Science at St Mary's is progressive, active and vibrant. Pupils are enthused, challenged and motivated through practical hands-on experience, modeling, role play, ICT and direct involvement with all three sciences.
Years 7 and 8
Pupils follow a broad-based KS3 programme of study that covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The course has a good practical-based foundation which challenges pupils to think about science in a variety of ways, assess their results and ask questions.
In the final half-term of Year 8, pupils form small groups and investigate practically any aspect of science which interests them, as a three-week project. This culminates in a Science Fair day - the pupils present their results to other pupils, staff and parents. We are joined by an eminent scientist who discusses his or her career and also judges the projects and presents awards to the winners and runners-up. The top two projects are then displayed in the Science corridor.
Pupils begin the GCSE science syllabus in Year 9, in line with other schools, to make sure that the syllabus is covered in sufficient depth. At St Mary's we follow the Edexcel Exam Board (Pearsons) specification and use the Pearsons text book. We do sell Pearson Revision Guides and issue workbooks but pupils are encouraged to look at a variety of different providers first before they purchase so they can decide on the style that suits them. These can be purchased online at reasonable prices from www.amazon.co.uk and delivery is usually within a couple of days.
In Year 9 pupils study Biology, Chemistry and Physics with one hour a week for each subject. Wherever possible they have a specialist teacher for that subject. In May, the pupils sit an annual school exam which is based on the GCSE exam questions they will sit in their final year. Students can either purchase or borrow the text book. At the end of Year 9 pupils can opt to take either Combined Science or Seperate Science.
The EDEXCEL GCSE provides a high standard of scientific content (including animal and human systems, exciting experiments and astro physics) combined with novel and interesting ways of approaching science. There is no controlled assessment unit but there are core practicals, which are examined in the written exam papers and account for 15% of marks. All exams are linear and exernal, and sat at the end of Year 11.
We offer two options:
- Combined Science (double)
- Separate Science (triple)
Both science options allow progression onto Biology, Chemistry and Physics at A level, although triple science provides more in-depth study into the subject giving students a better preparation for A level. Combined science provides two separate science GCSEs, as shown below. Each science is taught separately by a subject specialist.
For more information about the current GCSE syllabus, please download the latest St Mary's GCSE Options Guide:
Clubs & Activities
Annually we celebrate Science Week (in March) with a series of events for all year groups. In 2015, for example Year 7 met birds of prey, which came to school; Year 8 went to 'Fun with Chemistry' at the University of Essex; Year 9 took part in a forensic science day with an outside expert; Year 10 attended GCSE Live and heard talks by eminent scientists, including Lord Robert Winston. Revision sessions are also available close to exam periods.
There are a variety of science trips throughout the school year. Most years we have managed to secure tickets for the Royal College of Physicians Christmas Lectures. Year 10 visit The Crystal Centre, cable car and Thames barrier. Year 9 visit the Planetarium to coincide with the curriculum. Year 7 pupils visit science museum where they make an old-fashioned radio and see a rocket show which demonstrates Newton's laws of gravity. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting trips to bring science alive for pupils.
The science department runs a variety of lunchtime clubs, including Miss Tew's Animal Club and First Aid Club (a course run by Mrs Murray, a qualified trainer, leading to a certficate). Subject support is also offered to Years 10 and 11 twice a week.
Celebration of Excellent Achievement
We actively encourage pupils to produce work of a high standard, to strive to make progress and put 100% effort into all they do. Twice a year the science teachers nominate a pupil from each class they teach, who has made the most progress and effort during that term, to be a 'Science Star'. They are presented with a certificate and a badge by Mrs Vipond in assembly and their names are displayed on the science stars board in the science corridor.
We regularly enter competitions, both local and national including:
Festivals of Chemistry (Year 8)
Chemistry Mastermind (Years 9, 10 and 11)
Microbiology (Year 7 and 8)
GSK Chemistry Challenge (Year 9)
During this week many pupils are away on school trips, but for those who remain in school there are a variety of activities during the week including specialist science activities, such as candle-making and printing with flowers and leaves onto calico