Curriculum Leader: Mr A Nelson
Assistant Curriculum Leader: Miss L Freak
KS3 Coordinator for Science: Mrs C Vincent
Pupils at St Gabriel’s Roman Catholic High School achieve exceptionally 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. Pupils are given opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, participate in STEM clubs and activities, learn through exciting demonstrations and day trips whilst developing their application and critical thinking skills.
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, and Physics students are at a record high (75 in 2017) providing the best evidence for the students love of Science and science teaching and the demand to achieve 3 GCSE’s in Science. Those students pursuing two GCSEs have also performed significantly above the local and national averages for many years, as recognised each year by RAISE online. In 2017 all but 4 of our pupils sat at least 2 GCSE’s in Science. This figure is significantly above the national average and our outstanding results reflect 98% of the cohort.
Results A*-C (national average in brackets) 2016 2017
Core Science 72% (53%) 72% (48%)
Additional Science 70% (60%) 70% (58%)
Further Additional Science 66% (77%) 81% (55%)
In key stage three pupils are encouraged to take more and more ownership for their learning. They are supported through this by being set regular online questions through ‘educake’ that relate directly to their lessons. Pupils are given feedback on their strengths and weaknesses, and given opportunity to evaluate their work and improve it. Support for home learning tasks come in a variety of forms; all are given access to scien80.wix.com/learningks3 to access quizzes, presentations, videos and revision materials. 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 ‘educake’ facilitate the bulk of home learning tasks set. We encourage the pupils to take responsibility for their home learning and review work regularly. To aid pupils with this each child is provided with the appropriate revision guide for their course, whether in triple or double 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, including study support that runs on a Monday evening throughout the year.
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, known 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. We offer many opportunities for pupils to learn on field trips and in other educational environments.