The Science department at South Wilts is a vibrant and busy place with a large team of staff supporting so many students! As a core part of the curriculum all the students in the lower school study Science, with the GCSEs in the three separate Sciences starting in Year 9. At A level we offer Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Physics, teaching nearly half of all the Sixth Form students, many of whom choose Science based courses for their higher education.
We are lucky to have excellent facilities with six full-sized and two smaller laboratories with four prep room and a Science classroom. Laboratories were refurbished in summer 2006 and 2009, with an additional small laboratory created in 2009.
As well as their excellent exam results students have been successful in Science competitions including the Salters Festival of Chemistry, the RSC Top of the Bench competition, and the A level Olympiads in both Biology and Physics. Also, beyond the classroom, students have attended lectures, tours and open events, with some of these being coordinated with Bishop Wordsworth’s School.
In the Spring of each year, to coincide with National Science and Engineering week, the Year 10 students have a day of activities dedicated to Science. “Science Day” has featured, amongst other things, presentations on particle theory, astronomy, microbiology, robotics and a chance to ‘meet the scientist’ with visiting scientists coming from [dstl], QinetiQ and HPA amongst others.
Students have also had opportunities to work in the field including Year 8 going to Langford Lakes during activities week to compare pond and stream habitats, and create dichotomous keys.
The A level Biologists carried out a day of field work at Leeson House and its environs. Students saw live small mammals and moths that had been trapped overnight, and the ringing of birds netted that morning. They also sampled both the dunes at Studland and the River Piddle, where eels were the catch of the day.
The A level Geologists have had many opportunities in the field, visiting Vallis Vale, Whatley Quarry, Kimmeridge, Osmington and Tenerife, experiencing volcanology, planetology, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironments at first hand.
In April 2009 the school was awarded a second specialism in Science, which has helped to support the Science club and our work with primary schools.
The Science Club is for Years 7 and 8, with many sixth form helpers. They all enjoy Science Club enormously and their adventures have included levitating tea bags, coke fountains, thermite reactions, walking on custard, water rockets and building model volcanoes.
Groups of Year 6 students from nearby Primary Schools have been regular visitors to the school. They have the opportunity to undertake an afternoon of Science activities in our laboratories when they could solve a ‘murder’ mystery, investigate pond organisms or design and build rockets or trebuchets.