
The department has a reputation with students as being an exciting and safe place to learn and the vast majority of students enjoy their Science lessons and would describe Science as one of their favourite subjects.
The department consists of:
Miss. W. Smith (Subject Leader for Science)
Mrs. M. Sherlock (Second in Department, KS4 & Biology Lead)
Miss. J. Shufflebotham (Second in Department, KS3 & Chemistry Lead)
Mrs. R. Bloor
Miss. T. Caulkett
Dr. T. Cole
Miss. C. Dyche
Mr. R. Harvey (Head of Y11)
Mr. B. Humphries
Mr. D. Rankin
Mr. F. Waugh (Assistant Headteacher)
Mr. M. Williams
Mr. A. Wootton (Deputy Headteacher)
Mr. S. Humphreys (Trainee Teacher)
Mrs. A. Bussell (Science Technician)
Mr. J. Povey (Science Technician)
The department has eight purpose built laboratories situated in two science blocks. There are also three Preparation Rooms and a staff work room. All laboratories are equipped with an interactive whiteboard and the department has its own trolley of laptops which are regularly used to enhance the learning of students.
The Science Department aims to:-
- Provide an excellent Science education for all pupils in the school.
- Enable all pupils to fulfil their full potential.
- Foster an interest in and enthusiasm for Science
- Encourage and develop enquiring minds,
- Encourage the development of good study habits,
- Encourage the development of practical and investigative skills
- Develop pupil’s understanding of the need for safety in Science lessons.
About KS3 curriculum (Y7 & 8)
Year 7 are taught in form groups. This is to allow them to settle into the Academy and to demonstrate and develop their ability in the subject.
Year 8 are taught in two parallel populations X and Y. From Year 8 onwards, classes are set based on their individual progress.
From the very beginning of year 7 students are made aware of aspects of safety and the need for high levels of co-operation and teamwork, they are given opportunities to develop both practical and social skills.
The year 7 curriculum focuses on the basic key concepts and principles of Science which includes Forces, Electromagnets, Energy, Waves, Matter, Reactions, the Earth, Organisms, Ecosystems and Genes. The AQA Collins 2 Year Course is followed and teachers really use this year to get all students to a similar level of knowledge and understanding. Each topic is between ten to twelve lessons in length and is assessed with a written end of topic assessment in which a grade is given to the students for the content and quality of their work.
Year 8 builds on key concepts and ideas that weren’t examined in year 7. Students continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of Science as well as their practical skills. The year 8 curriculum looks in more detail at the topics covered in Y7.
A range of teaching and learning styles are used across the topics and there is opportunity for teacher-led lessons as well as independent learning tasks throughout the year, varying from topic to topic. In addition, depending on the topic being studied, practical work is included.
About KS4 curriculum (Y9-11)
Students either follow the AQA Separate Sciences or the AQA Combined Trilogy specifications from Y9 onwards.
In Combined Science, students follow topics in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and sit combined science exams at the end of Y11 to be awarded 2 GCSE’s in Science. Combined Science allows students more time to consolidate their understanding which we hope will enable them to achieve higher grades.
In Separate Sciences, students follow topics in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and sit separate science exams at the end of Y11 to be awarded 3 GCSE’s in Science, one each in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All three GCSE’s require a good understanding of the abstract ideas in science and contain a blend of science for citizenship, application of science and abstract science theories. Separate Science requires a real commitment to study.
Both routes offer grades from 9 to 1 but students may be entered for Higher or Foundation Tier depending on their progress. Both routes allow for progression to A level Sciences.
Students no longer complete Controlled Assessment for their Sciences, instead there is a list of “required practicals” that they need to cover in lessons. Questions in the written exams will draw on this knowledge and these questions will count for at least 15% of the overall marks.
Students are placed in groups appropriate to their needs to make differentiation more efficient, there being constant opportunity for pupils to move from class to class as their needs change. Students will study towards the foundation or higher examination using exam resources supported by the exam board.
Assessments and Examinations
Assessment is completed through teacher assessment of on - going work and through the common assessments which are moderated within the department.
Students are tested at the end of each module in every year group. End of year examinations are used as summative assessment in the summer term. These are used to provide an indication of a students’ ability to perform under examination conditions and to help assess an individual’s depth of understanding.
Sixth form students can chose to study for AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Students will be given weekly homework assessments or independent pre work from teaching staff. Further to this students will be expected to consolidate classwork with up to 5 hours personal study each week.
Science subjects are always a very popular subject choice at A level, partly because pupils have enjoyed their experience in previous years and partly because Science is seen as a rigorous subject, well respected by employers and universities.
Extra Curricular Activities and Clubs
The Science Department delivers a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) club. Students enjoy the challenges offered during these sessions and find that it aids their learning in both subject areas.
Some students are also completing the Crest Silver Award. They are researching and building model catamarans.
Regular revision clinics and drop in sessions, both before and after school, are offered to students who are preparing for examinations or who are underperforming.