The study of science is about making sense of the world around us. It enhances natural curiosity and teaches pupils how to question and investigate what they observe. At St Hugh’s science is seen as a vital part of every child’s education. The science curriculum aims to:
- Inspire students with a desire to find out more about the world in which they live through observation, questioning and investigation and provide them with the skills required to follow their interests and find answers to their questions
- Encourage awareness of and responsibility for the way in which their actions can affect the environment
- Develop an understanding of the importance of experimental evidence and a methodical and rigorous approach to investigation, using a variety of techniques, including practical work and the use of ICT facilities such as datalogging and the internet
- Provide a historical perspective to their work, allowing them to see how the work of scientists through the ages underpins scientific and technological development
- Encourage awareness of the moral and ethical issues associated with scientific discoveries
Science is studied at all levels in the school. In Pre-Prep, it is taught as part of the termly topic, encouraging understanding of the way in which science is integral to our lives. From Middle School upwards, the subject is taught by specialist teachers in well equipped laboratories. We teach a combined science curriculum, although in the final two years the subjects are more clearly defined in preparation for the three separate papers at 13+ Common Entrance.
The approach is strongly practical with an emphasis on developing skills and an awareness of the need to work safely at all times. There are opportunities for open-ended investigative work and pupils are encouraged to try out their own ideas in order to develop their scientific knowledge and understanding.
Pupils of all ages are encouraged to develop awareness of the natural world through fieldwork, both in the school’s extensive grounds and through visits to other habitats, including the Coln Valley where we are able to combine science and geography in a river study and the Birds of Prey centre at Millets Farm.
The younger pupils also benefit from their participation in Forest School. The city of Oxford offers further opportunities for learning outside the classroom through visits to the University Museum of Natural History, The Botanic Garden and Science Oxford.
Teams of pupils from St Hugh’s participate in events such as the Oxfordshire Schools Science Day and the Salters’ Chemistry Challenge, frequently winning prizes for their work.