Our Faculty Mission Statement is:

The Science department at St James’ is committed to providing excellence in the three disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Our mission is to develop global Catholic citizens who:

  • are a family of aspirational, independent learners who think critically and are curious and adaptable
  • are highly skilled, knowledgeable, scientifically literate problem solvers
  • are aware of natural phenomena and the complexity of global scientific issues and use learned principles, together with their faith, in order to understand them.

The Science faculty has created a knowledge-rich curriculum that aims to build global Catholic citizens through two clear objectives – to develop a love of the sciences, and to inspire students to go on to further study at Key Stage 4 and beyond, perhaps even to follow a  local or national career in the sciences. We want students to be able to explain how things work, by both using their scientific knowledge and understanding the application of science in the real world.

Within lessons, we emphasise the need to be able to apply knowledge to practical situations. The experiments carried out in class focus on the development of skills, using a range of different techniques and apparatus to obtain and analyse results. The teaching of mathematical skills also plays an integral role in the understanding of science and this is regularly taught and practised in class.

To begin with, students look at cells as the basic building block of life and how these differ within the natural world. Students then continue the concept of ‘all things small’ in the chemistry topic of solids, liquids and gases and how these can be represented within the particle model. Electricity covers how basic circuits are arranged and what causes electrical components, such as a light bulb to work. Atoms, elements and molecules explores how elements found in the periodic table can be formed and  arranged differently to make a brand new substance. Revisiting the previous work done in cells, we look at how different animals reproduce, the adaptations of sex cells and gestation periods. We explore how acids and alkalis are used in the everyday world but also how they can be dangerous. Linking with PE, the topic fit and healthy looks at how we move and how drugs can affect our body systems. This follows onto the physics topic of forces and how different objects interact to cause motion and change in direction or speed. Returning to chemistry, we look at a range of different separating techniques that are used in industry to form a required product. In the final half term, the physics topics of energy and sound are studied and the different mechanisms of how sound and energy are transferred. Ecosystems completes year 7 looking at the interactions within nature of both plants and animals and how each depend on each other for survival.

In year 8, most of the topics covered expand on previously taught concepts from year 7 with the addition of some new areas. Students begin by studying the different nutrient groups and balanced diets. Students learn how the periodic table is arranged, and look at the work of Mendeleev and the patterns he observed. This follows on to the next topic of materials and their uses and how the properties of a combination of elements can be exploited in the real world to serve a wide range of functions from making clothes to designing a rocket. The physics topic of light looks at how it is created, transmitted and interacts with matter. Building upon the year 7 topic of fit and healthy, and again linking with PE, the topic of breathing and respiration looks at all living organisms and how they respond to stimuli. Linking with geography, the topic of rocks is studied which looks at how a range of different rocks are created on earth and how plate tectonics shape the world around us. Returning to biology, we investigate plant reproduction and how this can lead to variations in plants found around the world. The topic of microbes focuses on the microscopic world of disease and how this can cause illness but also how the body can fight and protect us from becoming ill. Earth and space teaches students how objects such as stars and planets interact leading to seasons, different length of days and years and how we have created satellites on earth to help us in modern day life.

In the final half term, the chemistry topic of combustion looks at the advantages and disadvantages associated with using fuels and what is needed to replace this finite resource to maintain our quality of life. The final topic of fluids focuses on how we can design objects to travel through air and water efficiently including what is done in sports science to make athletes successful and in industry to design efficient automobiles.

Within year 9, the biology topic of growing our food develops the year 8 topic of food and nutrition with the emphasis of how famers maximise the growing potential of their crops through use of modern technology. Genetics and evolution adds to the basic concepts of cells but looks more at DNA and how this varies within a species to produce a range of different characteristics. Within chemistry, the topic of reactivity explores how substances can displace each other due to their position within the periodic table and why elements such as gold are found in pure form in rocks. The final physics topic explores in more depth the relationship between forces and motion and how this can be analysed mathematically in both equation form and from graphs.

We aim to develop enquiring minds within our young people and a natural curiosity for the world of science around them. It is the intention that students will develop a love for science and a desire to want to know more at Key Stage 4 and beyond.

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

Marie Curie

Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26