Science

Science Mission Statement

The aims of Science education at The British School, Alexandria are:

  • To provide students with a stimulating and nurturing environment where they effectively develop their scientific literacy, enabling them to make informed decisions and use science to improve the quality of their life and the lives of others.
  • To foster a lifelong interest in the world of Science that will enable students to be informed members of this society.
  • To enable students to be fully prepared to pursue a career in science, technology or medicine through a rigorous approach to assessment and enquiry-based learning.

In line with the rest of the school, the Science Department constantly strives to embed the fundamental principles of High Performance Learning in every aspect of teaching. 

The department actively praises effort and risk-taking and celebrates "having a go" as well as progress and achievement.

All Science lessons are designed to activate students’ prior knowledge and understanding through engaging starters and links to concrete, real-life examples of scientific phenomena and processes. 

Teachers effectively use modelling and scaffolding to support students to practice applying their knowledge and understanding in context. This approach encourages the development of perseverance and resilience in the face of challenging tasks. 

At the end of every unit students are tested on their understanding. After every test has been teacher assessed the students complete a reflective response and are given time in lessons to think critically about their performance and, crucially, to make improvements, thinking metacognitively about their learning and how they can progress effectively.  

The Science Curriculum

Science is a core subject in years 7 to 9. In year 10 students study a choice of a minimum of two IGCSE subjects which are Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We encourage students to study all three subjects but we understand this may not be suitable for all students. All three Sciences are very popular choices at 'AS' and ‘A2’ level. 

KS3 Science

Classes have one Science teacher for all their lessons wherever possible, and follow a topic-based, combined Science course designed to fit into a 2 year KS3 programme, based on the National Curriculum in England.

Students undergo formative assessment in every lesson and at least one summative assessment is carried out at the end of every unit of work.  Practical and investigative skills are an integral part of most lessons.  These skills are continually assessed in years 7-8 where students are given the opportunity to carry out partial or whole investigations. We model practical procedures and we encourage students to work safely around the lab and use apparatus effectively. Each investigation is also carefully evaluated with students after marking.  It is expected that students will learn from any mistakes and apply newfound knowledge to the next investigation, hopefully improving their attainment each time.  

Year 7 Science Topics

Autumn term

Spring term

Summer term

Particles, elements and compounds

Cells

Forces

Physical and Chemical changes

Body systems

Sound

Acids and alkalis

Reproduction

Light

Year 8 Science Topics

Autumn term

Spring term

Summer term

Health and lifestyle

Motion and pressure

Separation techniques

Ecosystems

Energy

Periodic table

Adaptation and inheritance

Electricity and magnetism

Acids, metal and metal compounds

KS4 – IGCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics

All students follow the University of Cambridge International Examinations course for IGCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics. 

In year 9, students start the IGCSE course by studying three fundamental units of work from the IGCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics syllabi. Both core and extended learning objectives are covered and lessons are focused on mastering key concepts and skills required to excel in their IGCSE. Students chose a minimum of two sciences to carry on in year 10 and 11.

End of unit assessments are designed using past exam paper questions and are appropriate to all levels whilst challenging the more able students. We believe it is paramount that students are given plenty of exam practice in the lead up to end of unit assessments and external exams. After the teacher has given feedback on attainment, students are encouraged to comment on their progress and work on areas of weakness. During the two-year course, students will have the opportunity to complete as many investigations and practical activities as possible.

KS5 – GCE Biology, Chemistry and Physics

‘AS’ and full ‘A’ levels are offered in all three Sciences as optional subjects. Students follow the University of Cambridge International Examinations course for GCE Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Class sizes are usually small with the majority of students sitting the AS exams at the end of year 12. The Sciences are very strong at ‘A’ level and success rates are very high. Students are formally assessed on a regular basis with one or two assessments per unit of work.

Students are encouraged to establish independent learning routines and to read widely in order to consolidate their understanding and build a real drive for the subject. Practical work takes up a relatively large percentage of the teaching time in order to fully prepare students for the practical exam component of the course.

Summary of Science courses:

Key Stage

Year

Curriculum

Examination Board Code

KS3

7, 8

National Curriculum in England

 

KS4

9, 10,11

Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education

(IGCSE)

Biology CIE 0610

Chemistry CIE 0620

Physics CIE 0625

KS5

12,13

Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary Level

(GCE)

Biology CIE 9700

Chemistry CIE 9701

Physics CIE 9702

 
Marta Carvalho
Head of Science