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Science

'The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible' EINSTEIN

“Our vision in the Science department is to prepare all students for the increasingly technological world around them. All students are naturally inquisitive about the biological, material and physical world. It is our aim to harness that enthusiasm through investigation, experimentation, and debate.”

Teaching Styles

There are 13 teaching staff in the department. All staff teach across Key Stage 3. Staff tend to specialise in Key Stage 4 and 5 in one or two subject areas. Science teaching involves a wide range of styles. It is heavily based on practical work, but also involves discussion, group work and investigations. We have needed to make some changes starting in September 2020 regarding how experiments are done but we are delighted to confirm that we are still able to offer practical work to all of our students (adhering to strict guidelines of course).

Facilities

We have a purpose built block with ten laboratories. All laboratories are well equipped with data projectors / desktops and appropriate scientific apparatus for experiments. There are 5 full / part-time technicians that support teaching staff with the delivery of practical work.

Homework

Homework is set on a regular basis in line with the school Homework Policy. In Year 7 students receive two 30 minute slots of homework. This may involve written work, reading or research. Students are also given access to an online homework platform called Educake where students can access homework and use it as an additional tool to consolidate their knowledge.

Grouping

Grouping in science is usually decided on a year by year basis, with results in end of module tests and end of year examinations determining the setting of each student. For the current year (2020) Covid restrictions mean all Year 7-9 Science groups are temporarily taught in mixed ability bubbles.

Extra Curricular

In previous years the following extra-curricular activities have been offered by the Science Department:

Biology Society - a lunchtime club run by year 12 Biology students and teachers enabling year 7 students to undertake lots of fun biology based activities and practicals.

Science Club - a lunchtime club run by Year 12 Science students and teachers run for Year 7 and 8 students who enjoy doing practicals and investigations. 

Trips and events (recent events have included the following):

Year 7 and 8 Science Fair at HGS

Year 10 Science trip to GCSE Science Live! In Cambridge

Year 12 Chemistry trip to Chemistry Live! In London

Year 9 trip to the Big Bang Fair in St Albans

Year 10 trip to Aston Martin Factory in Warwickshire

Year 12 trip to GSK in Stevenage

Year 9 trip to MBDA in Stevenage

Year 12 trip to Roche Pharmaceuticals in Welwyn

Biology Expedition

During year 12 and 13 students will be given the opportunity to take part in an international conservation expedition. In the past we have visited Mozambique , South Africa ,Indonesia, Dominica, Tanzania, Malawi and Honduras. Biology A level students are given priority for places but all of year 12 and 13 are invited to apply. On the expedition we spend one week in a terrestrial environment such as a rain or cloud forest and the second week is spent on marine conservation where students learn to dive and can obtain a PADI open water qualification. In addition students attend lectures and workshops with Biologists who are world experts in their field.These expeditions are offered every 2 years so all students have the opportunity to apply. The planning takes place up to 2 years in advance so that students have time to fundraise. We have found that students find this an inspiring experience and sometimes it is  life changing as many go on to use their skills to enhance UCAS applications and choose to pursue related careers.

Key Stage 3 

The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Y7- 8 in Science are:

To make students’ experience of Science in KS3 at HGS inspiring, interesting and challenging whilst providing the solid grounding in skills and content needed for KS4.

Specific Aims

  • To inspire our students – we aim to harness the excitement that primary students generally have about Science at secondary school and to build on it.
  • To provide a broad curriculum that gives a good grounding of science over a range of scientific topics.
  • To develop practical skills - using a PAG style approach similar to GCSE that allows students to work scientifically and further develop their practical skills.
  • The development of mathematical and scientific skills taking into account the maths curriculum students will have already covered.

Click here for a detailed curriculum map for Key Stage 3 Biology

Click here for a detailed curriculum map for Key Stage 3 Chemistry

Click here for a detailed curriculum map for Key Stage 3 Physics

Homework tasks and revision materials are posted online via google classroom and students will be alerted to these posts via email.

In Year 9 all students begin work on GCSE content.

Key Stage 4  

Students at this level can either take all three sciences giving three GCSEs (Triple Science), or spend less time studying each science for a Combined Science qualification which is worth two GCSEs. This decision is taken in Year 9 as part of the options process with Triple science GCSE an option for students able to work at level 6 or higher. Each student is given the relevant CGP revision guide at the beginning of Year 10. 

We currently follow the OCR Gateway Science suite of courses.

For Triple Sciences, the link to each exam board (OCR Gateway) science subject is shown below:  

Biology:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/gateway-science-suite-biology-a-j247-from-2016/

Chemistry:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/gateway-science-suite-chemistry-a-j248-from-2016/

Physics:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/gateway-science-suite-physics-a-j249-from-2016/

Combined Science:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse/gateway-science-suite-combined-science-a-j250-from-2016/

GCSE Physics Site (only available to students with a HGS login)
https://sites.google.com/hgs.herts.sch.uk/hgs-gcse-physics/home

Key Stage 5 

Meet the team 

Staff Members

Charles Horner        Head of Science/Chemistry

Kim Pearce               Head of Biology/KS3 Lead

Andrew Jackson      Head of Physics/Transition Lead (KS3 to KS4)

Alex Goldring           Head of Physics/Transition Lead (Year 6 to 7)

Emma Taylor            Head of Year 12/Chemistry Teacher and STEM Coordinator)

Wai Li                        Science Teacher (Chemistry at KS5 and
                                    KS3 Chem Coordinator)

Maria Dixon              Science Teacher (Biology at KS5)

Kate Arnott               Science Teacher (Biology at KS5)

James Buckridge      Science Teacher (Biology at KS5)

Sharon Corish           Science Teacher (Biology at KS5)

Susan Andrews        Biology/Mathematics Teacher

Eleanor Reed             Science Teacher (Physics at KS5) 

Andrew Derrett         Physics/Mathematics Teacher

Technical Support Staff

Lyn Makins                 Chemistry 

Fiona Holder              Biology

Sally Jenkins              Biology

Anna Wilson             Biology

Michelle Foinette       Physics