Science at John Masefield High School is focused on students developing skills, knowledge and understanding. In lessons students are expected to ask questions and explore answers, drawing on prior learning, personal experiences and a willingness asked to test their ideas. Students are given regular opportunities to conduct a range of practical investigation work with a clear emphasis on discovery of key ideas and all lessons have an underlying theme of How Science Works/Thinking Scientifically. Furthermore, students are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility for their learning and to develop their resilience in dealing with some challenging questions incorporating scientific concepts alongside moral and ethical issues. This ownership extends to students seeking to improve their understanding and develop ideas and concepts over time.
The Science team is made up of a combination of subject specialists in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all of whom have a passion for their subject and helping students to succeed. We are fortunate to have eight well-resourced science laboratories, each room with access to interactive learning resources and whiteboards. We have two technicians working to support with the development and provision of practical activities.
Key Stage 3
Students in Years 7 and 8 have three hours of Science per week, year 9s have 4 hours per week. Students study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in groups either streamed by ability (in year 7) or set by ability (in years 8 and 9), with sets regularly reviewed and opportunities for movement between sets. Students are set regular homework, with written teacher feedback provided every 6-8 lessons. In KS3 all teachers take responsibility for a combination of subjects. Students in all year groups receive regular formative assessments in homework and classwork in addition to summative testing following key topics and will also sit an end-of-year exam.
Key Stage 4
In years 10 and 11 all students will to do one of two Science GCSE routes with the Edexcel board. This Science syllabus places its emphasis on ‘Working Scientifically’, which means not just learning theory/content but also understanding the practical side of science and its relation to the world in which we live. The Science Faculty has adopted the Edexcel course as it offers the greatest flexibility for our students and will also prepare students for the Edexcel A-level courses offered. Exams in both Combined and Separate Science contain a mixture of types of questioning including multiple choice, short answer and extended answer questions. The questions require students to recall knowledge and understanding, applying knowledge and understanding to both familiar and unfamiliar situations and analysis of information and ideas to; interpret and evaluate, conclude, improve experiments (practical skills). The two pathways that students can follow are:
- Combined Science studied across years 10 and 11, leading to two GCSEs, covering Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics. Six exams (two 1hr 10 minute exams for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are taken at the end of Year 11. This results in two grades using the 9-1 system. The grades given for overall performance on all papers. On Exam papers, some content from year 10 and 11 will appear on both exam papers, other content will only appear on one paper.
- Separate Science leading to three GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This includes a compulsory hour-long lesson after school every Tuesday and an increased volume of homework. In previous years we have had two classes following the triple Science course and the course has been oversubscribed. If this occurs students will be selected based on their care and concentration in Science lessons, commitment to classwork and homework and also on their attainment over the course of the year, particularly how they cope with two extended exams at the end of year 9. Two-thirds of the content studied in Separate Science is the same as that studied in Combined Science. The remaining third of content is partially made up of extended content on some areas and new content in others.
All students, regardless of ability and attainment are offered the opportunity to apply to follow the Separate Science route but should be aware that only a limited number will be offered places. Students wishing to follow the Separate Science course should tick the relevant box on the option form to express an interest. It is also important to note that students take this option they will have to sit a total of 6 exams at the end of Year 11 which are 1hr 45 mins long each (2 for each subject) so it may be less appropriate for those students who find extended assessments challenging. Students selecting either route will be able to continue onto A-level Biology, Chemistry or Physics qualifications. If students are unsure which route they should apply for they should speak to their Science teacher to or the Head of Science.
Key Stage 5
Science is extremely popular in our Sixth Form and students can study Physics, Chemistry and Biology, all of which follow the edexcel board to provide consistency from GCSE. Each course contains practical investigation work and students have the opportunity to gain the additional qualification of a Practical Endorsement as well as their A-level qualification in all three sciences.
A range of extra-curricular opportunities and trips are offered to students including trips to @Bristol, CERN, CHeMnet event, external speakers and numerous STEM opportunities.
The Interim Faculty leader is Hayley Parker to whom all queries regarding Science at JMHS should be made.