In years 7 and 8 the pupils cover the key stage three topics from the national curriculum in discrete units of biology, chemistry and physics taught by one teacher. In these first years pupils acquire a broad range of scientific skills through experimental and investigative work so that they are ready to start the IGCSE courses in year 9 with specialist teachers.
All pupils study the three sciences to IGCSE, normally leading to three separate qualifications in biology, chemistry and physics.
Biology is the scientific study of living things. The course aims to introduce pupils to the diverse range of organisms from the smallest microbe to the most complex organisms, so that they can appreciate the world around them. They are introduced to basic ecology techniques working outside in different habitats on the LES campus. GCSE work teaches them to evaluate topical issues such as stem cell research and the problems of pollution. Sixth form students attend a residential field course in Yorkshire where they are introduced to an even wider range of habitats such as rocky shore and chalk land. The junior and senior pupils are encouraged to enter competitions organised by the Institute of Biology, such as the Biology Challenge, the Biology Olympiad and the East Midlands Biology Competition.
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also material composition, structure and properties. It is known popularly as the science of pretty colours, bright flames and squeaky pops! The aim is to share theories which allow these chemical changes to be explained. We highlight the relevance of chemistry to the modern world through the products we use and develop as well as the effects on the environment. The IGCSE allows pupils to understand some organic and inorganic chemistry and they are constantly learning about the impact of chemistry in the environment.
Pupils are encouraged to use a range of techniques, including presentation skills, group work and practical experimentation with an emphasis on developing independent learning. The department takes advantage of opportunities as they arise; recent activities have included attending competitions for all ages at various universities, lectures from eminent scientists, flashes and bangs demonstration lectures, spectroscopy and forensic workshops. Sixth form students are encouraged to enter chemistry competitions and the Chemistry Olympiad.
Physics provides a broad training in skills that are valued by many employers; an ability to grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, along with problem solving, analytical, mathematical and IT skills. The IGCSE course introduces the pupils to the main physics principles including energy, heat transfer, mechanics, waves and electricity as well as exploring the theories explaining the history and evolution of the universe. Physics is taught in context with the real world to help pupils recognise its importance to their lives. In the sixth form the students follow the AQA physics A course which provides a sound grounding in physics to support a wide variety of university courses. Pupils are encouraged to participate in extracurricular initiatives to promote physics. The Engineering Education Scheme is offered as an enrichment activity for year 12 students; the physics Olympiad program is available from year 10; and the GO4SET Engineering scheme is arranged for pupils in year 9. Pupils who have an interest in physics and science have the opportunity to devise individual science projects which they can carry out in the lunchtime STEM club and they can submit their work for a CREST award at one of three different levels depending on the complexity of the project. In recent years, students in year 12 have visited CERN and the UN in Geneva and year 13 students have attended master classes held at local universities.
The STEM Programme at LHS
We are keen to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities to support learning, and to enable informed choices to be made about careers in this field. This involves both a weekly extra-curricular programme of activities and relevant trips.
Weekly STEM Programme Overview (some activities run only in certain terms)
|Year 7||Science Club||Dissection Club||Gardening Club|
|Year 8||Science Club||Dissection Club||Science Detectives||Gardening Club|
|Year 9||STEM/CREST Club||Go4Set||Science Detectives|
|Year 10||STEM/CREST Club||TeenTech||Science Detectives|
|Year 11||STEM/CREST Club||TeenTech|
|Year 12||Science Club (Leader)||Dissection Club (Leader)||STEM Enrichment Programme (Timetabled)|
|Year 13||STEM Enrichment Programme (Timetabled)|
Recent and Upcoming STEM Trips
As a leader in STEM provision we engage widely with other schools and colleges including hosting the Association for Science Education Regional STEM conference in March 2017, engaging with the WISE Campaign and the GSA on their ‘People Like Me’ programme’ for year 8 pupils.