Strong, dedicated team in science
Targeted revision sessions, separate coursework days, and holiday sessions, have secured excellent progress for students in Science, with 50% of students expected to achieve A* to A grades in the Triple Science Award at the end of the academic year.
By having targeted intervention groups with top performing students, and separate tutor groups and intervention for Year 11s, our pupil premium students are closing the gap in terms of their performance compared to other students.
Explaining the department’s focus on doing things a bit differently, Emily Sumerling, Head of Science, said, “We have incorporated new, lecture-style revision sessions for students with hand-outs and interactive practical sessions like dissection, helping students to learn in a more ‘hands-on’ way.
“There is a big focus on gifted and talented (G&T) students across the Year groups, with an emphasis on differentiation and getting the best out of every child. The new system of evaluation in Key Stage 4 called Progress 8, means that every individual grade matters, rather than focussing on wider level boundaries. A new challenge of ‘Life Without Levels’ at KS3, has energised us and we’re excited about the system which is helping us to raise standards all the time.”
Among the extra-curricular projects our G&T students have been involved in this year are a STEM challenge in which our Year 9 students won the regional final, and a group of our students attended a day event at Solihull College in March to learn more about sustainability and conservation.
The Academy’s ECO site provides students with an excellent introduction to Science and the opportunity to learn outside the classroom. Emily said, “Last year the site produced so much produce that the canteen used some in their food. The students also won the ‘Solihull in Bloom’ bronze award for their recycled greenhouse, a project which helped us to incorporate nature and conservation into the school curriculum. The students learn so much better outside and really enjoy the ECO site which enables us to teach conservation, ecosystems, lifecycles and plants in a hands-on and engaging way, putting the subjects into context for students.”
Emily Sumerling explained that the department is trying to excite younger Year 5 students in Science as well, encouraging them to visit Grace Academy and take part in exciting experiments they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to see. Emily said, “We set up our own planetarium and took 70 Year 5 students from our feeder schools for a walk through the solar system so they could learn how it was formed. Other subjects we have covered with Year 5 G&T students are microscopy, human anatomy, circuits and respiration.”
Speaking about the strength of the Science Department, Emily added, “We have a very strong, dedicated team with loads of enthusiasm and skills, and a love of their subject. We are committed to engaging students through a variety of activities to get the best out of every child at every stage of their learning.”