At Blue Coat we are determined to provide a practical, engaging and rigorous Science curriculum that both enthuses students and enables them to pursue the subject to the full extent of their ability. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming team with a culture of collaboration and teamwork that creates a lively and stimulating working environment.
The department is led by separate Heads of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, managed and co-ordinated by the Head of Science. We have eighteen highly experienced and well-qualified teachers, with a good balance across the three specialisms, as well as an intervention worker and four technicians. Lessons are largely delivered in eleven well-equipped laboratories, four of which were recently refurbished.
We deliver the new Key Stage 3 National Curriculum across Years 7 and 8 using the SMART Science Assessment model and with practical skills assessments which we have designed to prepare students for the new GCSE specification. GCSE Science is taught across Years 9, 10 and 11, following the AQA GCSE Science courses. We began teaching the new AQA 2016 specification to Year 9 in September 2015. Approximately 40% of our students are entered for separate Science GCSEs.
In Sixth Form we teach A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all following AQA specifications. We also offer a GCSE in Human Health and Physiology as part of our foundation year. Our retention rate is high, with a record numbers of students studying advanced level science courses in recent years. A-level results in all three individual Sciences are very good, averaging around 60% A*-B at A2 level, and many students leave the school to follow STEM based degree courses at universities and colleges, including a significant number who apply for medicine and to Oxbridge. Extracurricular Science opportunities include a Key Stage STEM 3 club, a wide range of educational visits and an A Level Chemistry Café.
As a department, we host training teachers and regularly have students within the department from courses such as Warwick in Schools, PGCE and Schools Direct. They receive excellent training from all of our highly experienced and effective teachers with most staff being trained to be a trainee mentor. We also work with Warwick University as a Subject Hub of Excellence, delivering subject knowledge training to their trainee teachers.
The department regularly assesses the quality of its learning and teaching provision through lesson monitoring, exercise book trawls, discussions on curriculum design and the use of a range of stakeholder questionnaires. The results of this feed our development plans and help to ensure that we continue to provide a more outstanding learning environment for all our students.
We are keen to develop and train our staff, ensuring that we are well equipped and flexible enough to address the changing needs of both the science curriculum and our students. Staff teach within their subject area from year 9 onwards which helps ensure that students get the best from our experienced subject specialist teachers. Students are confident in expressing their opinions to our staff as they discuss scientific theory at GCSE and A-Level, based on their personal beliefs and circumstance.
At each key stage, the schemes of learning have a clear progression of ideas from one lesson to the next. Alongside this, students are prepared for Science at Blue Coat through a Year 6 summer school and a Year 7 transition topic at the start of the year.