At St Bede’s, our intention is for our students to
- understand how science influences their everyday life, and to equip them with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
- make the most of opportunities to explore science outside of the day to day teaching.
- nurture a curiosity about the world around them, which can be explained through studying key scientific concepts.
- develop and embed scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding; developing their God-given abilities and maximising their potential through the pursuit of excellence
- understand STEM career opportunities, especially in the areas of strategic importance for the North East, allowing them to make informed decisions about their next step in education or work life.
- engage in scientific inquiry, developing investigation skills so that they can confidently design, carry out and evaluate scientific investigations.
- develop scientific literacy and communication skills to allow them to articulate and present their scientific thinking clearly.
- experience an inclusive educational experience that allows all students, including SEND and the most disadvantaged pupils, to access the same knowledge, skills and cultural capital.
- consider the moral and ethical implications of scientific discovery, developing tolerance and respect for others and for the dignity of human life.
- use and apply scientific
- appreciate that scientific reason and faith are complementary to each other and mutually beneficial.
Cells and Organisation
After studying the concepts of living and non-living and a wide variety of human body systems in Key Stage 2, students investigate how cells form the building blocks of all living organisms alongside the development of key practical skills such as preparing microscope slides and simple dissection. In Year 7 students study plant and animal cells and how they are organised to form tissues, organs and organ systems such as the reproductive system. In Year 8 they study more organ systems in greater detail, and are challenged to explain how their functions are so important to the whole organism. In Year 9 students apply their knowledge of cell structure to explain the functions of specialised cells before investigating how new cells are formed. Student also study how cells differentiate and consider uses of stem cells.
In Years 10 and 11, students apply their knowledge of cell structure and cell division studying the functions of a range of organs and organ systems in both plants and animals.
A level Biologists study in more detail the ultrastructure of the cell, how new cells arise through mitosis and meiosis and how cells interact with each other in the immune system. They continue their study of animal and plant physiology through investigating exchange and transport systems of plants and animals and how organisms detect and respond to stimuli.
Energy in Biological systems
Students explore the concept that energy flows within systems, building on their experience of Key Stage 2 where they studied food chains and the environment. Students explore the concept that organisms require a constant supply of energy and materials to survive, and that biological processes are linked within cycles. In Year 7 students study the process of photosynthesis and develop an understanding of how energy is transferred from sunlight to living organisms. In Year 8 students apply this knowledge to explain how respiration releases energy for organisms to function. Students then investigate how energy flows through ecosystems, using this to explain how organisms interact with each other and their environment and how crucial substances are recycled.
In Years 10 and 11, the principles of enzyme action, respiration, and photosynthesis are studied. Students are then challenged to consider the flow of energy through ecosystems and how the recycling of resources is crucial to the survival of organisms.
A level biologists develop their understanding of biochemistry by studying a range of biological molecules, how they react and their importance in biological systems. This is developed further by investigating metabolic pathways. Students also study in detail the principles of ecosystems such as energy flow and nutrient recycling.
Inheritance and evolution
During Key Stage 2, students will have studied reproduction in animal and plants and explored the ideas of evolution and inheritance. In Year 7 students study reproduction in more detail before applying this knowledge in Year 8 when developing an understanding of how characteristics are inherited. When investigating the structure of DNA, students consider how the work carried out by Franklin, Watson and Crick led to such an important discovery. In Year 9 students are challenged to explain how genetic mutation is the source of variation between organisms of the same and different species. They investigate the inheritance of alleles from one generation to the next and how this allows natural selection to act as a mechanism for evolution. Students are now able to consider biological causes of the diversity and complexity of life on Earth, which they describe using classification systems.
In Years 10 and 11 students study human evolution and how natural selection has caused antibiotic resistance in bacteria. They then consider how and why humans use their knowledge to change species through selective breeding and genetic modification.
In Year 12 students study the cell cycle and DNA replication; they consider in greater depth the process of natural selection and the importance of genetic diversity. In Year 13 they apply this knowledge to population genetics and consider a wide range of examples of Mendelian inheritance as well as the impact of more modern discoveries such as genetic fingerprinting and epigenetics.
During Key Stage 2 students will have explored and compared the properties of a broad range of materials and investigated reversible reactions. In Year 7 students begin to develop essential practical skills and learn how to work safely and scientifically in the laboratory. They are then given the opportunity to apply knowledge by investigating acids and alkalis where they can practise their skills. In Year 8 students study acids further by exploring how they react with metals. Students are challenged to explain how reactions involve the rearrangement and re-organisation of atoms and the transfer of electrons. They learn how to use symbol equations to represent the reactions taking place and are introduced to the concept of conservation of mass. Finally students consider the energy changes that occur when chemicals react with each other and are able to explain the terms exothermic and endothermic.
In Years 10 and 11 students apply their knowledge as they explore the fundamental concept of reaction rate. They learn what causes a reaction to speed up and what is required to cause a reaction to start in the first place: the activation energy. Through studying Le Chatelier’s Principle further develop their ability to apply knowledge of the key concepts. Practical skills are further developed through studying electrolysis and a variety of methods used to measure the rate of a reaction.
A Level Chemistry students use calculations to explain in detail reaction kinetics and equilibria, underpinning the theory already learned. Students are also given the opportunity to explore more complex practical applications.
In Key Stage 2 students will have investigated a variety of everyday materials and are able to develop simple descriptions of the states of matter. Throughout their time studying science, students are provided with opportunities to explore the concept that matter in the Universe is made of very small particles. This allows students in Year 7 to develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the periodic table with the introduction of the atom and how the arrangement of atoms in elements and compounds gives rise to properties of substances. Students delve into the history of the atomic model and how the work of successive scientists have contributed to our current understanding. They are challenged to relate the structure of the atom to the information presented in the periodic table. Students are then re-introduced to chemical reactions and begin to construct word and chemical equations. Throughout the key stage opportunites are provided for students to make links between the arrangement of atoms, ions and molecules and the chemical and physical properties of substances.
Throughout Years 10 and 11 students are introduced to quantitative chemistry, building on their prior knowledge of chemcical reactions and the euquations used to describe them. They use their understanding of the periodic table to calculate relative formula mass and empirical formulae. In addiiton, many pupils learn the concept of ‘the mole’ and how to a range of calculations.
A Level Chemistry students re-visit these concepts in greater depth. learning how to successfully complete multistep calculations to determine the amount of substance. This is also explored practically, where students develop more sophisticated analytical techniques.
Earth, Atmosphere & Beyond
In Year 7 students are challenged to recall knowledge gained in Key Stage 2, further exploring the concept of space and the idea that the solar system is a very small part of one of millions of galaxies in the Universe. They consider how scientific models and observations made by scientists can aid their understanding and make links to their knowledge of forces. In Year 8 students study in more detail the composition of the Earth, its atmosphere and how the processes occurring within them shape the Earth’s surface and its climate. They explore how theories and evidence suggest the Earth became habitable with the formation of the atmosphere before examining rocks and the processes that bring about their formation. This allows them to develop an understanding of the rock cycle operating within a huge geological timescale, underpinning key ideas from Key Stage 2 where students explored the different types of rock.
In Years 10 and 11 students study basic organic molecules and investigate the extraction process of fossil fuels. This enables them to explore the environmental effects of everyday use of fossil fuels and explain why alternatives are so essential.
A level Chemistry students extend their knowledge of organic chemistry by looking at a wide range of new organic compounds, how they are named and are introduced to new practical techniques used to produce them.
Forces and motion
In Year 7 students begin by looking at the causes and effects of simple forces, later applying them to large scale systems by examining the forces that result in the motions of the planets and the formation of our solar system. In Year 8 students examine more specific examples by studying the effect of rotational forces, forces which act at a distance and how these are utilised in simple machines. Students also investigate the mathematical relationships between the forces applied to a body and the effect this has on its motion. In Year 9 students will further add to their knowledge of forces by studying Newton’s laws of motion, momentum and velocity-time graphs alongside mathematical relationships of increasing complexity.
In Years 10 and 11 students study the effect of forces on the energy of a system, rotational forces and the effects of forces on materials by investigating elastic and plastic deformation, using a wide range of equations and mathematical relationships.
A level Physicists are challenged to quantitatively describe the motion of objects using vector sums and apply their knowledge of forces to solve synoptic problems
In Year 7 students learn how forces interact with matter to produce extension in springs and other elastic objects, how sub-atomic particles produce electrical currents and static charges. Matter is further explored in Year 8 to understand how the amount of matter in a substance gives different materials density, how the arrangement and density of particles is altered due to changes in temperature and gives rise to the pressures exerted by fluids. Finally students investigate the interaction between waves and matter to explain phenomena such as refraction. In Year 9 students will further add to their knowledge of matter by studying the thermal properties of different materials which allow them act as conductors, radiators and insulators of heat.
In Years 10 and 11 students study the effect radioactive decay has on atomic structure, kinetic theory as applied to all states of matter and the effect of pressure and temperature on the behaviour of gases.
A level Physicists study a more complicated model of the atom, including a wider range of sub-atomic particles. They also investigate quantum mechanical processes which allow them to quantitatively describe the behaviour of these particles.
Energy and waves
Students in Year 7 are introduced to the idea of energy by looking at how it can be stored and transferred into useful forms and the idea that some energy is always wasted They learn the various ways energy is measured and the units used. They then investigate ways in which electricity and circuits are used to transfer energy usefully. They discover how to construct electrical circuits in order to measure the current and potential difference. In Year 8 students will examine the ways in which waves can transfer energy and information in the form of light and sound, the biological structures which allow us to receive and process this information and the properties and behaviour common to all waves such as reflection. Finally students will study the ways in which thermal energy is transferred and how some systems are designed to either increase or decrease the rate at which this occurs. In Year 9 students will further add to their knowledge of energy by studying the relationship between energy input and output to determine the efficiency of a system, they will also further examine energy stores and transfers and the more complex mathematical equations used to calculate the values of the different energy types.
In Years 10 and 11 students further develop their understanding of waves they investigate electricity and magnetism by studying circuits in more detail. Students also learn to apply their knowledge when considering the uses and dangers of the electromagnetic spectrum, transformers and the national grid.
A level Physicists describe and explain a wider range of wave behaviours, such as diffraction and wave particle duality. Studying astronomy In Year 13 allows students to apply a wider range of knowledge gained across the course to explain how the universe is observed and understood.