Science encompasses a mixture of traditional and forward-looking teaching. Our vision is to share our passion and enthusiasm for the sciences with all pupils. Girls embrace challenge, experiment with the unknown and, above all, enjoy a practical approach. We pride ourselves on being hands-on, open and engaging.
The Science Department provides an informative and practical approach to this suite of core subjects, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It introduces girls to a glossary of new words and hones a way of rigorous thinking. All girls study science subjects in Year 7 - Year 11.
‘Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.’
Year 7-8 Science
Girls arrive in Year 7 with a range of science experiences from their junior schools. Our role is to work with the foundations that they have, extend their thinking skills and provide a safe, practical and stimulating environment.
An exciting new Key Stage 3 provision, which has been devised by the Science Department was introduced in September 2018. It includes a range of activities to explore science, lay down solid foundations and increase our maths focus in light of the demands of the new, more rigorous, GCSE.
Girls have a single teacher throughout Year 7, which allows the group to work with pace through each topic. Small groups enable pupils to work in a safe environment with a high level of teacher input. Groups move into three sciences in Year 8, and continue to develop skills of reasoning, enquiry, practical development and presentation.
Year 9 is a pivotal year for science, with girls embarking on the content for GCSE. The Science Department teaches and assesses using the AQA Trilogy and Separate Sciences specifications. In Year 9, all students cover the same content in Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Girls are provided with a range of tasks to help develop their mathematical and practical skills.
Challenge & Extension: There are plenty of opportunities to pursue science outside the curriculum, including visits, Science Club and attending talks by guest speakers such as a local vet.
Year 10-11 Biology, Chemistry, Physics GCSEs or Combined Science GCSE
‘Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet’
Girls can choose to study either Biology, Chemistry and Physics leading to three separate GCSEs or the Combined (Trilogy) GCSE which comprises all three subjects in slightly less detail and leads to two GCSEs. Both Separate Science and the Trilogy higher papers provide excellent access to A level science subjects.
Students are taught in sets to aid differentiation and lesson pace. We use the Oxford textbooks and the online resource, Kerboodle, as key reference materials for the course.
There is no practical assessment, but all girls will complete and evaluate a series of required practicals, which are then heavily assessed in the written papers.
Challenge & Extension: Pupils are required to actively participate and become engaged within their chosen science course by reading around the topics taught, watching the media for science related stories and documentaries and by researching and extending their subject knowledge online. The department's Twitter account @StGabsScience is used to share relevant news, articles, revision resources, science video clips and images. There is a range of extension opportunities to challenge the most able and to support those unsure of their knowledge, including visits and talks from alumni and guest speakers such as a recent talk on vaccines. Pupils are also encouraged to become involved in helping extend Science Club to the Lower School and to attend MedSoc meetings with Sixth Form Science Prefects.
Pupils may also be selected to represent the school at a variety of competitions. Recently, teams have entered and been successful at Reading University's Science Challenge and the TeenTech Challenge.
All opportunities are designed to engage and inspire pupils' interests and aspirations.