Science faculty

Head of Faculty: Mrs T Leeks.
Vision: To motivate and inspire students to understand the world they live in through learning science.

Students are extremely successful in science, attaining 63% A* – C in core science, 73% A* – C in additional science and 100% A* – C in triple science, in the summer 2015 examination series. Students match or exceed national averages in all science pathways.

Courses

Students across all key stages will have the opportunity to get involved with science events, particularly science week, throughout the year. The faculty also encompasses the delivery of the double science award (equivalent to two GCSEs), the triple award (three GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology) and Cambridge National Certificate in Child Development

Key Stage 3

Students will begin by studying the foundations all 3 sciences and learning the necessary investigative skills to allow them to be successful moving forward into GCSE. The course is planned to be engaging but with a high level of challenge to prepare students for the move to KS4 and GCSE science. Our students are very successful with 84% of the 2014-15 year 7 cohort making 3 levels of progress with us since joining OSA. This pattern is echoed throughout the rest of KS3 and is a big part in the success of our students at KS4.

We plan our lessons around our faculty vision by helping students to discover the importance of science in our everyday lives and its relevance to them, through fostering a love of learning science.

In Biology students learn about the structure of plant and animals cells, and gain valuable experience of using a microscope. They then build on this to look at specialised cells in organisms and how cells make up the different organ systems of the body. Focussing on how they work together in The Circulatory system, The Respiratory system, The Digestive system and The Musculoskeletal system. This unit gives students the opportunities to look at dissections of the different organs. In addition to this they will also study reproduction, classification and variation, microbes and a modern biology unit.

In Chemistry students study the key ideas in physical chemistry, focusing on the movement and arrangement of particles in solids, liquids and gases, before moving on to study the periodic table. They explore the patterns found within the table and some of the history behind it as well as investigating the properties and reactions of a number of elements from the periodic table. In addition to these topics they also study fuels, neutralisation reactions, properties of materials, the rock cycle, reaction of metals and a modern chemistry unit.

Our vision: to motivate and inspire students to understand the world they live in through learning science.

Physics begins with students studying the importance of energy in our everyday lives, how we use it and how energy is transferred, with a particular emphasis on electricity as an energy source and how to make circuits and the interaction of current and voltage. Students then go on to study magnetism, space, forces, heat, light and sound.

In addition to the 3 science courses, we aim to further broaden students’ education by teaching them additional courses in forensic science and first aid. In the forensics unit students learn a range of skills from lifting and analysing prints from evidence, studying blood spatter patterns and the study and identification of different pollens and fibres under the microscope. They put their newly learnt skills to the test by solving a crime by collecting, analysis and interpreting evidence from a ‘crime scene’. The first aid course is an exciting opportunity for students to learn a range of potentially lifesaving skills, ranging from emergency CPR techniques, use of auto-injectors to treat anaphylactic shock, as well as identifying and treating a number of minor injuries.

At the year 9 Options Evening, the faculty runs a really successful careers fair to demonstrate to students the wide range of career pathways they can follow depending on the different pathways they follow. This event helps to reiterate the importance of studying science and helps to highlight careers that students were unaware required a science GCSE/A level.

Key Stage 4

Students begin their journey towards their GCSEs by building on their knowledge from KS3. Like KS3 students can again expect to complete a number of practical investigation to help them with their understanding of scientific concepts. There are 2 different pathways that students can follow, with the majority of students following the additional science pathway where they will attain 2 combined science GCSEs. Some students, usually those who wish to study science at A level, choose to follow the more challenging triple science pathway, meaning they will attain 3 GCSEs, 1 in each of the 3 sciences.

Childcare is also offered as a GCSE option within the science faculty. The course is run over 2 years, beginning in year 10. The course is 60% coursework tasks with a 40% terminal examination. Students will study a variety of topic areas including pregnancy and preparation for birth, physical development of the baby, family and parenting and health and nutrition. Students following this GCSE option may choose to go on to study Health and Social Care as an A level, opening many career pathways within the health sector.

Key Stage 5

At KS5 we offer all 3 separate science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. See our sixth form pages for more information.

Extracurricular options

Students are given the opportunity to take part in a number of extracurricular activities throughout the year. They can take part in our weekly science club (recent investigations include the science of nail polish and ‘Alien’s Blood’!) in addition to attending a number of educational visits throughout the year, such as the Science Museum live shows and the Big Bang science fair.

Revision sessions are run after the end of the Academy day and, in the run up to exam season, during the school holiday periods.

Gifted and Talented Provision in Science

In the Science Faculty we are committed to challenging and assisting all students to achieve their full potential. Gifted and Talented students get a variety of different opportunities within the classroom and through extracurricular activities to truly excel.

Students who are identified as Gifted and Talented are added to the Gifted and Talented register where their progress can be monitored, teachers can easily check they are being appropriately stretched within their lessons, and they can be targeted for intervention relevant to them.

G&T students are invited to participate in the triple science programme for GCSE, which will result in them studying science to a higher level and they therefore sit 3 GCSEs rather than the usual 2 in science. This higher understanding of subjects allows students to move on to the A Level science courses with ease.

There is always a range of extra curricula clubs in science; at the time of writing, there is a general ‘science’ club on a Thursday lunchtime and an ‘art in science’ club on a Wednesday lunch, there are also multiple revision and top up sessions throughout the week both at lunchtimes and after school.

Students are invited to help with outreach activities when primary schools or their teachers come to visit. In addition they are encouraged to help with clubs and occasions such as ‘Science Week’.

Speakers often come into the Academy to give specialist sessions; recent visitors have included an engineer who is part of the team building the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car, a Physicist from Sizewell Power Station and a pilot from the Royal Air Force.

Academically Most Able students have been invited on trips such as the Physics At Work Conference at Cambridge University Cavendish Labs, which had a career focus for the KS4 students, and the Big Bang Eastern Fair at Duxford Imperial War Museum focusing on applications of science in technology, aimed at Key Stage 3 students. Every year OSA also sends a team of 4 students from year 9 to compete in the Physics Olympiad Suffolk Event.

If you have any questions about Academically Most Able provision in science please contact the Head of Faculty, Mrs Leeks.