The science curriculum at The Oldershaw School is designed create knowledgeable, scientifically literate learners who recognise science in a variety of natural and industrial phenomena around them. Learners should be able to engage with the world around them by explaining what is occurring in terms of scientific processes, allowing them to predict how things will behave and analyse the causes and results of a range of natural and industrial phenomena. The National Curriculum programme of study is used as the foundation of our curriculum, it is sequenced to ensure that the main scientific concepts grow in the minds of our learners. We provide high-quality learning experiences, which aim to reveal the breadth and depth of our rich science curriculum. Well planned lessons address the key misconceptions and focus on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer scientific questions. Through practical work, scientific skills are developed, including the ability to hypothesise, interpret, analyse, conclude, and evaluate. Throughout this, we strive to deliver a personalised curriculum that considers the starting points of all our learners scaffolds their understanding so that they can make progress.
The Science Department aims to ensure that all learners:
The Year 7 journey begins with an introductory module developing the skills of students in a practical capacity. Highlighting the safety in labs, students have the chance to use some of the scientific equipment. Pupils move on to look at Forces and Motion this builds on their KS2 knowledge and is the first concept required to build a firm foundation for their science knowledge and understanding. The year 7 students will get their first taste of Chemistry when they study Particles, here they find models to explain material behaviours like changes of state. We move onto students being introduced to the principles of energy stores and transfers. Pupils will look at renewable and non-renewable energy. At the end of this term, we introduce the discipline of Biology when we study Cells, Tissues and Organs. Here we introduce the building blocks of life and use them to build the tissues and organs which make the diversity of animal and plant life around us. We then move on to the chemistry topic Reactions and pupils will be introduced to the ideas of chemical and physical reactions. Pupils will be able to determine if a reaction has taken place. There is lots of practical work which the pupils should be skilful enough to carry out themselves. The final unit of the year is Reproduction, where pupils do not just find out about the formation of new life but also consider the changes that will happen to their bodies in puberty.
The Year 8 journey begins with an introductory unit developing practical skills. After reminding them about safety in labs, the students then carry out an investigation. We then move on to learn about how our bodies work to perform vital functions. Students will discover how food is digested and what we must consume to keep ourselves fit and healthy. Pupils move on to look at Atoms and the Periodic table. Here pupils find out about all the elements that make up the building blocks of chemistry. We then move on to pupils looking at the properties and uses of waves with a focus on light and space. Students will discover how humans see and the structures involved. They then move onto the electromagnetic spectrum and the uses and dangers of the waves all around us in the universe. Pupils then investigate how electricity flows through circuits and is used to power the devices in our homes. They will have the opportunity to design and build their own circuits to test ideas and theories in physics. We end the year with an examination of how the oxygen and glucose we extract from our environments is combined to release the energy we need to survive. Students will also look at how our bodies react to exercise. The last unit of the year is Reactivity, which allows pupils to consider how elements interact with each other in similar situations. This allows students to find patterns in the reactions they study.
The Year 9 journey begins with a study of the rate of chemical reactions. Students will then investigate reaction rates and energy changes in reactions. Students will then complete their study of Waves by considering how Sounds are made and heard. Finally, this term pupils will study plants and photosynthesis to learn why plants are called producers and how they are adapted for photosynthesis within their surroundings. We then move on to using Newton’s theories about forces to describe how objects interact with each other. They then investigate the stretching of a spring and how fluids behave under pressure. We continue our studies looking at the structure of the earth, and how it has changed over time. Pupils will learn about the different types of rocks present in the world. We conclude KS3 with Ecology and Variation, we learn about Ecosystems and are introduced to food chains and food webs. Finally, pupils are introduced to the idea of variation, and how genes are passed on through generations. We end the year with students, using the knowledge that they have developed in KS3, to advance the scientific skills and understanding into KS4. Pupils will be introduced to their first GCSE topics, they will look cells in more depth and the structure and function of specialised cells. In Chemistry they will look at the structure of atoms in more depth and identifying sub atomic particles. In physics they will further their understanding of energy and the transfer pathways involved.
The Year 10 journey begins in Biology (B1) with students looking at cells, and how they are specialised to do their jobs, they will look at how substances are transported and exchanged in organs. Biology (B2) looks at how enzymes break down food, the main organ systems of the body. In Chemistry (C1) pupils will look at the basic atomic structure and how this relates to the periodic table. In Chemistry (C2) this investigates the ways that atoms bond together. In Physics (P1) students will discover how energy is stored in systems and how the energy is used. Students also study the theories that underpin electrical circuits (P2) and observe them in action as they build and experiment with electrical circuits. We then move on to Biology (B3), where students look at disease communication and the development of vaccines and drugs. Biology (B4) investigated bioenergetics focusing on photosynthesis and respiration in plants and animals. Chemistry (C3) allows students to develop the mathematical skill in Chemistry, using calculations to enable them to calculate conservation of mass and concentrations of different solutions. In addition, pupils will investigate electrolysis and the reactions of metals. In Physics (P3) pupils develop their knowledge of the particle theory, investigating changes of state and latent heat. Pupils will also be introduced to nuclear equations and the principles of half-life. We end the year with, pupils in biology looking at homeostasis and how the body maintains internal stability. Pupils will develop their knowledge of the nervous system and the endocrine system. Pupils will look at the DNA, inheritance, and evolution. In Chemistry pupils will learn about how reactions happen and how the rate of reactions is measured and changed, completing core practical to calculate rate of reaction. In Physics pupils will complete the forces topic, introducing Newtons laws and applying them to situations. They will undertake core practical to calculate reaction times.
The year 11 journey begins with students completing the inheritance module, students will learn how to explain the role of selective breeding and how genetic engineering is carried out. Students get their first taste of Organic chemistry where they investigate Carbon Chemistry and the role that hydrocarbons have on day-to-day life. Students will complete chemical tests to identify unknow common gasses. In physics the students will complete the waves topic, investigating different types of wave. They are introduced to the Electromagnetic spectrum and some of the uses and dangers of radiation. We then move on to ecology in biology, explain the role of biodiversity on ecosystems. The students will complete a core practical to sample different species of plants and animals. This topic looks at the developing environment and how global warming is affecting or planet. In chemistry the students will look at how the Earth’s atmosphere has developed and how it is becoming polluted. Students will look at evaluating their carbon footprint and make recommendations to the future. In physics students will investigate magnetism and the role of electromagnets and how they can be adapted to certain situations. We end the year with a comprehensive revision programme where students will have chance to recap and retrieve knowledge that has been taught over the two years. Students will prepare for the exams completing past papers and revision activities so they are ready for the summer GCSE’S.
The Year 12 journey begins with various key biological molecules such as carbohydrates and proteins, before discussing polymers of biological molecules such as Deoxyribonucleic acid and its primary structure. Simultaneously, they will begin leaning about the ultrastructure of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, including functions of key organelles and transport across membranes. They will then proceed to learn about cell recognition molecules and how the immune system recognises and responds to pathogens intent on causing harm. We then move on to looking at surface area to volume ratio and its importance in various biological processes. Students will develop their understanding of these key processes which include, absorption and digestion and the role of co-transporters in the absorption of glucose in the ileum of the small intestine, as well as how haemoglobin is able to bind to oxygen in the lungs and unbind at key respiring tissues around the body. They will also build on their knowledge of DNA from term 1, to understand the processes of transcription and translation which are vital to all biological processes. We end the year with finalising any key content that may have been missed or not fully understood by identifying key gaps in knowledge through use of formative assessment and providing bespoke feedback to feedforward to ensure a thorough understanding of more challenging concepts with the intention of students being able to explain and apply these concepts to unfamiliar situations and problems that they may encounter in exams. This will provide the students with a good foundational knowledge to build on when beginning even more challenging topics in year 13.
The Year 13 journey begins with understanding the light dependent and light independent reaction of photosynthesis as well as molecules such as NADP before discovering the key stages of aerobic and anaerobic respiration which include Glycolysis, the link reaction, the Krebs cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation. Simultaneously, they build a knowledge from GCSE about the inheritance of genes and learn how to carry out di-hybrid crosses for a range of different genes including co-dominance and polygenic traits as well as the process of evolution by natural selection and genetic drift. We then move on to nervous coordination, including synaptic transmission and nerve cells triggering action potential to send signals from one area of the body to another. Students will also understand the responses to internal and external stimuli and key examples of homeostasis in the body. At the same time, they will learn about the different types of mutations and how these mutations can affect the primary structure of proteins and therefore their ability to perform their function, as well as how this can lead to a variety of genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. We end the year with finalising any key content that is more challenging by identifying key gaps in knowledge through use of formative assessment and providing bespoke feedback to feedforward to ensure a thorough understanding of these concepts with the intention of students being able to explain and apply these concepts to unfamiliar situations and problems that they may encounter in their final exams.
The Year 12 journey begins with a more detailed look at atomic structure, investigating the structure of the atom and its development. Students will learn the fundamentals of analytical analysis using mass spectrometry. The students will further their understanding of calculations, applying multiple formulae to given situations. Within this term the first core practical is completed, a standard solution is made and titrated against an unknown solution to find its concentration. Students will enhance their understanding of bonding and intermolecular forces and be able to explain the structure of given chemicals. We then move on to an introduction to organic chemistry, looking at naming and drawing the structures of organic molecules. The organic module investigates the reactions of halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alkanes and alcohols. Students will be expected to draw mechanisms to show how molecules interact with each other, giving specific products. The term also involves looking at the reactions of the group 2 and group 7 elements of the periodic table. Students will complete practical activities to identify unknown ions from group 7 and their compounds. We end the year with a return to looking at more advanced organic molecules. Pupils will complete core practical to identify functional groups. They should be able to use the knowledge of practical tests to identify a wide range of organic molecules. Pupil are introduced to organic analysis. They will look at how mass spectrometry, and infrared spectroscopy are carried out to identify functional groups of molecules. Pupils will be able to interpret spectra produced from organic analysis. The year ends with structured revision before undertaking a full AS paper.
The Year 13 journey begins with an introduction to thermodynamic, exploring Hess’ Law and further develop knowledge of enthalpy. Students will be able to analyse Born- Haber Cycles to calculate a range of enthalpies. Students are introduced to entropy and Gibbs free energy equations, they will learn to apply these equations to reactions to determine feasibility. Knowledge of rates equations and rate constants are developed in this term, with students carrying out practical to determine initial rates of reactions. Finally, in this term the students will look at applying their knowledge of equilibria to the gas equilibria laws. We then move on to introducing electrochemical cells, students will be expected to describe the standard electrochemical cell and use this to determine the electrode potentials of given electrochemical cells. A core practical will be carried out in this term looking at the practical set up of electrochemistry. Later in the term students will use complex maths to calculate pH of given chemicals. The students will look at a number of ‘constants’ that are used in the calculations of pH of solutions. Pupils will investigate Buffers and how they can keep solutions at a constant pH. We end the year with looking at the transitions elements of the periodic table, investigating how they form complex ions, and how different molecules interact with transition metals. The students look at how transition metals are used as catalysts and how they interact with water to form metal – aqua Ions. The final part of the course is a more in depth look at organic chemistry, investigating more complex molecules, such as aromatic compounds, acyl chloride, and acid anhydrides. Students will look at polymers and proteins and further more advanced analytical techniques.
The Year 12 journey begins with Measurements and Errors provides an introduction into Physics at A level, looking at the experimental techniques that underpin the course and how we can evaluate and improve the quality of experimental data. We then look at waves, particles and radiation linking previous knowledge and skills from GCSE to the demands of A level. The Particles and Radiation topic looks at the fundamental properties of energy, radiation and matter, including how they interact. The waves topic looks at the general properties of transverse and longitudinal waves and how we measure those properties. We then move on to Mechanics studies the forces that keep a body at rest or in uniform motion. Students describe and calculate the effect of forces on an object including work done, energy transfer and power. The importance of properties such as density, strength and elasticity are also examined using experimental techniques. Materials examines the principles that underpin the materials used in engineering, transport and technology. These include new developments in vehicle safety and nanotechnology. Optics looks at the nature and properties of light including refraction and total internal reflection, and applications of optics such as the endoscope and fibre optic communications. We end the year with Electricity investigates the rules that govern low voltage circuits and how this is applied in real life applications. Students design, construct and analyse circuits that contain different components. Students also investigate modern materials such as semiconductors and superconductors. The year concludes with revision in preparation for the end of year exams and the remaining required practicals are also completed towards the end of the year.
The Year 13 journey begins with a further study of Mechanics. This builds upon the Year 12 topic and extends ideas further including circular motion and further harmonics. Thermal energy transfers are explored with a student investigation of energy transfers. Gases are also explored and there is an experiment to support Boyles Law. Electromagnetic fields are then explored further, building on the Electricity unit from Year 12 and adding ideas of capacitance and magnetic induction. We also encompass Newtons laws and how they relate to gravity. Satellites and orbits are examined and data from space shuttle and satellite launches is used. We then move on to Nuclear Physics is the next topic explored and this builds upon the Particles and Radiation unit studied in Year 12. Building on the ideas of Rutherford from KS4 students will be able to gain a better appreciation of how the model of the atom has changed over time. Ionising radiation is studied in great detail with students investigating the radioactive properties of substances and determining half life. Students will also explain nuclear fission and the safety aspects of working with radiation. We end the year with finalising any key content that is more challenging by identifying key gaps in knowledge through use of formative assessment and providing bespoke feedback to feedforward. This ensures a thorough understanding of these concepts with the intention of students being able to explain and apply these concepts to unfamiliar situations and problems that they may encounter in their final exams.
Engaging extra- curricular activities are offered to complement and broaden the curriculum including The Big Bang exhibition and The Faraday Challenge. Students attend these annually to give an see some of the careers that are available in the STEM world. This year the STEM club have taken part in the Unilever Bright Futures Programme, designing new and adapted products with the staff of the company.
Since 2018 we have been in partnership with Eureka! Science & Discovery, the developers of a new science museum in Wallasey. The group of year 8 girls initially had a direct influence into the development of the Eureka site. Our students collaborated with companies including Orsted Energy Company, Daresbury Labs and Liverpool John Moore’s University to develop innovative concepts and designs for the new exhibits. Now in year 11 the girls returned to open the museum, proudly speaking at the celebrations.
Within the science department the students from year 7 and 8 are invited to take part in STEM club offering real world investigations. This club has been a huge success and many students have taken part in science practical that falls outside of the national curriculum. STEM club is supported by our partners at STEM learning and The Royal Academy of Engineers to ensure there is real world context to the projects they follow.
Within the day-to-day lessons staff will give pupils real world relevant examples of jobs and careers that are relevant to the content that is being taught. Increasingly the curriculum turns to considerations of sustainability and students are encouraged to consider their impact on each other and the planet.
Applied science students are invited to take part in university open days looking at Carbon Chemistry, and how the development of nanotubes has been used by the health profession. A level students are encouraged to apply for summer schools at Unilever and Daresbury labs, so that they can see the application of their subjects in a real world context.
We facilitate many trips and visits including:
We have immense pride in our sixth form students. Every year our Year 13’s progress into a mixture of Higher Education, Apprenticeships or Employment with training. The majority go onto university and study a diverse range of courses that their time in Sixth Form at The Oldershaw School has prepared them for. Post Sixteen students have progressed to further and higher education to study Medicine, Pharmacy, Biology, Robotics, and Secondary Science Teaching. Other alternative routes include pursuing a higher-level or degree level apprenticeship in subjects like biomedical and environmental sciences.
The development of the curriculum will allow pupils to develop practical skills that are useful in all careers, not just the scientific. The ability to follow instructions and develop methods that is enhanced from KS3 to KS5, will prepare them for the world of work.
Potential routes from Science include: