Science is part of the STEM family of disciplines (alongside Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) which have a profound impact on modern-day life. The STEM subjects put an emphasis on preparing students to be successful in their careers and developing transferrable skill sets. The acquisition of knowledge and understanding of facts and principles is critical for the development of scientific literacy which is so important in today’s world. In addition, studying the methods of Science promotes important transferrable skills including the development of:
- the development of critical thinking
- effective verbal and written communication and the logical presentation of ideas and procedures
- teamwork as well as the ability to work independently
- the ability to analyse data and other evidence
- the ability to consider both sides of controversial issues
- a systematic approach to problem -solving and the embracing of failure.
Our aim at WSAPC is to re-engage our students with the knowledge and procedures of Science. Some students may have gaps in their learning journey because of ill health or dis-engagement from Science in mainstream school. Working within the framework of the National Curriculum, our teachers work individually with students to promote progress to their target grade and the fulfilment of their learning aspirations. We address gaps in knowledge, understanding and skill and misconceptions about scientific ideas by revisiting, reinforcing and building up to higher concepts from simpler, more fundamental ideas.
Practical work is an integral part of both the KS3 and KS4 programmes and is a way of re-engaging students by tapping into their curiosity and enthusiasm. We address the development of specific skills in practical work by adopting the ‘Working Scientifically’ skills as set out in the National Curriculum programmes of study for KS3 and KS4. To ensure that practical work is delivered safely, we have a Health and Safety policy that underpins all aspects of practical work, including risk assessments for all practical work. Students are encouraged always to work with care and to work safely.
In order to support students in their learning aspirations, we provide access to nationally accredited programmes of study at KS3 and KS4. This links in with the coverage of Science in mainstream settings and facilitates student reintegration. We have developed a curriculum framework for KS3 and for KS4 that provides a logical order for teaching the content of the syllabus. This framework is followed by teachers in the Centres which aids consistency and movement of students between Centres should that prove necessary. We have high expectations for our students and all are required to sit for the GCSE award in Y11 at either Foundation or Higher level. This can be in the single Science, Biology or we will work with students who want to study all 3 Sciences to GCSE level. We support exam preparation through the development and practice of exam techniques, targeted revision, and exam practice using past papers.
We include regular sessions with our students on potential careers and further programmes of study they may follow. These sessions are tied to the coverage of relevant topics in the curriculum and help students to see where their study of science can take them in the future: into specific scientific careers or further afield. Whatever their future choices, their success in Science will take them forward.
The curriculum lead for Science is Sue McMeeking email@example.com