Head of Department: Mrs Hackett
The Science curriculum aims to ensure that all Barclay Academy students become scientifically literate, who are able to recognise the importance of rational explanation, capable of scientific analysis and knowledgeable about the contribution that the sciences make to our theoretical and practical understanding of the world. It is designed so that foundational concepts taught at KS3 are carefully built upon over three years, ensuring students develop an increasingly sophisticated and specialised understanding of the separate sciences. There is a strong focus on retrieval practice and interleaving learning: each topic begins by explicitly returning to relevant prior learning and ends with an assessment and an interleaved test based on another topic. End of topic assessments are placed at the end of the unit to enable students to connect their learning to a set of practical techniques and real-world applications. All too often, learning about science involves a series of disjointed lessons and unconnected information that is difficult to remember or fully understand. As such, a key principle of this curriculum is that the sciences can and should be taught through meaningful narratives that enable students to form long-term memories.
At Barclay Academy, the Key Stage 3 science course spans Years 7, 8 and 9. Through our science curriculum, we hope to build up our students’ confidence in scientific knowledge and enquiry, with the aim of preparing them for their science GCSEs, and to encourage more of our young people, ultimately, to pick STEM subjects at A-Level and beyond. Students study units from each of the three traditional science options (biology, chemistry and physics), and will study a plethora of exciting scientific phenomena, including life cycles, disease, cellular structure, elements, atomic structure, forces, and energy.
At Barclay, all students study for a GCSE in science, beginning the course in Year 9. During this initial year, they study introductory modules in biology, chemistry and physics, providing them with a solid grounding in the fundamental ideas and concepts required for success in Years 10 and 11. At the end of Year 9, students then progress to either the triple science or combined sciences GCSE course, with students taking the former receiving GCSEs in each science individually, and with students taking the latter receiving two combined GCSEs. Our Year 10 and Year 11 students follow the AQA Trilogy specification in science. This rigorous course gives them strong foundations in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. Throughout Key Stage 4, topics explored include cells, genetics, chemical reactions, energy, electricity and radioactivity, alongside the global challenges posed and faced in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. They also spend time developing their practical skills of scientific investigation and observation.
At A-Level, we follow the OCR A specification in biology, a rigorous course that develops students’ understanding of key biological facts and concepts, and that sees them learn to appreciate their significance in modern scientific investigation. Throughout the two-year course, students will develop their practical investigation skills, consider core topics of biology (such as molecules, cells and enzymes), and explore fascinating areas such as biodiversity, evolution, disease, genetics and ecosystems.
At A-Level, we follow the OCR specification in chemistry, a challenging but rewarding course which helps develop students’ problem-solving and analytical skills through their accumulation of core chemistry knowledge and concepts alongside the development of their practical skills. Throughout the two years of study, students will explore key themes such as the elements and organic chemistry, as well as participating in practical investigations.
At A-Level, we follow the OCR specification in physics. This is a deeply rewarding course which offers students the chance to develop their knowledge of the fundamental concepts and principles in physics. Throughout the two-year course, students will explore topics such as atomic structure, forces and motion, waves, particles, astrophysics, and medical physics. They then use their knowledge of these concepts to solve problems surrounding topics ranging from subatomic particles to the entire universe. The course also involves the opportunity to develop a student’s practical and investigatory skills.