Specialist Science College

Specialist Science status has enabled us to enrich the curriculum for all students at Minsthorpe and for others in the wider community.

A wide range of activities and visits have taken place since Minsthorpe was awarded the specialism in 2003. Pupils regularly visit Universities in Leeds and Sheffield to experience Science using state of the art equipment and at Minsthorpe we’ve had Science and Society workshops, Physics and Chemistry shows, exotic animals and a space rocket to name but a few. Recently we have also started to attend a residential course at Malham Tarn with A-level Biologists and as a result have seen attainment levels increase.

It has provided opportunities for students from Oakfield Park Special School (Multiple Learning Difficulties) to have part of their science curriculum delivered by Minsthorpe staff. These sessions allow access to a range of resources that would otherwise be unavailable and each Oakfield Park pupil is supported on a one to one basis by Minsthorpe students. Students tell us that they enjoy this involvement and that it gives them an increased self-esteem. Children at Happy Days Children’s Centre also benefit from the specialism through weekly Science lesson and special events in National Science Week. The pre-school children have covered lots of exciting topics including "Crazy Custard" and learnt about things from rockets to mini beasts!!

Our specialist status has enabled us to broaden our course offering in the specialist subjects at KS5 where we now offer BTEC Forensic Science alongside the traditional A Level GCE provision. At KS4 we offer both Academic and vocational courses. These courses allow us to meet more diverse needs and have also contributed significantly to staff development through exposure to different delivery and assessment methods. Over the past few years several Year 13 students have progressed on to study Science courses at University, including Medicine, Physiotherapy and Engineering. The specialism has also part funded the introduction of NVQ Level 3 Beauty Therapy which has a significant scientific base. The rewards have been significant with members of the community visiting the Training Suite for treatments.

In September 2012 work began on an Outdoor Learning space which is being used to enhance the teaching and learning in Science. Features include a teaching space, which is transformed into a crime scene to help deliver Forensic Science across the key stages, and a pond and a greenhouse which will enhance teaching about the environment and support the delivery of the new Environmental Science GCSE. Further developments for the future will hopefully include raised planting beds and a bird observation area.

ICT provision in Science has significantly improved through the Specialism. We have access to student laptops and a dedicated Post-16 Learning and Study computer suite. Also new for September 2013 are tablet computers and classroom visualizers that will be used to help with Assessment For Learning.Science College Status has without a doubt been an important factor in our improving results and its impact across college has been noted in the past two OFSTED inspections:

"The college’s specialism in science pervades the whole college in a very positive way, from hatching chicks in the “Happy Days” children’s centre to post 16 students gaining apprenticeships at local power stations. There is a wide range of science related courses at pre and post 16."
Ofsted 2009
"Specialist science status has created opportunities not otherwise available, such as placements for students seeking particular careers."
Ofsted 2012

Mr P Williams
Curriculum Team Leader for Science