The Science department is committed to an active learning approach and lessons have a strong practical investigative basis.
Throughout their time at school students are encourage to be curious and develop their own ideas so that Science is seen as an interesting, exciting and rewarding experience.
The Science department has an enthusiastic team of 13 specialist teachers supported by four highly qualified science technicians. We are housed in ten labs (including two sixth form labs) and have recently completed a refurbishment program so our teaching and preparation facilities are modern and pleasant to work in. We have excellent ICT resources in our labs and a first class VLE.
|Dr S Jones||Head of Science, Biology|
|Mr G Towers||Assistant Head, Biology|
|Mr J Niblett||Head of Physics|
|Mrs J Taylor||Acting Head of Biology|
|Mr S Brotherton||Head of A level Chemistry|
|Mrs Atkin||Assistant Head, Chemistry|
|Mr A Spring-Wallis||
|Mr P Godfrey||Physics|
|Mrs C Hearing||Head of Applied Science|
|Miss S Evans||KS3 Coordinator|
|Mrs D Richmond||Biology|
|Mr W Rothwell||Biology|
|Mr J Butler||Biology|
|Mrs L Thomson||Science|
|Mrs Sara Fletcher||Technician|
|Mrs G Cannon||Technician|
|Mr M Howarth||Technician|
|Mrs H Bocchi||Technician|
Key Stage 3
Pupils study the key stage 3 program of study in Years 7 and 8, supported by the Scientifica textbooks. Pupils receive front sheets for each topic so they know what will be covered and to help them plan revision. There are also extensive resources on our VLE and on the R drive. Pupils complete two levelled homeworks within each topic and a written test at the end of each topic. They also sit an exam at the end of each year.
All these results are used to track pupil progress and form the basis of setting Years 8 and 9.
Year 7 Units
|7B1||Cells, photosynthesis, reproduction|
|7B2||Ecosystems, digestion, health|
|7C1||Solids, liquids, gases, changes of state|
|7C2||Atoms, elements, compounds, separation|
|7P1||Light, sound, space|
|7P2||Fuel use and cost, energy resources|
Year 8 Units
|8B2||DNA & Inheritance|
|8C1||Properties of Elements|
|8C2||Chemical Reactions & the Earth|
|8P1||Electricity & Magnetism|
|8P2||Forces & Motion|
Pupils start their GCSE science courses at the beginning of Year 9 with a view that the majority of students will gain two science GCSEs. They complete six GCSE topics; two each in biology, chemistry and physics. Each topic is assessed by two graded standard homeworks and a test.
Year 9 Units
|9B2||Transport in Organisms|
|9C1||Atomic Structure & the Periodic Table|
|9C2||Chemical Analysis & Water|
|9P2||Particles & EM Spectrum|
Students in Year 10 continue studying GCSE science, they complete twelve topics: four each in biology, chemistry and physics. Each topic is assessed by two graded standard homeworks and a test.
Year 10 Units
|10B1||Disease & Treatments|
|10B2||Plants & Photosynthesis|
|10B3||Environment & Ecology|
|10C1||Rates of Reaction|
|10C2||Oils & Polymers|
|10C3||Earth’s Atmosphere and Resources|
Students in Year 11 continue studying GCSE science, they complete nine topics: three each in biology, chemistry and physics. Each topic is assessed by two graded standard homeworks. Pupils also do a number of examination papers as mocks and for practice.
Year 11 Units
|11B1||Cells & Cell Division|
|11B3||Inheritance & Evolution|
|11C1||Structure & Bonding|
|11C2||Electrolysis, Energy Changes & Equilibria|
|11C3||Acids, Neutralisation & Calculations|
Sciences are extremely popular at Balcarras with take-up far above the national average. Grades are very high and value added scores amongst the highest in the sixth form. We benefit from highly qualified specialist staff teaching each of the disciplines. At present, four options are offered at A level – Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Applied Science.
|Biology A level follows the AQA curriculum is run by Miss Taylor. Also teaching biology are Mr Towers, Mr Rothwell, Mr Butler and Dr Jones.|
|Chemistry A level follows the OCR curriculum and is run by Mr Brotherton. Also teaching chemistry are Mrs Atkin, Mrs Hearing and Miss Evans.|
|Physics A level follows the Edexcel curriculum and is run by Mr Niblett. Also teaching physics are Mr Spring Wallis and Mr Godfrey.|
Environmental Science A level follows the AQA curriculum and is run by Mrs Hearing . Subject specialists take different units and this year Dr Jones, Mr Butler and Mrs Hearing are all taking units.
Our sixth form resources on the VLE are particularly well used by staff and students and we would always recommend this as a first port of call for information. We are also keen to encourage sixth form students to use resources beyond the classroom and you will find links to science websites, online tutorials and suggested viewing for TV documentaries on the VLE.
We have a thriving Science Club for Year 7 and Year 8 pupils run by Mr Rothwell and Mrs Flavell. In September 2014 we started a Lego Mindstorm club for Years 9 and 10 run by Dr Sharp. We have a number of links with local industries and institutions and often enter pupils into competitions and workshops with them.
Our biggest event of the year is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) festival held in Science & Engineering Week. We have outside providers in to run workshops with pupils, scientists and engineers come in to work with pupils on specific projects.
We also run a series of lunchtime lectures. So far themes have included
- Working in Space
- The Science of Music
- Using Resources in the 21st Century
Over the years our guests have come from Magnox, GCHQ, Severn Trent, GE Aviation, Space Odyssey, AIS, Gamelan, West Midland Safari Park and others.
Many students from Balcarras take their study of science on to university. From Medicine to Aeronautical Engineering the possibilities available to those with qualifications in science are vast. Below is just a small selection of Balcarras students currently studying sciences at university.
- Sophie Ingledew is studying Veterinary Science at Cambridge University
- Mike Woodford is in his third year reading Engineering at Cambridge University
- Nicola Pearson is studying Medicine at Newcastle University
- James Courtney is reading Chemistry at Bath University