The STEM Faculty comprises of the following subjects:
Year 7 and 8
Our year 7 & 8 course aims both to spark an interest in science whilst at the same time ensuring that pupils are well prepared to begin their GCSE studies in year 9. Science is split into the three main subjects divisions of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and the topics covered are set out below:
Please note, Year 7 also receive an introduction to science before moving on to studying scientific investigation skills when they first arrive at NLS.
Pupils will attend three science lessons each week, and are taught in mixed ability groups, with resources fully differentiated to ensure maximum progress for every child.
Learning Beyond the Classroom will be set once a week and will comprise either a short online mini-test or written summary questions on content taught during lesson time in order to consolidate pupils’ learning.
There will be an assessment at the end of each topic listed in the table above, in the form of either an online test or a paper-based test.
Years 9 to 11
GCSE Science is compulsory for all students at NLS. There are however, two pathways, namely:
The former will result in students achieving two GCSEs, with 5 lessons a week in year 10 and 11 dedicated to covering all three divisions of science; whilst the latter will result in students achieving three GCSEs, with 8 lessons a week in year 10 and 11 split between the three divisions of science, each taught by a subject specialist. The extra time dedicated to the Triple Science course allows for a more in depth look at particular concepts, as well as additional content not covered in the Combined Science course. It is preferred that those students wishing to study Science beyond their GCSEs choose Triple Science and this forms part of the options process. Regardless of the route your child wishes to take, they will begin studying for their GCSEs in Science in year 9, where the focus is on honing working scientifically skills as well as applying mathematical skills in science.
Both courses are linear, with an external assessment at the end of the three years, after which, students will be awarded a grade between 9 and 1, 9 being the top level. Students will be examined at either higher or foundation level. Higher papers are awarded grades 9 to 4 and foundation papers are awarded grades 5 to 1. Over the duration of the GCSE course students are required to complete a range of required practicals and there will be specific questions (15% of the exam) which require good knowledge of these practicals.
Learning Beyond the Classroom is set twice weekly for those students studying Combined Science and thrice weekly, one per subject, for those studying Triple Science. Students will also be expected to revise for tests at the end of each unit. Such regular testing allows teachers to make accurate assessment as to students’ progress and thus to plan accordingly in order to ensure each student achieves their full potential.
Post 16 Science
Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths and, as such Biology is a popular course at NLS. Results have been above the national average in recent years and as such many of our students have gone on to University to study biological related degrees.
Exam board: AQA
This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all the AS exams at the end of their AS course. The AS course is a standalone course and does not form part of the A-Level. Students wishing to complete the A-Level will have all of their exams at the end of the A-Level course.
Course entry requirements
Grade BB Dual Science or B’s in Single Science GCSEs including Biology, and a Grade B in Maths.
What is the course about?
The course is divided into biological topics, each containing different key concepts of Biology. Once the key features of a Biological topic have been developed, applications are then considered.
The aims of the course are to encourage candidates to:
• Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for Biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers in Biology;
• Appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society;
• Develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works;
• Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of Biology and how they relate to each other.
What skills will I learn?
The Biology A-Level course helps students develop a number of skills:
• How to collect data and evaluate it
• How to investigate facts and use deduction
• How to put over your point of view effectively
• How to take responsibility for your own learning
How will the course be taught?
The teaching is a combination of student centred activities, class discussion, student presentations, private study, independent learning, use of IT and experimental and investigative work. Work books and text books are provided and students will be regularly tested to support their progress and develop exam technique.
The importance of chemistry as a central science is reflected in its priority requirement in many fields of science such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacy and geological and environmental sciences. With results at NLS above the national average for Chemistry, many of our former students have gone to university to study in these areas of chemistry. Since chemistry involves logical thought and critical analysis, many non-science related courses at university accept those who have studied chemistry.
Exam board: AQA
The specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course. This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all exams in May/June of a single year.
Course entry requirements
Grade BB Dual Science or B’s in Single Science GCSEs including Chemistry, and a Grade B in Maths.
What is the course about?
Chemistry is an active and exciting discipline which dominates all our lives. It acts as an interface between the atomic and subatomic world of the physicist and the molecular world of the biologist. It also embraces aspects of Engineering, Geography and Art.
How will the course be taught?
A variety of teaching styles are used such as small group practicals, individual practicals, student presentations, modelling and data handling.
Physics A and AS levels are interesting, practical, challenging and very highly regarded by employers and Universities alike. It is therefore a popular choice at NLS with many students choosing to go on to study Physics to degree level. However, these qualifications, in which students achieve above the national average at NLS, are also relevant or recommended for a huge number of careers and are highly valued in many careers that do not involve Physics per se.
Exam board: AQA Specification A
There are now two courses to choose from in Physics, the one year AS qualification and the two year A Level qualification. For the AS qualification the exams are at the end of the Y12. For the A Level qualification the exams all come at the end of Y13.
Course entry requirements
Grade BB Dual Science or Bs in Single Science GCSEs, including Physics, and a Grade B in Maths.
What is the course about?
AS and first year of A-Level
1. Measurements and their errors, including use of SI units and their prefixes, limitations of physical measurement, estimation of physical quantities
2. Particles and radiation, including constituents of the atom, particle interactions, collisions of electrons with atoms
3. Waves, including progressive waves, interference, diffraction
4. Mechanics and energy, including projectile motion, Newton’s Laws of Motion
5. Electricity, including current/voltage characteristics, circuits, electromotive force and internal resistance
Second year of A-Level
6. Further mechanics and thermal physics, including periodic motion, thermal energy transfer, molecular kinetic theory model
7. Fields, including Newton’s Law of Gravitation, orbits of planets and satellites, magnetic flux density
8. Nuclear physics, including evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay, nuclear instability
Plus one option from:
• Astrophysics, including classification of stars by luminosity, Doppler effect, detection of exoplanets
• Medical physics, including physics of vision, ECG machines, x-ray imaging
• Engineering physics, including rotational dynamics, thermodynamics and engines
• Turning points in physics, including discovery of the electron, Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity
• Electronics, including discrete semiconductor devices, data communication systems
The department offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for all year groups. The weekly Science club allows students to explore Science above the curriculum in a more creative way. The STEM club allows pupils to collaborate their Science, Maths and Technology skills and apply them to challenging situation or scenarios. The department have recently invested in a high end telescope and have set up an after school Astronomy club which is ran by a team of specialists. In addition to this the department give pupils the opportunity to take part in university lab work days, inter schools competitions, field trips as well as inviting specialists from industry and local universities to deliver seminars and conferences.
Years 7 and 8
After the initial few weeks transition to NLS, Years 7 and 8 are taught in ability groups with teaching assistant support where necessary. The scheme of learning allows for pupils to master the skills in each topic, whilst also recapping prior learning and developing their understanding of the next steps. This is taught with an emphasis on student participation and applying maths to real-life contexts, with problem solving being a key part of every lesson. The scheme has seven tiers, with pupils starting on the tier appropriate to their progress Band, determined by their achievement at Key stage 2 and the progress they make throughout the year.
Assessments occur on Doddle at the end of each topic. Pupils receive feedback from these, and are able to continue working on Doddle to ensure continued improvement based on this information. Movement between sets is possible at any time during the year and is regularly reviewed.
Learning beyond the classroom is set on a weekly basis. At the start of a topic it will be online work on Doddle to allow us to assess prior knowledge and provide intervention if needed. Throughout the rest of the topic pupils will be set written work consisting of questions linked to the skills that week, a literacy task, some research and some stretch work to challenge themselves.
Students will study the new linear GCSE 1-9 course by AQA. This GCSE meets the new Government requirements for increased content and problem solving
Students will be examined at either higher or foundation level in year 11. The appropriate tier of entry will be decided as the course progresses by the classroom teacher in consultation with the head of department. The qualification consists of three examinations, two calculator based and one non-calculator based, each lasting 90 minutes.
In order to assist your child with preparing for the final exam, and interim assessments throughout the course, GCSE Revision materials consisting of a DVD and revision guide, can also be purchased via ParentPay, and a large supply of past papers and answers can be accessed via the school portal
At NLS we offer both Mathematics and Further Mathematics A-level. There will be new A-levels in Mathematics for teaching from September 2017, which will contain a change of content from previous courses. In Mathematics students will study a mixture of Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Mechanics, and in Further Mathematics they will build further on these specialisms. We have a strong history of success in Mathematics at Post-16 and many of our students go on to study Maths or Maths related degrees
The Maths department along with the rest of the STEM Faculty offer the STEM club to year 8 and 9 students. There are also a range of opportunities available throughout the year to take part in challenges, competitions, visits and special events. In recent times these have included Bridge building workshops, presentations by the RAF, the UKMT maths challenges and many more.
Year 7 and 8
Design is split into the three main subjects divisions of Food, Resistant Materials and Textiles. Pupils have a term in each subject area and will attend two technology lessons per week. Pupils will work in purpose built kitchens and workshops, using a range of equipment.
There will be a baseline assessment at the start and of each topic, each subject area will assess a different area of the design technology curriculum such as research, analysis, design and evaluation.
Learning Beyond the Classroom will be set every other week and will comprise of a range of research, design and analysis activities.
Year 8 choose their options at the end of Y8.
Year 9 -11
Design Technology, Art Textiles and Food and Nutrition are delivered at GCSE. These subjects are optional and will be taught in 2 lessons in Y10 and 3 lessons in Y11 or vice versa.
GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise. Design Technology is broken into 50% coursework and 50% exam and will be assessed on all material areas.
In order to assist your child with preparing for the final exam, and interim assessments throughout the course, GCSE Revision materials can be found on the school portal also be purchased via ParentPay.
*As a new specification this is subject to change.
Food and Nutrition
GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition specification is a science based course that also equips students with an array of culinary techniques, as well as knowledge of nutrition, food traditions and kitchen safety.Created to inspire and motivate students, opening their eyes to a world of career opportunities and give them the confidence to cook with ingredients from across the globe.
The assessment is broken down into 35%practical, 50% exam and 15% written investigation. In order to assist your child with preparing for the final exam, and interim assessments throughout the course, GCSE Revision materials can also found on the portal.
GCSE Art Textiles is a practical based course that equips students with a range of skills. Areas of
study include fashion design and illustration, costume design, constructed textiles, printed and dyed textiles and digital textiles. You will to design and make products for woven, knitted, stitched, printed or decorative textiles that might have a functional or non-functional purpose.
Work will completed in sketch books and portfolios responding to a range of artist and designers as inspiration. The assessment is broken down 60% for your portfolio of work and 40% for externally assessed where you will be given a preparatory period followed by 10 hours of supervised time
Year 12 Candidates will complete a base line assessment, produce a portfolio of work and sit a 10 hour progression exam. In Year 13 candidates will produce a portfolio of work, write a 2000 word essay and sit a 15 hour practical exam.
The technology department collaborate with the rest of the STEM faculty to offer the STEM club and other STEM activities. There is also a group taking part in the green powered car challenge, and we have previously been winners of the National F1 in Schools Competition.
STEM Faculty Subjects
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