Aim: To provide Key Stage 3 students with a wide range of extracurricular opportunities to engage them with Science and increase Triple Science uptake.
Background: A smaller after-school club programme existed already, and around 8% of the year group opted to study Triple Science at GCSE.
Year 1: The after-school club programme was developed to target a broader range of interests and clubs were advertised better to students and parents. A range of teachers and external agencies was used to keep the activities engaging, and support from the SEN/EMA department helped make them accessible to all. Activities included the ‘Five on Friday’ club, a weekly five-minute whizz-bang demo which attracted large groups and used a variety of resources to stay aligned with current events.
Year 2 : A weekly Aquaphonics club was extended and incorporated into the KS3 scheme of work (food webs) and KS4 scheme of work (nitrogen cycle). The original Year 10 members of the Aquaphonics club helped to develop a new Year 7-8 Eco-Club that conducted mini research projects and trips to ecological sites. Other pupils developed their own projects and investigations and entered competitions, winning second place at the University of Westminster Science Conference and a runner-up prize at the ‘Big Bang Near Me’ event. Their activities generated debate across Triple Science classes and resources were uploaded onto the department’s VLE for subsequent year groups to use.
Triple Science students were used as ambassadors during KS2 open events, Year 8 options evenings and during Science and Engineering week, when they ran a full-scale animal dissection, career speed dating and a cross-curricular tower-building competition.
Year 3: The Triple Science Ambassador programme was made a fixture for each new cohort, and the Science VLE was revamped to improve its usability and the quality and range of resources available. This was linked to a new Science News and Affairs board, which was promoted during lessons. Other activities included research projects and debates for KS3 students, to develop their independent learning and presentation skills, and the incorporation of six Global Awareness days (e.g. Earth Day) into schemes of work, to put Science into real-life context.
Evidence: Attendance at enrichment activities, uptake of Triple Science at GCSE.
Impact: Triple Science uptake at GCSE has gone from strength to strength, with 8% of current Year 11, 16% of Year 10, 20% of Year 9 and an anticipated 35% of Year 8 taking it. The quality of candidates and outcomes is also improving, and to be a Triple Scientist now means engaging in the Science department on a wider level than just in lessons; supporting events, organising activities for younger students and liaising with members of the school community. Pupils are now learning and achieving qualifications beyond the curriculum, and consequently pupil engagement has significantly increased.
Reflections: Moving forward, KCS will continue to ensure a range of high-quality extracurricular opportunities is provided to all students, and to make use of pupil voice to evaluate these programmes. We also aim to further stretch and challenge pupils through A Level taster sessions, and make better use of social media as an engagement tool.
Contact: Hannah Rundle, Deputy Learning Area Leader for Science, firstname.lastname@example.org