A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Students need a good grounding in the essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. They should be encouraged to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena and to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
At SWCHS, we think it is important to treat the science curriculum as a continual learning process, building on previous knowledge and skills, to develop our students into confident theoretical and practical scientists. Working with local primary schools, we have used our knowledge of the KS1 and KS2 curriculum to develop an engaging, exciting and challenging KS3 course which is delivered to years 7, 8 and 9. It is designed to give all students the opportunities and support to continue to make outstanding progress and enjoy their learning whatever their scientific background. It is also vital that the KS3 course prepares students well for the increased demands of the new GCSE courses at KS4 and so we are keen, therefore, to introduce students at KS3 to the key skills they will need to perform well at GCSE. In year 9 we begin to teach a course which is designed to provide a foundation in key GCSE skills, many of which will be expanded upon later in the course. In year 9 students will begin to develop a portfolio ‘lab book’ of core science practicals.
Since 2016 we have taught the Edexcel (9-1) specification which retains the emphasis on engagement, challenge and skills development. There are two routes of study to enable students to either achieve a double GCSE award in Combined Science or a triple GCSE award in the separate sciences. Both courses can lead onto the further study of science subjects at A level. From 2018 we also offer a bespoke course from students struggling to access the demands of the GCSE curriculum and they complete Entry Level Science alongside their combined science route. As with KS3, it is important to look ahead to the next stage in development and we are keen to ensure that our KS4 courses give students the understanding, knowledge and skills necessary to realise their potential. Each year consists of a mixture of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and summative assessments will occur at the end of each topic.
At KS5, students have the possibility to move on to study Biology, Chemistry, Physics at A-level, and also WJEC level 3 diplomas in Applied Science and Environmental Science. Our A level courses are linear but students will have the opportunity to sit an AS level at the end of year 12, there is still a large emphasis on practical work which will give students experience of group and individual working. Common threads running through these courses will include engaging activities and assignments that will allow students to develop into confident and independent scientists, able to progress successfully into higher education.