“Science is an imaginative adventure of the mind seeking truth in a world of mystery.”

Sir Cyril Herman Hinshelwood (1897-1967), English chemist and Nobel Laureate

 

Science looks to answer the question “why?”, from the scale of leptons to the scale of universes, for all things living and not living. In beginning to do so, it seems as if the more we understand, the more there is to find out. Our teaching at King’s Ely embraces this spirit of enquiry and our students are encouraged and supported to question rather than assume.

At King’s Ely, Science is taught in three separate disciplines – Physics, Chemistry and Biology. All teaching takes place in laboratories and we emphasise both the relevance and significance of practical work. Schemes of work are coordinated between the disciplines to ensure a smooth, cohesive understanding of the whole subject. Students are encouraged to look closely at the world around them, then design, construct, manage and evaluate experiments to answer the questions that spring forth.

We attend lectures, seminars and workshops at Cambridge University on a regular basis but also delight in inviting eminent scientists into our lessons here in Ely.

At GCSE, students are offered the option of pursuing either separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics qualifications (Triple Award) or a combined wide ranging Science qualification (Double Award). At A Level, the three disciplines follow their own, distinct examination syllabi.

Specific information on the three scientific disciplines can be found below:

 

Biology

 

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

 

How are we able to read the information on this website? How do we respond to the world around us? The way our bodies work, process information and respond to the world around us is all about our internal make-up; our biology. How do the choices we make, the houses we live in, the holidays we take, the recycling we do, impact on the world around us? The way our actions impact on the environment and change it in the future is all part of Biology.

The Biology department at King’s Ely Senior offers an educational programme filled with hands-on practicals and demonstrations designed to engage the mind and body to help us gain glimpses both into the world around us and within our own bodies.

Beyond the timetabled lessons, we run a bi-weekly Biology Club called the Basking Sharks, where students have the opportunity to investigate Biology of interest not confined by the curriculum. We also have close links to Cambridge University, where we attend a variety of workshops and lectures, and we enter national Biology National competitions to great success.

We follow the AQA specification from Years 9 to 11 and the OCR specification in Years 12 and 13, in both cases covering the range in scale from the Biology of individual organelles within a cell to the interactions of whole ecosystems and various levels in between.

Every year, students leave the school to follow degrees in a variety of areas that benefit from A Level Biology, such as Biology, Biochemistry, Ecology and Medicine.

 

Chemistry

 

“Everyone who receives a liberal education today counts Chemistry among the most essential parts of his studies.”

Antoine-François Fourcroy, French Chemist

 

Civilisations are defined by the materials at their disposal. It really is amazing how far humans have developed, from using the simplest of tools made of stone and bone to the technological age we are in today. Touch screen phones, smart polymers, nanotechnology, drug discovery and fuel cells are all examples of how Chemistry has pushed the frontiers of science and technology. As a discipline, we constantly discover and advance the material world.

Our Chemistry students discover through experiment. We offer a hands-on approach to stimulate curiosity, encourage independent thought, and enrich education. Our students develop a broad toolkit of skills. As the central science, we make a variety of links to the outside world in terms of research, environment and industry. We touch the boundaries of Biology and Physics, in order to reflect the increasing interdisciplinary approach of modern science.

The AQA GCSE course provides a firm, qualitative grounding in the fundamentals of Chemistry, including the importance of our responsibility to the environment. Students leave with a broad knowledge base, an ability to think logically, and an appreciation of their individual responsibility to the planet as a whole.

The AQA A Level course provides more sophisticated models of the fundamental theories introduced at GCSE and introduces the intricacies of organic chemistry mechanisms. Problem-solving and the manipulation of models through mathematics is central to the course.

Students leave with enviable expertise, making them desirable applicants for university courses. About half of our A level students use aspects of their A level in Chemistry in their degree course, which go beyond just Chemistry to include Biochemistry, Engineering, Medicine and the world of Finance.

 

 

Physics

 

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.”

Marie Curie, Nuclear Physicist and double Nobel laureate

 

The blue shift of Andromeda, the weightlessness one feels in orbit, the sonic boom of a supersonic aeroplane, the premature aging of a slow moving twin, the inevitable certainty of a random distribution, the wonder of 300,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, the complexity of a single atom, the universal existence of a photon: all of these phenomena are explained and justified by the Physics we teach here at King’s Ely.

Science without evidence appears to be merely magic. Therefore, we focus on providing primary pupil experienced evidence for all that we teach. We were one of the original Nuffield Project pilot schools in the 1970s and 80s and we retain much of that pioneering educational philosophy within the department to this day. At the same time, we ensure that all of our students are well supported in their approach to examinations. We consistently outperform nationally averaged expectations by some margin.

The AQA GCSE course provides a broad foundation for A Level, covering the topics of Waves, Forces, Energy, Electricity, Electromagnetism Nuclear Physics and Space. At A Level, we follow the Advancing Physics OCR ‘B’ course. This course adds more context and depth as well as introducing the topics of Materials, Digital Information, Quantum Physics, Relativity, Thermodynamics and Fields.

Our students leave to study a whole host of subjects at a great range of institutions. We pride ourselves on stretching our most able students while supporting those who need it. Consequently, our physicists go on to read many differing subjects at university, including Physics, various strands of Engineering, Design, Architecture, Computing, and Economics at a range of universities, including Oxbridge, Russell Group and beyond.