The Science department has seven fully equipped laboratories and one study based classroom, several of the labs have been refitted and refurbished in the last few years. Nine specialist science teachers are supported by two experienced technicians.
All pupils study National Curriculum Science throughout their five years at West Hill. Pupils receive a broad, balanced science education. As a Specialist Science College an extensive range of enrichment opportunities are offered to all pupils; these broaden and enrich scientific knowledge and understanding.
Key Stage 3
At KS3 science is organised into a series of topics produced by the West Hill Science Team, in-line with the QCA KS3 Science Publication. The science is delivered in a practical manner, with an emphasis on science in the real world so pupils are able to develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through experimental and investigative work, whilst applying their knowledge to topical science issues. A ‘Thinking Skills’ programme is also embedded in the schemes of learning for years 7, 8 and 9. This is designed to improve pupil’s adaptability to the skills based assessment at KS4.
- Tissues and Transplants / Sex and Science
- Acids and Alkalis / Bubble Bangs and Burning
- Electrical Circuits / Energy and Sustainable Living
- Ecology Matters / Classification
- Materials from Earth / Solids Liquids and Gases
- Solar system and beyond / Forces and their effects
- Food and Digestion /Respiration
- Water / Materials and Recycling
- Heat Transfer / Forces and Transport
- Doctor & Disease / Ecological Relationships
- Earth Processes / Atoms Elements, Compounds and
- Light / Sound and Hearing
- Inheritance and Selection / Fit and Healthy
- Plants and Photosynthesis / Crime Scene Investigations
- Reactions of metals & Metal Compounds / Patterns of Reactivity
- Environmental Chemistry / Making New Materials
- Using Energy / Satellites and Space
- Speeding up / Pressure and Moments
Pupils' progress is monitored closely in Science. KS2 results are used as a basis for initial assessment and target setting. Pupils' are assessed by a series of end of topic tests, teacher assessment and an end of year examination in Years 7 & 8, through extended writing opportunities which use ICT and research skills and via their investigative work. In Y9 pupils take a internal SAT style examination.
Key Stage 4
In Science a variety of GCSE courses are offered to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to study Science in the manner which is most appropriate to their needs.
Pupils in 9A1 and 9B1 will be studying the three Separate Sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The course consists of module tests taken throughout Y10 and Y11. Assessment will be in the form of nine 45 minute structured answer tests. Pupils will also carry out an examined practical for each subject taken in class time.
Pupils in 9A2, 9A3, 9B2, 9B3 and 9B4 will follow the GSCE Science course, beginning in Y9 but examined in Y10 which consists of three module tests (1 in Biology, 1 in Chemistry and 1 in Physics) sat in January and June and an examined practical taken in class time. In Y11 the majority of these pupils will follow the GCSE Additional Science Course which consists of three module tests, two of which are sat in January and one in June, and an examined practical taken in class time.
A few pupils who prefer a coursework based GCSE in Y11 opt to take GCSE Additional Applied Science; this involves two pieces of coursework worth 60% of their GCSE and an exam in June worth the remaining 40%.
A small number of Pupils may also be given the opportunity to study for a BTEC First in Applied Science. This course will be offered to those pupils who may wish to follow a more vocational path through further education.
In addition to this, through the Specialist College, Gifted and Talented pupils are currently offered an opportunity to study GCSE Environmental Science and Human Health and Physiology after school.
West Hill achieved Science College Status in September 2004. As a Science College an extensive programme of events is taking place within the school and the wider community.
We currently work closely with several Primary Schools and Ashton Pupil Referral unit to offer specialist teaching of science both in our laboratories and in their own classrooms.
Other recent community collaborations have also included; conservation work with the Friends of Gorse Hall and Industrial links with Total Petrochemicals.
The Greater Manchester Challenge
The Greater Manchester Challenge is a three year programme designed to improve educational outcomes for young people in Greater Manchester delivered in partnership between Government, schools, local authorities and all those working to raise education standards.
Due to the high achievement of our pupils in Science, West Hill has been selected by the Greater Manchester Challenge as one of three schools to work as a Science hub, offering guidance to other schools in the Greater Manchester area.