What is the universe made of? How did life begin? Can we overcome all diseases?
At De Warenne, we explore these big questions and others through our science curriculum.
The role of science and scientists in our everyday lives is of increasing importance. Scientists are detectives, developing the history of our Universe through understanding the paths taken to build the complex world we now live in. They are also explorers and pioneers, discovering more and more complex materials that we now grow to rely on in our modern world. Learning science will ultimately deliver very real benefits to our daily lives. However, there is something even more enticing to learning science; it brings people together from across the world to work collaboratively and push the boundaries of knowledge. You must be a global citizen to be a scientist.
Our department challenges student’s preconceptions of the world around them and we strongly believe that Science is a subject that has something to offer every student. Our passionate, high-quality teaching means that students experience engaging lessons and receive feedback that moves them forward every lesson. The curriculum is sequenced into ten strands, which form part of a curriculum narrative, which students follow from primary school through to their next steps in further education.
Science at De Warenne is taught in our recently updated school laboratories and classrooms, supported by our Science Technician, who ensures that teachers have the best resources available.
Mr S Belk – Head of Science & Associate Assistant Principal
Mr J Mehat – Assistant Principal & Teacher of Science
Mr A King – Second in Science
Miss J Emerson-Thompson – Teacher of Science
Mr S Hines – Teacher of Science
Ms F Carr – Teacher of Science
Mrs P Kulan-Pawlowska – Science Technician
In 2021, De Warenne Academy was recognised for excellence in science teaching and learning, having been awarded the prestigious Gold Science Mark.
Science Mark was created by STEM Learning to recognise and celebrate best practice in science departments across the UK. Schools and colleges receive the Science Mark when they can show that they are delivering inspiring lessons for students and demonstrate their department’s commitment to high-quality science education.
Assessor, Dr Yeasmin Mortuza wrote: “I was extremely impressed by the science department’s relentless drive to improve the school and do right by the students”. Whilst achieving the Gold Science Mark, several areas of the evidence submission for the award hit the Platinum grade, demonstrating that De Warenne Science delivers the highest standard of curriculum.
You can find out more about the Science Mark quality standard here: www.stem.org.uk/science-mark
Key Stage 3 Science
Our KS3 Science curriculum at De Warenne is designed to build upon the transition from Key Stage 2, following National Curriculum content. The curriculum follows eleven strands, which can be traced back to Key Stage 1 and on to the next steps in Key Stage 4. We develop key ideas met at primary school, such as energy and forces, life processes and chemical reactions. A core part of the learning experience at KS3 is developing practical skills, which are modelled for students with opportunities for students to develop the skills of enquiry and working scientifically.
We also have excellent enrichment opportunities for KS3 students, with a wide range of learning opportunities outside of the classroom available. For example, we have taken students to The Deep to explore the impact of plastic waste on the natural environment. We are also introducing opportunities to experiences areas of science beyond the National Curriculum, which are planned to include subjects such as astronomy, psychology, marine biology and geology. Using the expertise of the wider Trust, we can offer our students the opportunity to experience short programmes of study in these areas, with links to local scientific debates and careers.
Each year, students will sit two exams that are compared all other KS3 students across Delta Academies Trust. This allows teaching staff to make valid inferences on the progress of their students. Through novel assessment and feedback strategies, teachers provide regular and timely feedback to students to allow them to quickly address misconceptions and move their learning forward.
All students are provided with Knowledge Organisers at the start of each topic they study in science. This is further supported through our remote learning provision, which has developed significantly to provide continuous learning support for students outside of lesson time. Teachers may occasionally set additional homework that develops and reinforces other relevant skills in science.
Key Stage 4 Science
Our GCSE Science curriculum is taught over two years by subject specialist teachers to ensure the best outcomes for our students. We follow the AQA Combined Science specification as we believe this offers the best opportunity for our students to develop their subject knowledge, application, and analysis skills. Each topic strand is linked intrinsically to prior knowledge and skills from KS3 and builds in terms of complexity, skills, and application. Our aim is that all students should leave De Warenne Academy being able to understand and explain the scientific world around them and more importantly are equipped with the skills to problem solve and evaluate the ‘big’ questions.
The AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) specification is broken down into six separate exam papers, providing a balanced curriculum in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The full specification can be found here.
Assessment of students’ understanding of the curriculum is constant and low stakes. This is done through multiple-choice checkpoints and demonstrate tasks. The aim of this assessment is to feed directly into planning so that lessons are personalised to meet the needs of all students.
The specification includes 21 required practicals, which are delivered in class.
In KS4, students complete at least two assessments a year. As with KS3, these are compared to other students from across the trust, meaning that students are given a clear overview of their progress throughout the year. In Year 11, there is an increased emphasis on “trial exams”, which are high stakes assessments to provide clear milestones towards their final GCSE examination. Further details of the assessment cycle are released to students prior to each assessment, to allow them sufficient time to prepare.
In KS4, students are also set GCSEPod Assignments and compete to earn “Diamonds” through use of the Check & Challenge feature, providing an opportunity for them to further consolidate and enrich their learning. Teachers will set additional homework that develops exam skills, supporting students in preparing for examination.
We have a number of opportunities for students to further enrich their learning.
STEM club and trips
STEM club current runs Monday afterschool (2.30 to 3.30pm) weekly for Y7 pupils, providing exciting opportunities to complete practical challenges. The club is supported by a group of “Science Leaders” who are student volunteers interested looking to mentor and support other students in science. The club is very popular, so students must sign up in advance in order to attend the weekly session.
We have also recently received funding to support our students in attending more STEM careers and learning opportunities outside of the classroom. The department is aiming to host at least one opportunity a month, targeted at different groups across the school.
Y11 Revision is held afterschool on a Friday (2.30 to 3.30pm) before October Half Term. After October Half Term, Y11 revision will move to Monday afterschool. All Y11 students are invited to attend this session run by experienced and specialist subject teachers. For some students, this session is a compulsory activity to ensure that no one is left behind and every opportunity is given to our students to close gaps in their knowledge.
All De Warenne students have access to GCSEPod, an online revision resource that has online videos (“Pods”) for most courses in school. This is particularly useful in science and can be used alongside homework to consolidate learning. Teachers will also set specific work for students to complete at home (“Assignments”) that will support their learning in lessons.