Science at the Castle School aims to help pupils build on the knowledge and skills they have gained at primary school. In particular we aim to help pupils appreciate how scientists work and the nature of scientific evidence. Pupils are encouraged to develop the skills necessary to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate practical work. Wherever possible, pupils are encouraged to apply scientific knowledge to their everyday lives and think scientifically. Staff in the Science Department, both teaching and technical, are committed to delivering a high quality curriculum which challenges students to think scientifically, and to investigate their surroundings through practical experimentation.
Key Stage 3
We use a two year Key Stage 3 curriculum (Year 7 and Year 8), which encourages students to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills. Students are also encouraged to apply knowledge to new and unfamiliar situations, and also to make connections between concepts that they have learned. There are SIX modules in each year, each lasting approximately half a term (ie six weeks).
Key Stage 4
Most of our Key Stage 4 students follow three year GCSE courses, based on the Edexcel Science 2011 suite of exams. Approximately half follow a Triple Science route, in which they work towards three separate Science qualifications. The remainder of students follow a GCSE Science course for the first part of their study, and follow this up with a GCSE Additional Science qualification. A small number of students follow a more vocational route in the form of a BTEC Science course. Assessment of KS4 modules is through written exams – 75% - and also through Controlled Assessment Tasks – 25%./p>
As with KS3, there is a significant focus in KS4 on How Science works, as well as the development of scientific knowledge, and students are given the opportunity to develop the skills needed to collect, analyse and evaluate scientific evidence through practical work.
In Science, we understand the value of making links between learning and student experiences outside the classroom. In Year 7, we have joint project with the Geography Department in which students visit a local farm to find out how the farmer uses science in his work. Year 7 students also visit a zoo or wildlife park, to look at animal adaptations, how animals are cared for and some of the ethical issues involved in zoos. We are currently developing several STEM based initiatives which will encourage students in both KS3 and KS4 to develop skills and knowledge, not only for use in Science, but also Technology, Engineering and Maths.