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Plympton Academy

SCIENCE

For information about Seneca, please see attachments at the end of the page.


Meet the Science Team

Miss Emma Hagan (Head of Department)

Hello and welcome to the Science Department at Plympton Academy.

My name is Miss Hagan and I am Head of this amazing department. 

I have been teaching for 12 years and have worked at three other schools prior to Plympton Academy. I have had a range of responsibilities during my teaching career from KS3 Science Coordinator to Initial Teacher Training Coordinator and I am very much looking forward to this new role at the Academy.

My background is in Biochemistry and Human Biosciences which I studied at University. I went on to further education where I linked Citizenship and Science, with particular interest in the studies of Zoology at Masters level. In addition, I studied the ‘Neurology of Pain’ with particular focus on the bodies adaptability to pain in different contexts which was extremely interesting. I teach all three Sciences to GCSE level and specialise in Biology and Chemistry at A Level.

In my spare time I like exploring different walks with my Labrador Max. I play netball in the prem A Plymouth and District league and I love to drive.

I very much look forward to answering any Science questions that you may have and I hope to inspire future Scientists to ask questions, discover, explore and invent.


Mrs Donna Taylor (Head of KS3)

I am Mrs Taylor and I am a local girl. I attended Estover Comprehensive before studying for a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Plymouth. I went on to study at Bath for my PGCE and the University of York to gain The Certificate in Chemistry Education (Second Specialism). I spent 23 years teaching Science across three counties in the UK and in New Zealand.

I have a passion for how and why things in the world around us work and I love the outdoors.  I have 4 children, 3 chickens, 2 ducks, 2 rats and a dog - they keep me busy!


Mr Paul McCormack (SLT Science Link)

 

 

 


Mr James Yates

This will be my fourth year here at Plympton Academy. I teach Science; mainly Physics this year, but I love Biology!!! I graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2006 and my dissertation was on Monkey behaviour.

I’m married to Katie who is also a teacher and I have a two year old son called Clark (yes he is named after Superman). He is crazy and loves Ice cream!!!

I’m a very sporty person and still play football for a team. I have been lucky enough to play in the FA Cup and play against a few professional teams in the past including Sheffield United, Plymouth Argyle and Leicester City. As well as football I really like basketball and support the New York Knicks. 


Mr Ian McFarlane

Hello everyone, I'm Mr McFarlane and I am a Science Teacher here at Plympton Academy. I have always had a passion for Science, especially Biology, as I love being outside and watching nature at work. I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and specialised in Human Nutrition. This was a very interesting course which allowed me to learn a lot of interesting things about the human body. I have also worked as a Tutor for the Field Studies council which involved taking groups of students to the mountains and the coast to study different aspects of Biology, Ecology and Geography. When I am not at school you will find me either rock-climbing, cycling or walking on Dartmoor. In fact, one of my goals for the next two years is to finish walking all 630 miles of the South West Coast path (I'm currently about halfway!). I'm always happy to help, so if you see me around school and have a science question, or you want to talk about climbing, please don't hesitate.


Mr Alfie Suter

I am Mr Suter. I became a Science Teacher because when I was doing my A Levels I had an inspirational Biology Teacher. He made Science seem like the most interesting thing in the world. I achieved a first class honours degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences from the University of Exeter. I have a particular interest in Exercise Physiology, Sport Psychology and Nutrition. To me, Science is a fascinating subject and I hope I can convince you of this too. 


Mrs Zea Strachan

Science has always been a passion. From an early age I have been asking questions about what I observed around me. I was lucky enough to have two inspiring teachers that taught me that Science not only allowed me to answer those questions but gave me tools and skills to discover more.  When applying to University I decided I wanted a course that allowed me to study a broad range of subjects in the first year but then specialise in Chemistry for the final two years so embarked on a degree in Environmental Science. It was during this time that I discovered the love of sharing knowledge and the challenge of explaining ideas to others, seeing them become as passionate as myself and discovering the beauty of the subject that fascinates me.


Dr Philip Knight

I am Dr Knight. I studied Science at the University of Birmingham and then the University of Oxford. This means I have two degrees, and the second degree was a PhD, which allows me to use the title 'Doctor'. Don't be confused - if you are ill don't come to see me - make an appointment with your GP instead! I have always loved science because it makes sense of the world about us. In my specialist area - Physics -  knowing a few key ideas allows you to understand most of what happens around us, from electricity to space, from tiny atoms to huge galaxies. That's why learning science is such a powerful thing. In my spare time I run and cycle around the roads and lanes of Devon.


Miss Sarah Rust Ashford

I'm Miss Rust Ashford, I teach Science. I studied at Cardiff University and I have a degree in Neuroscience. I love Science because it is for everybody. Everyone has questions about how the world around us works, science feeds and nurtures this curiosity. In my spare time, I will find any excuse to be outside. We live too close to the beautiful South West coastline to miss out on it. 


Mr Robert Staniforth

I left school after post 16 having studied Maths. Further Maths, Physics and  Chemistry to A level and went into industry where I studied further through day release to get an HNC in Chemistry along with other qualifications to enable me to become a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I worked as a Product Development Chemist, developing and modifying Industrustrial Lubricants at a company called Acheson Colloids who became a subsidiary of ICI. I did this for 24 years working with such companies as Rolls Royce, London Underground and many others. I then led a small team of purchasers / planners working for Acer Computers making sure that the repair centers across Europe, Middle East and Africa had enough spare parts to repair any faulty machines.

In my spare time I have a 50 year old classic Triumph car which I run and maintain.


Mr Mark Budge

I have always had a passion for Maths and the Sciences, they were always my strongest subjects and my choices at A-level and university reflected that. This has led me to my role as Science Technician and Teaching Assistant supporting the department in and out of the classroom to the best of my ability.


Mr Alan Dickins

Hi I’m Mr Dickins. I grew up locally in Plympton before leaving to go and study Medical Microbiology and Virology at the University of Warwick. After finishing my degree, I then went on to complete a Masters in Medical Microbiology and Virology specialising in Epidemiology. Once I had graduated I worked as part of a research team that was investigating a gruesome disease called Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis that causes a sheep’s foot to be eaten away and fall off. Through my work I discovered for the first time, how this disease is transmitted, how to minimise it’s spread and how many farms in the UK are affected by it. This research was published in a leading scientific journal which was amazing and I also learnt how to wrestle sheep as an added bonus. Before teaching I had a number of different scientific jobs and ended up working in a Sexual Transmitted Infection Clinic (which was as gross as it sounds) and then a laboratory testing blood samples from elite sports people. My slightly odd claim to fame is that I’ve tested the blood of members of the GB Rowing team, Redbull F1 team and Arsenal and Liverpool football teams.


Science in Key Stage 3

Our bespoke KS3 Science course equips students for the rigour of GCSE Science and, as such, develops scientific working skills alongside the theory that supports transition to KS4 at the end of Year 8.

Over the two years of KS3, students will learn the fundamentals of the three science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics through small units umbrellaed under an overarching concept. This allows students to build on previous knowledge throughout the course, with regular assessment to monitor academic progress (please see our curriculum map for further detail).  It is our aim to develop students' curiosity for the world around them and to leave KS3 fully equipped for independent learning on their journey through KS4.

KS3 Timeline

 

Science in Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

We begin our GCSE journey in Year 9 at Plympton Academy. 

KS4 Science spans three years (Yr 9-11) and all GCSE assessments take place in May/June of Year 11.

We follow the AQA Combined Trilogy course where students achieve two grades at the end of year 11. 

Throughout the course there is a practical element. This is no longer examined as a coursework element. Instead, questions relating to practicals, undertaken during lessons, appear throughout each exam paper.

There are six exam papers sat at the end of Year 11; two Biology, two Chemistry and two Physics assessments. The first grade achieved is an average of all paper 1 sciences, the second grade is an average of all paper 2 sciences.

AQA Science Specification

KS4 Timeline

 

Science in Key Stage 5

At Plympton Academy we have four options for further education and exploration in the Sciences.

  • A Level Biology
  • A Level Chemistry
  • A Level Physics
  • Level 3 BTEC Applied Science

Please see further information below on the courses available and the GCSE requirements for these courses.

 

KS5 Biology

This is a two year course leading to an A Level qualification. 

Biology is a fascinating course which builds upon GCSE and covers a wide variety of topics, including cell structure and microscopy, the anatomy and physiology of mammals and plants, Biodiversity and Ecology as well as the biochemistry of respiration and photosynthesis. It develops statistical skills and challenges your understanding.

A Level Biology can lead to a huge variety of career options and it is always highly valued as one of the hardest and core A Level subjects.

If you want to develop and nurture your love of the living world, whilst building a variety of analytical and thinking skills, then Biology is the subject for you. 

Minimum GCSE entry requirements

Combined Science (Trilogy) - grade 6-6
Maths - grade 6
English - grade 6 

Exam board and code

OCR A Biology H420

Teaching Time

10 hours of teaching time per fortnight.
Expectations for homework and revision - 15 hours per week

Modules

  • Module 1 - Development of practical skills in Biology
  • Module 2 - Foundations in Biology
  • Module 3 - Exchange and Transport
  • Module 4 - Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease
  • Module 5 - Communication,Homeostasis and Energy
  • Module 6 - Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems

Assessment

Papers will be sat in May/June of Year 2 (Year 13).

  • Paper 1 - Biological Processes - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5 (37% of total A Level)
  • Paper 2 -Biological Diversity - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6 (37% of total A Level)
  • Papers 3 - Unified Biology - 1hr 30min - All modules (1-6) (26% of total A Level)
  • Paper 4 - Practical endorsement - 12 practicals will be sat over the course of the two year A Level. These skills will be assessed by your teacher(s) and the practical endorsement will be awarded if these skills are met and completed. In each paper there will be questions based on the 12 practicals completed.

Careers

Research scientist, Pharmacologist, Biologist, Ecologist, Biotechnologist, Forensic Biologist, Neurologist, Nature Conservation Officer, Biomedic, Medicine, Dentistry, Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Veterinary Medicine...

 

KS5 Chemistry

This is a two year course leading to an A Level qualification. 

Chemistry is everywhere!

Results in Chemistry can be groundbreaking, colourful, explosive and sometimes difficult to see.

Chemists use their experiments and knowledge to develop medicines, foods, fabrics and other materials from neon lights to shatterproof glass. They also use it to study the world around us, from leaf colour change to analysing invisible matter.

Chemistry is often known as the ‘central science’ because it helps to connect physical sciences (Physics and Mathematics) with applied sciences (Biology, Medicine and Engineering). If you are interested in the Chemistry of inorganic and organic matter and looking for an exciting and interesting challenge then Chemistry is definitely the subject for you!

Minimum GCSE entry requirements

Combined Science (Trilogy) - grade 6-6
Maths - grade 6

Exam board and code

OCR A Chemistry H432

Teaching Time

10 hours of teaching time per fortnight.
Expectations for homework and revision - 15 hours per week

Modules

  • Module 1 - Development of practical skills in Chemistry
  • Module 2 - Foundations in Chemistry
  • Module 3 - Periodic Table and Energy
  • Module 4 - Core Organic Chemistry
  • Module 5 - Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements
  • Module 6 - Organic Chemistry and Analysis

Assessment

Papers will be sat in May/June of Year 2 (Year 13).

  • Paper 1 - Periodic Table, Elements and Physical Chemistry - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5 (37% of total A Level)
  • Paper 2 - Synthesis and Analytical Techniques - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6 (37% of total A Level)
  • Papers 3 - Unified Chemistry - 1hr 30min - All modules (1-6) (26% of total A Level)
  • Paper 4 - Practical endorsement - 12 practicals will be sat over the course of the two year A Level. These skills will be assessed by your teacher(s) and the practical endorsement will be awarded if these skills are met and completed. In each paper there will be questions based on the 12 practicals completed.

Careers

Chemistry will help you in all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and careers, and more besides. Examples include: Medicine, Environmental Science, Engineering, Nanotechnologist, Clinical Scientist, Dentistry, Toxicology, developing perfumes and cosmetics, Teaching, Software development and research.

There are many career opportunities available and Chemistry is highly favoured in all further education platforms.

 

KS5 Physics

This is a 2-year course leading to an A Level qualification.  It is a fascinating course which builds on GCSE and covers a wide variety of topics in Physics, including Space Physics and Medical Physics.  It develops determination, mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities, and can lead to a huge range of careers options.  A Physics A Level is highly valued by employers, trainers and universities alike.  It can lead to careers in almost any industry, from engineering and medicine to accountancy, business and education.  If you want to develop your thinking skills, your earning potential and have a sound understanding of the world around you, this is the course to choose!

Minimum GCSE Entry Requirements

GCSE Combined Science - Grade 6-6
GCSE Mathematics - Grade 6

Exam board and code

OCR Physics A H556

Teaching Time

10 hours of teaching time per fortnight.
Expectations for homework and revision - 15 hours per week

Modules

  • Module 1 - Development of practical skills in Physics
  • Module 2 - Foundations in Physics
  • Module 3 - Forces and Motion
  • Module 4 - Electrons, waves and photons
  • Module 5 - Newtonian world and astrophysics
  • Module 6 - Particles and medical Physics

Assessment

Papers will be sat in May/June of Year 2 (Year 13).

  • Paper 1 - Modelling Physics - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5 (37% of total A Level)
  • Paper 2 - Exploring Physics - 2hr 15min - Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6 (37% of total A Level)
  • Papers 3 - Unified Physics - 1hr 30min - All modules (1-6) (26% of total A Level)
  • Paper 4 - Practical endorsement - 12 practicals will be sat over the course of the two year A Level. These skills will be assessed by your teacher(s) and the practical endorsement will be awarded if these skills are met and completed. In each paper there will be questions based on the 12 practicals completed.


KS5 Applied Science

Requirements of the course

Combined Science Trilogy - Grade 5-5 or above
Mathematics - Grade 5

Exam board

Pearson

Units studied

Year 12

Unit studied

How is it assessed?

Unit 1- Principles and applications of Science -90 GLH

3 x 40 minute exams. 1 biology 1 chemistry 1 physics.

Unit 2- Practical scientific procedures and techniques     -90 GLH

4 Assignments-. 3 are based around specific practical techniques. 1 is a review of the skills developed across the previous 3 assignments.

 

 

Year 13

Unit studied

How is it assessed

Unit 3- Scientific investigation skills 120 GLH

1 exam (90 mins)- which is based around practical skills. There is a practical investigation which has to be undertaken prior to the exam.

Unit 8- Physiology of human body systems 60 GLH

3 Assignments. 1. Muscular-skeletal system. 2. Lymphatic system 3.Digestive system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possible Careers

Past students who studied Applied Science have gone onto careers in nursing, paramedicine, physiotherapy and many more. 

Teaching Team

You will have two/three teachers who will deliver the course material and assess your work.  

Miss Hagan will internally verify a sample of assignment work completed by the class.  

A Standards Verifier (external person appointed by Pearson) will check a sample of assignment work to ensure that national standards are being met.

Teaching and learning

This will be done through delivery of structured lessons, informal and formal assessments and external assessments.

You will be able to access support in the same way that you would do for any other qualification in school.

It is important that you seek support when needed.

Assessment and Verification

All BTEC qualifications are regulated by rules regarding the management of the quality of assessment of learning and the awarding of grades.  You will not be expected to complete a formal assessment to demonstrate your understanding of a topic, or part of a topic, until all relevant teaching has been completed.

Internal Assessment

The content of the assessment will be outlined on an Assignment Brief; the design of these will be explained when relevant in the programme delivery.  For every assessment there will be a clear deadline by which the work must be submitted to your assessor (teacher). There is a  submission policy in place for BTEC assignments.  However, it is also understood that under certain conditions it might be appropriate to allow a learner an additional opportunity to achieve more.

You must understand that for the Lead Internal Verifier of your course to be able to authorise a resubmission these conditions must be met:

  • A learner has handed in their initial submission by the published deadline (or applied for an extension in line with published procedures)

  • A learner has confirmed that their submission was their own work and/or appropriately acknowledged another’s work

  • The assessor has authenticated the learner’s submission and believes that the learner can improve their submission independently with no further teaching

Your work will be marked within two weeks, following that a sample of the assessments will be checked by another member of the teaching team to ensure the grading is fair and accurate.  Once this has been completed you will be given your grade for that assignment and feedback which will help you to improve and develop your skills.

External Assessment

To meet the needs and feedback of employers and Higher Education there has been an increase in the rigour and robustness to the way BTECs are assessed. This comes through the introduction of external assessment i.e. Pearson formally marks and grades external units. The aim of external assessment is to help prepare learners to fulfil their potential in either the world of work or progress to further study. 

The external units on your qualification will be assessed through a written examination which lasts for 1.5 hrs.

Malpractice/plagiarism

You will be asked to sign a learner declaration for each piece of coursework submitted.  This is you signing to say that the work submitted is your own.

You need to be aware of plagiarism and ensure that your work is your own.

In all cases your teacher will advise you on how work should be presented and on appropriate sources of information that could be used.