Curriculum Leader for Science: Mr A Nelson
Pupils at St Gabriel’s Roman Catholic High School achieve well in and enjoy Science. The department promotes excellence in Science, ensuring every student reaches his or her full potential in a stimulating, exciting and well-resourced environment. High standards of teaching enthuse students, encourage a positive attitude to learning and develop independent thought. With hardworking and dedicated staff we aim to develop pupils’ enthusiasm for learning, encourage a positive attitude towards Science and new technology, and foster a critical appreciation of the contribution that Science makes to society. As a Specialist Science College, Science takes the lead on many new initiatives and contributes widely to the extra curricular life of the school. Newly refurbished laboratories, ably supported by two technicians, ensure that the practical side of the subject flourishes.
Key Stage 3
Pupils study science for three one hour lessons every week. Aiming to deliver high quality education to every pupil through challenging and stimulating teaching and learning pupils follow a bespoke scheme of work that encompasses all aspects of the KS3 national programme of study. Creativity and rigour are the norm within lessons and students are encouraged not only to establish knowledge and skill but also to develop informed opinions supported by reasoned argument. Students’ literacy and numeracy skills are developed alongside their appreciation for the natural world. Fundamentals of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Psychology are all undertaken in this Key Stage. Key Stage 3 results remain consistently above local and national levels of achievement and the department is rightly proud of the progress made by the pupils
Key Stage 4
Pupils start this Key Stage within year 9 and are taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics by specialists. The department takes a creative and flexible approach to personalising provision for all students. Routes through this Key Stage are tailored to their needs, abilities and aspirations and we foster a positive consultative approach with parents and carers to ensure that the correct curricular choice is made such that all pupils achieve their very best. The success of the department in engaging pupils at Key Stage 3 has led to the demand and uptake for triple science increasing markedly over the years. AQA Biology, Chemistry, Physics and now Further Additional Science GCSEs all frequently lead the school’s results. Those students pursuing two GCSEs have also performed significantly above the local and national averages. A minority of our students also find success in Science through more vocational routes. Previous successes in Applied Additional Sciences have been built upon and the school now leads the way in the development of Pearson BTEC Sciences.
Results (A*-C) 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Core Science 60% 67% 73% 77% 78% 71% 88%
Additional Science 76% 64% 79% 79% 60% 80% 82%
Biology 80% 94% 79% 86% -
Chemistry 100% 97% 84% 92% -
Physics 85% 94% 87% 95% -
Further Additional Science 84%
BTEC Science 100% 100% 94% 94% 100%
In key stage three pupils are encouraged to take more and more ownership for their learning. They are supported in this by being given tailored homework plans that operate on a half-termly basis. Support for these tasks come in a variety of forms: all are supplied with CGP Revision guides to assist and develop their work; all are given access to scien80.wix.com/learningks3 to access quizzes, presentations and videos. Further help is also available from other on-line materials provided. For those that need extra help in school reference to homework clubs can be made.
In key stage four home learning activities also receive a great deal of support. Again, each child is provided with the appropriate revision guide for their course, whether in triple, double or BTEC science. All have access to tailored electronic materials, again notably through scien80.wix.com/learningks4 accessible through the school website. For those that require further assistance there exists a very well established and delivered programme of intervention that aims at all levels of progress.
To promote enrichment opportunities for all activities such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) clubs operate after school hours. The subject has good links with Holy Cross Sixth Form College: the school regularly sends students to compete in their events and science challenges; the college provides enrichment opportunities for triple scientists in year 10 with sixth-form taster lessons. BMAT courses have been organised for those students with aspirations of medicine, dentistry or veterinary science and external Science speakers from Universities and Higher education are regular contributors to whole school events.
The subject also makes an outstanding contribution to cross-curricular themes, notably within the school’s focus on the environment. ECO initiatives make a strong contribution to extra curricular development. Activities like ECO clubs and competitions and activities in form time have promoted environmental awareness and the school maintains an urban garden and classroom, know as the HENE Centre. A Science ambassador programme assists with leading family workshops and Science fairs in primary feeder schools, and in Science Challenge competitions held in our school.