Science Teaching Staff
- Dr B McCutcheon – Curriculum Leader
- Mr P Hartley – 2nd in Department
- Mrs E Foulsham – Lead Practitioner
- Miss S Shone
- Miss L James
- Mr J Sparkes
- Miss V Thomas
- Miss C Porter
- Mr J Chilcott
Why Science is Important
Science is a core subject in the curriculum for all students. Our intention at Wey Valley Academy is to offer all pupils, regardless of prior knowledge the opportunity to develop practical, logical and critical thinking skills through a mixture of research, experimental and teacher led learning.
Our hope is that our carefully structured curriculum will raise awareness of the world around our students and the impact of human activity on it, encouraging them to consider and discuss the physical, theoretical, ethical and moral issues around human choices.
Practical work is fundamental to the science curriculum, enabling students to consolidate their knowledge and understanding as well as develop their investigative, analytical and practical skills. Practical work aids our students in devising and investigating statements which can be tested, leading to valid data which can be carefully analysed, interpreted and evaluated for accuracy, precision, reproducibility and validity. These skills are highly transferable and will be of benefit to our students regardless of their choices post 16.
Our science curriculum at Wey Valley Academy is intended to develop the holistic skills of a scientist and build confidence in our students own ability which will be required for further study or jobs, not only in STEM subjects, but also within wider career fields.
Teaching and Learning in Science
The science curriculum at Wey Valley Academy has a helical structure with a heavy emphasis on utilising concrete knowledge as the foundations for higher level content. This is broad and balanced across the three main disciplines. We believe regular retrieval and a mastery approach is critical in learning both disciplinary and substantive knowledge within science.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is an academically ambitious curriculum, which will challenge students and provide a rich and empowering education for all. It is a cumulative and builds upon learning, allowing pupils to make deep connections across the ‘big ideas’ of science. Within units and across the whole curriculum, knowledge and skills are positioned to build on what has come before.
It has been Designed to develop strong scientific literacy and correct use of terminology, to encourage students to think, act, analyse and perform in the ways that science experts do, in ways that transcend the requirements of terminal examinations.
The curriculum is structured to help students to remember, not simply encounter, the core knowledge that they learn in line with the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.
- Pre-unit quizzes at the start of each unit, allowing teachers to identify gaps and diagnose misconceptions from previous learning
- Diagnostic mastery quizzes at the end of each unit addressing the key knowledge and skills, allowing teachers to diagnose misconceptions and gaps. These include a long answer section with guidance for formative marking, as well as suggested fix-it activities to address gaps and misconceptions
- Termly and annual diagnostic formative assessments to track progress
|The big ideas of our Key Stage 3 curriculum|
|Cells are alive||Structures determine properties||Forces predict motion|
|Bodies are systems||Reactions rearrange matter||Fields product forces|
|Organisms are interdependent||Earth systems interact||Energy is conserved|
|Ecosystems recycle resources||Electricity transfers energy|
|Characteristics are inherited||Radiation transfers energy|
|Species show variation|
Key Stage 4
The KS4 scheme of work follows the AQA sciences specification. For most students this leads to a double GCSE award in Combined science (Trilogy). Some students follow the AQA Separate (Triple) GCSE biology, chemistry and physics specifications, leading to three separate GCSE qualifications. Students are able to select separate science as an option, and a final decision is made on depending interest and prior attainment in Key Stage 3.
The science pathway students chose at KS4 in no way hinders a student’s opportunities within STEM fields within higher education or vocationally.
Practical work is at the heart of the AQA specification, with activities designed to support and consolidate concepts, develop scientific thinking and investigative skills. In combined science, the content spans 24 units whilst separate science covers 25 units across all 3 subjects. Students are taught in sets and aim towards achieving grades 1-5 (foundation) or 4-9 (higher). Each student’s tier of entry is carefully considered, using target grades and progress pathways. Our intention when doing this is to ensure every student gains the highest grade they are capable of.
At KS4, internal assessments are in the form of interleaved end of topic independent tasks, assessed practical assignments, low stakes quizzing, extended writing pieces and end of topic examinations. KS4 students also complete mock GCSE examinations in Year 10 and 11. All external assessment is through terminal examinations at the end of year 11. All students complete two papers in biology, chemistry and physics, each examining different content covered throughout the two-year GCSE period. Trilogy examinations have a duration of 75 minutes whilst separate science examinations are 95 minutes.
The Science department offer a number of extra-curricular opportunities to interest students during their time at Wey Valley. Some current and recent examples include:
- KS3 Science club
- STEM trip to Big Bang
- Homework club
- Weekly after-school intervention support sessions for year 11 from November onwards