The Science Curriculum undertaken by students at Alderbrook is ambitious: challenges learning, building on prior knowledge from KS2 to develop skills and understanding in preparation for KS3, the GCSE and A-level examinations. The curriculum is broad and balanced mirroring the National Curriculum guidelines with elements of cultural capital built into the Schemes of Learning. The transferable skills and content knowledge that students learn will enable progress within and across years, as well as supporting cross curricular links, enrichment links and preparing students for the world of Science
The Science department’s aim is to instil the love of science in all of our children through developing enquiring minds and curiosity. Students at Alderbrook are encouraged to ask questions to seek answers to scientific phenomena to gain an understanding of how things in the world around them work. We aim for our students to leave the lesson inspired and with a thirst to learn more. We inspire students to be aspirational and provide opportunities to learn the importance of Science in the real world, with the hope of developing attitudes and ambitions towards future careers in Science by lighting fires in the field of STEM.
We foster passion and aspiration amongst all of our students using a wide range of engaging lessons with carefully selected tasks including experiments to provide a platform in which all students can achieve, become motivated and enthusiastic about Science. We promote positive attitudes and Independence in Science and provide a rich programme of extracurricular opportunities which include Science Club, Solutions for the Planet and trips.
A spiral curriculum is used across KS3 and KS4 providing a continuum for progression for content and skills. The Scheme of Learning for each topic area is written as a sequence of lessons from Yr 7 to 10 and their first implementation has commenced from 2021 and 2022. Lessons incorporate challenge, support 1 and support 2 activities to scaffold learning and stretch the more able students. The lessons build on prior knowledge and skills embedding new aspects within and across the years. Staff use the lessons to provide a more consistent platform for teaching and learning, whereby staff are expected to tweak lessons according to the needs of their students. For Yr 11 staff are to design their own lessons to meet the needs of their individual students, a different method is used in Yr 11, to enable staff to judge the needs of the students and adapt teaching and learning to support students to attain the GCSE examinations. Year 10 and 11 staff are carefully selected. Use of rotations from Yr 7-11 to guide staff on timings of topics and end points to ensure staff meet end points consistently. Yr 10 set 1 and 2 follow the triple GCSE B1-4, C1-5, P1-4 and then triple sets are chosen for Yr 11 based on staff and student voice. The rest of Year 10 complete foundation or higher Combined GCSE, which is then continued in Yr 11.
Staffing of KS5 Biology, Chemistry and Physics has been revamped with additional staff taking on courses. Each Science is taught by a specialist teacher. Level 3 Medical Science course due to commence 2022-2023, liaisons with St Peters has enabled resources to be shared to support implementation of the course and standardisation of marking.
Raising KS5 biology has been a key focus: introduction of revision mats, more assessment opportunities, and a change to the sequencing of lessons to provide staff with accountability of whole units has raised attainment as seen by mock and TA grades.
Required practical assessments have been assessed by staff more easily using the new required practical books, and Biology passed the external moderation using the new format.
We are proud to offer three courses at Key Stage 5: Biology, Chemistry and Physics
Exam Board: AQA
Biology is concerned with understanding the wonders of life, from exploring the complex and diverse relationships within ecosystems to how chemicals create and maintain cells. Investigating life has led to a vast array of discoveries, deepening our insights and leading to opportunities to explore and potentially solve many problems facing our biosphere and humanity.
Biology covers a variety of life, populations and environment (which links well with part of the Geography syllabus), The wonders of DNA and genetics and how this impacts on the species and the environment around us, disease, control in cells and organisms (including studying various organ systems such as respiratory, circulatory and nervous), genetics, homeostasis and energy transfer (including a detailed understanding of respiration and photosynthesis).
Biology, Human Biology, Biochemistry, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Pharmacology, Nursing and Midwifery, Dietetics, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Environmental Science, Sports Science, Agricultural Science and Anthropology.
Minimum grade 6:6 in GCSE Combined Science or if separate sciences – Biology 6. English 6 and Maths 6.
‘In nature nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything changes.’
To gain a fundamental understanding of the processes and phenomena that makes up all materials and the foundations of life itself. Chemistry sits between Physics and Biology, since advances in all three fields are mainly reliant on chemical ideas. Humankind will benefit greatly from innovations in materials with properties tailored to new uses in fields as diverse as construction and medicine.
Fundamental principles that form the basis of chemistry such as atomic structure, bonding, periodicity and an introduction to organic chemistry. Equilibria, polymers, aromatic chemistry, thermodynamics, energetic chemistry and inorganic chemistry are also included.
Pure Chemistry, Biochemistry, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Environmental Science, Materials Science, Natural Science, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy, Chemical Engineering, Dietetics and Psychology.
Minimum grade 6 in all GCSE Chemistry modules. Minimum of grade 6 in English and grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics due to high content of maths.
‘I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.’
Physics is an exploration of rules describing the behaviour of matter and energy on every scale – from the interaction of subatomic particles such as quarks, to the motion of objects, to the evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe. Discoveries and inventions have transformed our lives, fuelling the modern technological revolution. In physics, the sky is certainly not the limit: the potential is limitless!
Mechanics (Newtonian laws), materials and waves, electrons and photons, particles, quantum phenomena, electricity and astrophysics or engineering physics. Data handling, use of formulae and numerical relationships.
Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Optometry, Geology, Materials Science, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Computing.
Minimum grade 6 in the Physics paper for GCSE Combined Science or Triple Science Physics.
Grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics due to high maths content and grade 6 in English Language.
‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.’
We offer a range of support for students both in school and for helping independent study at home.
During the year we offer opportunities to inspire and stretch the imaginations of our students beyond the curriculum, so we attend or organise a range of enrichment and enhancement activities and events. We take small groups to Science talks and competitions and run classes for year 6 pupils from feeder primary schools. Year 12 and 13 students have taken part in a range of University visits and masterclasses. We have participated successfully in the Solutions for the Planet Programme for the past 4 years with teams of year 7-9 students reaching the semi-finals at Aston University and the final in the Palace of Westminster, with one of our students being invited to judge the following year’s competition. Year 7 and 8 have had opportunities to join in trips to the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. Other events are hosted in school with visiting presenters including Chemistry demonstrations by Nick Barker from Warwick University. We also run internal competitions to coincide with National events eg. National Science and Engineering Week in March.
The GCSE courses we offer at Alderbrook prepare students for a range of post-16 science courses including A levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and Applied Science, and Science-linked vocational courses. The broad and balanced content, and rigorous demand of the GCSE courses provides a sound base of knowledge, and also the transferrable skills required by real scientists in their work and so highly regarded by employers in many fields. These include: an ability to approach problems in an analytical and logical way; an ability to work methodically and accurately; a keen sense of commitment and perseverance; a high degree of numeracy; and the skill to communicate information and ideas effectively.
Studying Science beyond GCSE gives students access to a wide variety of career opportunities, both in scientific industries and in scientific research in diverse areas including Medicine, Dentistry, Chemical Engineering, Forensics, Environmental Science, Genetics, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Engineering, Biomedicine, Astronomy, Electronics, Environmental Health, Biophysics, Metallurgy, Food and Textiles Science, Meteorology, Nursing, Education. Science graduates are also extremely attractive to employers in non-Science fields because of their high levels of analytical skill, excellent problem-solving and decision-making, team work, data handling and computing which are relevant to a wide range of graduate careers.
If they do not intend studying science beyond GCSE, students will still find that for most A level courses schools and colleges usually expect students to have GCSE level science qualifications along with English and Maths.
So whatever a student’s career plans – or if they are still undecided where their future lies – their Science qualifications are important in securing their next steps in education or training after Alderbrook.
Lucie Taylor, Head of Science