Science isn’t only about new inventions, new technology and new medicines. Science is important because it satisfies our curiosity about the world we live in. It is the best way we know of to banish ignorance with knowledge. Nearly every aspect of human life has been changed by science: health, food, and war to name a few. Without science, there would be no computers, no internet, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this! At the Science department at Alder we believe that every student has the right to gain an understanding of the importance of science and its relevance to their lives. We regard it as a privilege to be able share our passion for science with our students. The Science department comprises of 8 teachers (including our Head teacher and an Assistant Head teacher), and 2 experienced technicians. Each member of the department is incredibly dedicated and has a real passion for science.

During Years 7, 8 and the first term of Year 9 emphasis is placed on allowing students to explore for themselves. Students are given the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through a practical based scheme of work which places emphasis on the importance of analytical and critical scientific thinking. Classes are taught in ability sets. This facilitates effective differentiation and helps us to provide each student with a programme of study which reflects their individual needs. The scheme of work is split into the following individual topics:

Acids and Alkalis, Cell Organisation, Energy, Particle Model, Reproduction, Forces, Mixtures and Separation, Atoms, Elements and Molecules, Ecosystems, Chemical Reactions, Nutrition and Respiration, Metal Reactions, Classification, Electricity and Magnetism, Materials from Rocks, Plants, Light, Genes.

Each topic has associated teaching software such as video clips, interactive roleplay activities, informative presentations, scene investigation activities and web links. We appreciate just how much students enjoy practical investigations and demonstrations and include them in our lessons regularly. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop their ICT skills by using data logging equipment and the departmental suite of laptops.

During the second two terms of Year 9 students complete Biology, Chemistry and Physics transition units in order to develop their skills in preparation for the demands of the GCSE course. The units focus on the development of maths and investigative skills.

We offer two different GCSE pathways during Years 10 and 11, enabling us to provide every student with an option which is appropriate to their ability and aspirations. The majority of students will study towards 2 Combined Science GCSEs. GCSE students follow the Edexcel GCSE Combined Science syllabus. This qualification uses contemporary, relevant contexts of interest to students and focuses on scientific explanations and models. It gives students an insight into how scientists develop scientific understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit.

Topics include: Cells and Control, Exchange and Transport in Animals, Ecosystems and Material Cycles, Atomic Structure, Acids and Alkalis, Electrolytic Processes, Forces and Motion, Waves, Electricity and Circuits.

The more able students are given the opportunity to study separate Science GCSEs. They can work towards separate Biology, Physics and Chemistry GCSE qualifications. Each provides an opportunity for further developing an understanding of science explanations, how science works and the study of elements of applied science, with particular relevance to professional scientists.

Additional topics covered include:
Astronomy, Static electricity, Hydrocarbons and Qualitative Analysis.

The Science department is committed to raising attainment and teachers use a number of strategies to achieve this goal. We use diverse teaching and learning techniques, offer revision booster classes for GCSE students prior to Year 10 and Year 11 exams, regularly use praise, rewards and positive reinforcement and offer the following extra-curricular enrichment activities:

  • Year 7 visit to Chester Zoo
  • Year 7 Wild Roadshow visit
  • Year 7 ‘Polestar Planetarium’ visit to school
  • Year 8 Study Experience to Disneyland Resort Paris
  • Year 9 visit to ‘GCSE Science Live!’ Event
  • Year 9 UK radiological conference visit
  • Year 10 visit to Heysham nuclear power station
  • Year 11 residential trip to CERN in Geneva