Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie
The Science department at Whitcliffe Mount is made up of ten passionate and dedicated teachers keen on helping students understand the scientific method and the Universe around us. Science lessons mainly take place in our eight brand new and purpose built laboratories on the 2nd floor of the school surrounding a large central preparation room. All of our science classrooms are equipped with Interactive Smart Boards and three are equipped with fume cupboards to allow us to demonstrate exciting chemical reactions in safety.
The Science department is led by Mr J Waddington (Director of Learning) and he is supported by two Deputy Directors of Learning (Science), Mr C Hutchinson and Ms F Sidat and Lead Practitioner, Mrs C Hanogue. The department is also supported by the invaluable expertise of two science technicians whose meticulous planning allows for a huge range of practical activities to be undertaken by students in all year groups and of all abilities. Students also benefit from access to our experienced and highly qualified science ETAs.
The Curriculum: Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)
In Year 7 we provide students a stimulating introduction to science. Initially, students will learn how to work safely using Bunsen burners and a range of hazardous chemicals before learning how to plan and conduct valid scientific investigations. Our students follow a modified version of the AQA Activate for KS3 scheme of work to meet the statutory requirements for KS3 and prepare them for GCSE Science.
In our KS3 biology lessons, students learn about the building blocks of life, vital life processes such as movement, respiration, reproduction and ecosystems and our impact on them. In our KS3 chemistry lessons, students learn about the states of matter, atoms, compounds and elements, acids and alkalis and chemical reactions. In our KS3 physics lessons, students learn about forces and motion, energy, electricity, electromagnets and energy transfer by waves. Students will also learn about the structure of the Earth, rock formation and the Solar System and beyond.
In Year 9 our students complete KS3 and start studying the GCSE science topics that overlap with KS3. Year 9 students have seven lessons of science per fortnight. Year 9 students are placed into sets based on their prior attainment at KS3 and teacher judgement.
The Curriculum: Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)
At Whitcliffe Mount School all of our students follow the AQA Science specifications at KS4. Year 10 and 11 students have ten lessons of science per fortnight. In Years 10 and 11 our more able students have the ability to study three separate GCSEs (“Triple Science”): AQA Biology (8461), AQA Chemistry (8462) and AQA Physics (8463). All other students study AQA Combined Science: Trilogy (8464) which covers topics in biology, chemistry and physics and is equivalent to two GCSEs. Options evening and parents’ evenings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss with us the GCSE pathways our students can take.
The specifications for each course can be downloaded from the AQA Website using the links below:
- AQA GCSE Biology (8461) Specification
- AQA GCSE Chemistry (8462) Specification
- AQA GCSE Physics (8463) Specification
- AQA GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy (8464)
In Year 7, 8 and 9 students use the biology, chemistry and physics pages of their Achieve Knowledge Organisers to complete their Achieve homework. Our teachers may give additional homework to support their students in their learning.
Year 10 and 11 students are currently set homework tasks set by their classroom teacher/s.
All students will be set a weekly quiz on Microsoft Teams. This is set on Friday and is to be completed by Thursday. Later submissions must be completed by the Friday following the setting of homework, otherwise a homework R&R will need to be attended.
Revision and support
Provisional examination dates and revision links for Year 11 for Summer 2021 are provided in the exceptionally useful document attached below:
Knowledge Organisers contain keywords, definitions, key notes and diagrams. They are not comprehensive, but do give a brief reminder of what the topic is about. Currently, we only have files for AQA Trilogy Science (sets 2-5). Below are links to knowledge organisers for AQA Trilogy Science covered in Year 10 and in Year 11:
- AQA Trilogy - Knowledge Organiser - Biology
- AQA Trilogy - Knowledge Organiser - Chemistry
- AQA Trilogy - Knowledge Organiser - Physics
Mindmaps show topic content and how it links together. We have uploaded mindmaps covering chemistry for AQA Trilogy (sets 2-5) and AQA Separate Science (set 1) below:
Note: only for use by current Whitcliffe Mount students.
Practice examination papers and mark schemes are available from AQA by following the following links:
- AQA Separate Science - Biology - Practice Papers
- AQA Separate Science - Chemistry - Practice Papers
- AQA Separate Science - Physics - Practice Papers
- AQA Trilogy Science - Practice Papers - Sets 2 to 5
The pictures below are links to the publisher website where you can buy the revision materials independently. Other excellent revision guides are available, but the CGP guides are the ones that we currently favour.
AQA Trilogy (Foundation):
AQA Trilogy (Higher):
AQA Separate Science:
Revision masterclasses (ACHIEVE) take place after school on a Friday from 2:45pm within the science department. Room 205 for Separate Science. Room 206 for Trilogy. These sessions provide students an excellent opportunity to revisit prior topics and ask questions about any part of the curriculum that they are finding challenging.
Required practicals replace coursework and our students will be examined on their knowledge and understanding of investigations completed in class. To help master this, Mr Mason has produced a document with links to videos available on YouTube that demonstrate and explain the required practical investigations. Download the document for Separate Sciences here and for Trilogy here.
Revision websites such as GCSEpod can make a significant difference to student outcomes. All students at Whitcliffe Mount have a subscription with GCSEpod which has tutorial videos and multiple choice questions covering all topics. Freesciencelessons is a YouTube channel with tutorials delivered by a subject specialist covering many of the topics in the AQA 9-1 GCSE. The videos are a free, high quality resource that we would encourage students to study, complete homework or the catch up on any lessons missed due to absence. The Science Break is another excellent YouTube channel and covers the topics studied in Years 9 and 10. Alternatively, my-GCSEscience is a subscription service that provides tutorial videos and practice questions. A sample of their tutorial videos is available for free on YouTube. Recently we have also been using the SENECA website with our students. Most of our students will already have an account and will know how to use it. SENECA provides teaching materials, tests the students on it and their teacher can follow their progress. Finally, students may also benefit by using revision apps. One such app that I have recently become aware of is 23equations. This free app helps students to recall and apply the 23 physics equations that will not be on their physics equation sheet.