at Cockermouth School


Student-centred learning is the core principle of the Science Department. We are able to provide an individualised learning experience for students through continued investment in the best staff development, equipment, IT systems and resources.  We employ a discovery learning approach by putting scientific practical experiences in the hands of all our students as they progress through the Key Stages.  The extra-curricular profile of our department is extensive including visits to the CERN Large Hadron Collider, sending balloons into space and many partnerships with local industries.  The success of our student-focused approach is evidenced by vast A Level numbers and a constant number of student spending extra time in the department with their teachers.

Imparting passion for our subject to students of all abilities is incredibly important to our staff.  We constantly work together to refine our Curriculum and develop new strategies to overcome barriers to engagement in Science.

Virtual Learning Environment

What sets the Cockermouth School Science Departments apart is it’s virtual learning environment.  Lessons are available online including videos of experiments and demos, explanation, worksheets, extensions and even exemplar exercise book to model the quality of work expected.  Here students can revisit lessons to consolidate their learning, reflect and improve their work. The VLE teaches students to study what will happen in their lessons before they arrive confident and ready to learn.  As a result maximum value can be extracted from their time with teachers  The Science Department VLE aims to incorporate parents into our academic community by allowing students to share their Science lessons with their parents at home.

Key Stage 3

Students in Year 7 will follow a scheme of work written by our own experienced teachers designed to build positive relationships between students and the Science teachers.  As a result the students become confident in their laboratory and inquiry skills in Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics namely: Forces, Electricity, Acids and Alkalis, Adaptions Cells and Reproduction. The desired outcome from Key Stage 3 Science is a confident child ready to problem solve, investigate, question and aspire. The students are taught 3 lessons per week in mixed ability groups.

Assessment is ongoing throughout the year by formative assessment tasks.  There are two formal exams: one at Christmas and one in Summer.  Students will also receive routine written and oral feedback through practical investigations, homework exercises and extended scientific literacy tasks.

Key Stage 4

Through the strength of the relationships built between the Science staff and the student body at Key Stage 3 students arrive in Key Stage 4 confident in that their teachers will give them the best possible to succeed in their GCSEs.  The theme of practical discovery learning where students are free to explore practical and theoretical strategies and most importantly not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.  Biology topics include: Disease, Adaptions, Nervous and Digestive Systems, Gene Technology and Inheritance, Evolution, Cells and Enzymes.  Chemistry topics include Atomic Structure, Periodic Table, Chemistry of Metals, Rates of Reaction, Oil and Organic Chemistry.  Physics topics include Kinetic Theory, Waves, Electricity, Mechanics and Radiation.

Schemes of work are written in-house by extremely experienced teachers specifically for the AQA examination board.  Schemes are improved year on year to support students in the areas that they find the difficult and extend the students in areas they find inspiring.

Triple Science is offered by the Cockermouth School Science Department.

Outside lesson support as Key Stage 4 is strong, Biology, Chemistry and Physics departments all run centralised revision classes throughout Year 11.  This gives the students access to Heads of Subject and an opportunity to be part of an academic community.

The extra-curricular profile of the department is strong with links to React engineering resulting in students launching a hot air balloon into space to take footage of the stratosphere

Key Stage 5

Due the strengthening of academic community during Key Stage 4 students uptake of Science A Levels is very encouraging, we currently have over 250 Science A Level students at Cockermouth School  including 100 Physicists.  The department is extremely well resourced and the practical work from Key Stages 3 and 4 is amplified and the students use their confidence from previous Key Stages to become increasingly independent.  Students are given online preparation exercises so that they can arrive to all lessons already aware of the topic and make maximum use of their contact time.  A Level Sciences at Cockermouth School are not confined to the five weekly lessons, students constantly visit staff outside of lessons informally to ask questions to unlock challenging homework.  Formal help sessions, similar to the GCSE sessions are laid on weekly and uptake among students is high. Extra mathematical support is laid on by the department in terms of extra timetabled lessons and online courses prepared by the department.

The department takes its role in supporting students for University and Apprenticeship application seriously and extra interview preparation sessions where stretch and challenge sessions are laid on.

A Levels offered are Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Applied Science.

Outside the Classroom

The Science Department offers students a great deal of extra help and tuition outside of lesson time. Staff are always on hand at lunch times to offer individuals or small groups the required support and guidance. Outside of school the department puts on and gets involved in Balloon projects with React engineering, rocket displays for Primary school children and runs a very successful sixth form trip to CERN in Switzerland.