The Science Department aims to stimulate curiosity so that pupils explore areas they become passionate about. Girls develop critical skills such as investigation, evaluation and application of information, which are relevant not only in Science but in everyday life; this engenders a sense of independence that is unique to our school.
The Science Department consists of the three distinct disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Biology is the study of all living organisms and how they interact with their surrounding environment. It is a diverse and fascinating subject, linking the molecules which make us to our interaction with the biosphere that surrounds us.
At St Augustine’s Priory we enrich the pupils’ experience of Biology by the use of our fantastic grounds; the large space that we occupy is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life which we study throughout the school.
Chemistry involves the study of the substances of which matter is composed, the investigation of their properties and reactions, and the use of such reactions to form new substances. It links with Biology in explaining how chemical processes make living things ‘work’, and with Physics in areas such as material science and spectroscopy.
St Augustine’s Priory girls perform extremely well in Science A Levels, including a Chemistry pupil scoring one of the highest marks in the UK in 2014. Many pupils go onto to study Medicine and Dentistry at top universities.
At St Augustine’s Priory we enrich the pupils’ experience of Chemistry by entering well-known competitions, such as ‘Top of the Bench’. The added excitement of competing against other schools is one the pupils relish. The Chemistry Department also participates in Imperial’s outreach programme where the university brings high-tech equipment into the School to demonstrate topics such as mass spectrometry.
In Physics we teach the pupils about how the Universe works, from the interactions of charged particles to the internal workings of stars. Pupils develop scientific thinking through investigation, and are encouraged to challenge themselves through project work and extension tasks.
At St Augustine’s Priory we enrich the pupils’ experience of Physics by offering visits targeted to the individual Year groups. Annually we send the Sixth Form pupils to the Institute of Education to hear a series of lectures which are at the cutting edge of Physics.
Preps and Juniors
Science is a core subject of the National Curriculum. The study of Science helps pupils to understand the world around them, to explain natural phenomena, to predict how things will behave, and to develop their natural curiosity. Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding are developed through the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer scientific questions and to understand the nature, processes and methods of Science. These ‘Working Scientifically’ skills are embedded in the study of the content and are developed throughout the Prep and Junior school, preparing them well for the study of Science in the Senior school.
Pupils are encouraged to ask questions and to evaluate and extend their learning in Science as far as possible.
Form III to Lower IV
The Department follows a two-year program of study which follows the National Curriculum for Biology Chemistry and Physics. The course is designed to develop a firm foundation of knowledge, and skill set in preparation for the iGCSE course.
Upper IV – Upper V
Pupils follow the Edexcel International GCSE Science course in Biology, Chemistry and Physics which is specifically tailored to build on the foundation concepts in Upper IV and develops the most advanced concepts by Upper V.
In Lower V, our most able students can opt to take Triple Science, while the remainder of the cohort follow the Double Award course. Under certain circumstances, we can also offer Single Award Combined Science.
Within the Triple cohort, there is an opportunity for pupils to complete Exceptional Progress Tasks, ‘EPTs’. These introduce more demanding concepts and a solid foundation of knowledge which will prepare them for A Level Sciences.
Lower VI to Upper VI (Key Stage 5)
At A Level the Department follows the OCR specification for all 3 sciences. Please see the Priory 6 subject handbook for more detail on A Level Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
Follow this link to read about one of our Sixth Form Science students’ contribution to British Science Week 2016, and her blog being published by the Girls’ Schools Association: http://sapriory.com/priory-post/sixth-form-students-blog-published-gsa/