"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 eleven 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 modern and spacious 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 Mr Mason 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 Mrs S Dadhiwala an experienced and highly qualified faculty teaching assistant.
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.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)
At Whitcliffe Mount School all of our students follow the AQA Science specifications at KS4.
Our Separate Science students are working towards being awarded three separate GCSEs: AQA Biology (8461), AQA Chemistry (8462) and AQA Physics (8463). Our students studying AQA Combined Science: Trilogy (8464) are working towards being awarded two GCSEs in science.
Options evening and parents evenings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss with us the GCSE pathways our students can take.
Our students studying AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) have 9 hours of lessons per fortnight to support their completion of two GCSE qualifications. These grades are based solely on their average results from 6 examinations, each 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
Our students studying AQA Separate Science have 14 hours of lessons per fortnight to support their completion of three separate GCSEs. Their grade is based solely on the outcome of 6 examinations, each 1 hour and 45 minutes long.
Students in KS3 should receive a blue homework booklet roughly every two weeks. Each booklet will include information to help students complete the task successfully.
At KS4, students will alternate between a blue homework booklet and work on SENECA, an online learning platform.
Science homework club provides support to students struggling to complete homework in room 201 at 2:45pm on a Tuesday.
Revision and support
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
However, this website is easier to navigate and includes many additional resources:
- GCSE Combined Science Revision | New 9-1 Course | MME (mmerevise.co.uk)
- GCSE Biology Revision | Worksheets | Biology Past Papers (mmerevise.co.uk)
- GCSE Chemistry Revision | Worksheets | Past Papers | MME (mmerevise.co.uk)
- GCSE Physics Revision | Worksheets | Physics Past Papers (mmerevise.co.uk)
There are many high-quality revision guides available to support students with their AQA Science GCSEs. We currently favour those published by CGP that include revision notes, questions and answers. If you do plan on purchasing these independently, then check whether your child is doing AQA Combined Science or AQA Separate Science and whether they are entering higher tier or foundation tier.
- GCSE Combined Science AQA Foundation Complete Revision & Practice w/ Online Ed, Videos & Quizzes | CGP Books
- GCSE Combined Science AQA Higher Complete Revision & Practice w/ Online Ed, Videos & Quizzes | CGP Books
- GCSE Biology AQA Complete Revision & Practice includes Online Ed, Videos & Quizzes | CGP Books
- GCSE Chemistry AQA Complete Revision & Practice includes Online Ed, Videos & Quizzes | CGP Books
- GCSE Physics AQA Complete Revision & Practice includes Online Ed, Videos & Quizzes | CGP Books
Revision masterclasses (ACHIEVE) take place after school on a Wednesday from 2:45pm within the science department. The class teacher will host the ACHIEVE session for their own class. 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.
Freesciencelessons is a YouTube channel with tutorials prepared and delivered by an experienced subject specialist covering all of the topics in the AQA 9-1 Science 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. For biology, I particularly like EmmaTheTeachie’s YouTube channel. Many students and teachers also recommend Cognito’s YouTube channel which also covers GCSE maths.
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.