The challenge | The girls tended to see practical work as an added extra in science and not at the core of the subject, so they were not motivated to improve their skills in this area.

Develop a challenging, innovative and enriching curriculum

Learning was enriched by looking at great moments in the history of Science, such as the way in which Rutherford probed the structure of the atom and the conclusions he was able to draw. For many of the younger girls, this has led to a project looking at ‘living scientists’ and what they do.

Enthuse pupils through subject-based activities beyond the curriculum

A school Science Fair was run by Year 9 for the whole school. The girls took their own ideas and carried out risk assessments. The experiments ranged from how hair products affect the breaking stress of hair to studying the placebo effect of non-caffeinated drinks on reaction time.

Enrich the subject knowledge and impact of all teachers within the department

To help the staff deal with the greater challenge within the curriculum, subject specialists within the department delivered training on practical work and produced a ‘tech guide.’ Training for technicians was delivered through the school science service, CLEAPSS, which nicely complemented trips made by the technicians to other schools to share good practice.

Encourage links within and beyond school, including universities and professional bodies

The school worked with King’s College London through the CASE programme (cognitive acceleration through Science education). The Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics have all provided excellent materials to help the department grow in terms of subject knowledge and practical skills.

Contact | Danny Clift