What do we study in Science at Ridgeway?
Why do we study Science?
Science is everywhere in today’s world and is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. With advances in science transforming our society and our lives at an incredible pace, our curriculum is designed to build a pupil’s science capital. In the world in which we live this is an absolute necessity.
At Ridgeway Secondary School, we aim to engage all pupils by developing their scientific knowledge and literacy thus allowing them to fully understand and be able to discuss scientific ideas with confidence. The scope, ambition and rigour of our curriculum provides frequent opportunities for pupils to scaffold new knowledge on prior learning.
Our strong practical approach allows pupils to learn about realities of the scientific world and become professional researchers. The aim of our investigative approach is to promote the use of scientific method and inquiry thus developing student’s abilities to problem solve and make decisions, employing key knowledge from mathematics and technology subjects.
We recognise that Science is clearly a strong academic subject, however at Ridgeway we want to develop and change the way students think about and appreciate Science and understand it is much more than that. Our curriculum is designed to give students the opportunities to research ideas and present their findings together, to learn how to communicate and work as a group in a very diverse world. Our students have the ability to use a wide range of technical, experimental equipment to practically and physically explore and enjoy the wonder of science as another way to ensure that developing the whole student is at the centre of everything we do. This is why the Sciences have a vital role in delivering our Ridgeway 360° ethos.
Science programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
In Key Stage 3 we want students to begin to appreciate the importance of science in the world around them. At Ridgeway, we want our students to start asking ‘why?’ and ‘how?’. We want to develop an eagerness to learn and explain through scientific inquiry and curiosity thus developing the academic and social elements of Ridgeway 360°.
Our curriculum is designed to teach students new concepts and ideas, whilst also giving students the ability to investigate and carry out practicals to test these concepts and ideas in order to consolidate their understanding and gain the physical skills needed to execute experiments safely and accurately. Our curriculum is rich and varied with an equal blend of Biology, Chemistry and Physics to give students a well-rounded foundation of the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in life. Students at Ridgeway are frequently exposed to cultural capital through various forms such as, the teaching of historic Scientists, whose work has paved the way for new exciting technology and theories, as well as the important and contemporary topics such as the World’s fight against viruses and the innovation of sustainable development.
The knowledge and skills that students acquire throughout Science at KS3 we believe will help ensure our students are equipped to succeed in either combined science or triple science at GSCE.
Science programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)
At Ridgeway we aim for the transition between KS3 and KS4 to be challenging, yet not overwhelming. Topics are studied in greater detail than at KS3, with the requirements becoming more rigorous.
Our curriculum at KS4 has been thoughtfully sequenced to ensure that content is taught at a logical and optimal point of course. Topics are ordered based with thoughts such as prior learning, difficulty and alignment with other subjects such as Maths. Our curriculum meets the AQA science specification and is rich in both disciplinary and substantive knowledge, mirroring our KS3 curriculum. Students will develop the skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to apply this to the world around them. Our students will be able to think logically and critically and will understand some of the challenges facing their own, and future generations. Lessons are structured to provide students with specialist teaching to allow them to progress from whatever their starting point. Students are ability set to provide an appropriate exam tier and to allow for intervention and support to individual learners. Careers in science are explored more explicitly at KS4 to expose our students to cultural capital, as well as curriculum linked trips and experiences that are aligned to te curriculum taught. The development of theories throughout time is clear in our curriculum due to both its importance in the AQA specification, but also to teach our students that science has only developed through trial and error. The teaching of being resilient and mentally strong is important in Science due to new theories and concepts often being pushed back and disbelieved. We see resilience as an extremely important trait in becoming a successful young scientist and one that is at the heart of teaching and learning in Science at Ridgeway.
Assessment in Science at both KS3 and KS4 is formed through a variety of methods such as; report/extended writing, observed execution of an experiment from a method, research and presentation as well as the traditional end of unit assessment. This blended assessment approach allows students at Ridgeway to excel academically, physically and socially in science. Traditional end of unit assessments will be done using exampro questions. This rigorous approach ensures that students become familiar with the variety of question styles. Assessment also means we can monitor individual’s strengths and weaknesses and trigger any necessary interventions.
Homework is an important aspect of our curriculum, however it must be purposeful and effective. Not only does it offer the opportunity for students to consolidate their learning within lessons, it also offers a chance for them to enhance their understanding of key topics and fundamental Science skills outside of the classroom. At Key Stage 3, pupils are expected to complete one piece of homework per fortnight and spend between 30-60 minutes on this piece.
At Key Stage 4, pupils are expected to complete one piece of homework a week, with at least 30 minutes spent completing each piece. However, at certain points in the year homework expectations may be greater in order to prepare students for assessments.
How can parents and guardians support at home?
At Ridgeway we understand and appreciate the importance of support from parents and guardians. Assisting to ensure homework is completed is the first and most simple way you can support and improve the progress made by your child. However additionally, and possibly more important is to ensure a dialogue to highlight any areas or recent topics that your child may not have understood fully. This information can allow for effective intervention strategies to put in place to close these gaps in knowledge and understanding. Attendance at parents’ evenings is also a keyway to support your childs progress at Ridgeway, to ensure that all stakeholders are involved and working together to achieve a positive outcome.
Through the design of our curriculum, teachers at Ridgeway will incorporate effective revision strategies into their teaching, but we are always grateful for the support offered at home to reinforce these techniques.
Some other techniques that might help students when preparing revision materials are:
- Using images to connect key concepts and links together – such images can really help some students to remember content;
- Producing a mind-map to visually display key concepts and knowledge included in a topic;
- Obtaining a CGP revision guide to help direct revision before an assessment;
- Time your son/daughter with practice questions and past papers found on the AQA website and encourage them to be handed in to be marked by their teacher
Useful websites for revision:
Combined Science- https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/z8r997h
KS3 Science- https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zng4d2p
Online videos- https://www.youtube.com/c/Freesciencelessons
Students will be able to experience science in action with regular practical activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, where they can undertake scientific investigations to explain key ideas, develop their understanding and practical skills. The traditional curriculum is enriched within the classroom during lessons and science clubs, as well as externally at the Big Bang Show, International Space Centre and university events.