The ethos of the Science department at Abbey Gate College is based around the following points;
In Years 7 & 8, the pupils follow the ‘Activate’ teaching course which meets the needs of the National Curriculum and is fully supported with electronic resources for both pupils and teachers. This is a combined Science course covering Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics, that has a major emphasis on learning through fun practical work and builds on successful links with the junior schools.
In Year 9, the pupils are taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately by subject specialist teachers, also following the ‘Activate’ teaching course. Pupils explore many topics in depth through practical experimentation. The skills gained allow pupils to make an early start on the GCSE courses.
Towards the end of Year 9 pupils will be asked to consider one of two options for their GCSEs: 1. Separate Sciences: Biology (Single Award), Chemistry (Single Award) or Physics (Single Award) This option is likely to favour the higher ability pupil who wishes to pursue any of the Sciences at A Level. A successful pupil will end up with an individual GCSE in each of the three Sciences. If pupils decide to choose the Separate Sciences option, then they must study all three Sciences. As this course is aimed at the higher ability pupils they will be entered for both terminal exam papers in each Science at the higher tier. Controlled assessments from the previous specifications have been replaced with a series of set experiments that all pupils must complete. Aspects of these practical experiments will be examined in the terminal exam papers.
2. Combined Science: Trilogy (Double Award) This double award is equivalent to two GCSEs. Pupils studying this Combined Science route will cover a range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics but with less content compared to the three Separate Sciences. All pupils will be taught the higher tier content during their first year and most will then continue to be entered for the higher tier terminal exam papers at the end of Year 11. Pupils who get very good grades will still be considered for the A Level Sciences but would be required to catch up with the content not covered compared to the Separate Science awards. Pupils who find the higher tier content challenging would be entered for the foundation tier terminal exams at the end of Year 11. If this route is followed it must be remembered that the maximum grade achievable would be lower than the higher tier route, but would still be considered a ‘pass’ grade. Controlled assessments from
the previous specifications have been replaced with a series of set experiments that all pupils must complete. Aspects of these practical experiments will be examined on the terminal exam papers. Compared to the Separate Science route there would be less practical experiments to complete.
For pupils who wish to explore Science further there are separate Science clubs for the individual year groups, which take place throughout the academic year. Here the emphasis is on learning through fun experimental projects and the clubs are popular with both pupils and staff. The department enjoys the benefits of strong links with Liverpool and Chester Universities with visits that have included experience of astrophysics, forensic science and genetic engineering. Other visits include those to Chester Zoo, which is enjoyed by Year 7 pupils.
The Science department includes four purpose built laboratories. There are also three preparation rooms and a dark room. The laboratories are fully equipped, including fume cupboards, to teach the Sciences up to and including ‘A’ Level. ICT provision for the laboratories includes departmental wireless laptops, data projectors, interactive white boards and data logging equipment. The laboratories are supported by two very experienced and enthusiastic technicians.