Aristotle once said that ‘Good habits formed at youth make all the difference’ and we endeavour to instil good habits into our young scientists from day one.

Our Science department consists of three state-of-the-art laboratories with complementary prep rooms. They have been designed to deliver practical Biology, Chemistry and Physics to a very high standard. Pupils have the chance to do some really exciting hands-on Science in well-equipped and pleasant surroundings.

Science is taught all the way through the school from Pre-Prep to Year 8. The department is staffed with highly dedicated and enthusiastic teachers who work very hard to ensure that the curriculum is delivered in a way that is conducive to good learning.

The department has used the QCA scheme of work as a starting point and has then taken a lot of time and effort to shape it into a scheme of work that is rigorous, educational and fun, stretching the most able pupils and supporting those who are less able. The pupils are placed into sets at Year 5 and their progress is constantly reviewed to ensure that they are setted at the level best suited to their learning needs. We liaise fully with our learning support department to ensure that each child at Winchester House School receives the finest science education.

Foundation to Year 2

During Nursery and Reception the children begin to explore and discover the world around them. The emphasis at Winchester House is on practical science, with lots of opportunity for hands - on investigation. Topics include floating and sinking, sensory exploration of the local environment and investigations related to each term’s topic work.

The main topics covered in Year One are ‘Ourselves’, ‘Pushes and Pulls’ and ‘Sight and Sound’.

The children are encouraged to work in groups and pairs to tackle science challenges and investigations. The trip to the Think Tank in Birmingham is always a huge success. The children meet Tommy the life-sized model and learn all about the human body and how it functions.

During Year Two more independent learning and investigation takes place. Questioning and enquiry skills become more of a focus during the themes ‘Materials’, ‘Electricity’ and ‘The Local Environment’. The trip to Banbury Museum teaches the children all about materials and their specific properties. The children also enjoy a visit to Brackley lake to explore wildlife in its natural habitat.

Years Three and Four

In Year three the six topics are; Teeth and Eating, Helping Plants Grow Well, Materials and their properties, Rocks and Soils, Magnets and Springs, Light and Shadows.

In Year four we build on their knowledge with Moving and Growing, Habitats, Solids and Liquids, Friction, Circuits and Conductors and Keeping Warm.

Winchester House children in both pre-prep and prep school are encouraged to find things out for themselves through investigation, which then leads to discussion; either to dispel, consolidate or further their own ideas. Topics are related wherever possible to their own experiences and engagement with the world around them. The children are encouraged to ask probing questions. They learn to write up investigations with accurate, labelled diagrams, drawing conclusions from their results and using key scientific terms. We get them to interpret and present information in a range of tables, graphs and charts.

Years Five to Eight

In Year five we begin the process of accelerating the pupils toward the ultimate goal of the Common Entrance (CE) exams or Scholarship exams at 13+, so pupils are well prepared for the school of their choice.

From Year six, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught separately by experienced subject specialists. The overview below shows the topics that are taught in specific Year groups. Each topic is now supported with a specific revision pack that can be downloaded from this website. In addition each pupil is supplied with an appropriate revision guide to aid their learning.

Learning about Science doesn’t stop when the bell goes!

We may use the QCA curriculum as a guide but, if the science leads us that way, we are not afraid to step out of the classroom to make science real. With theatre groups coming into school, or trips to Think Tank and the Natural History Museum we are able to build on the pupils’ experience of this world.

The annual rocketry workshop engages all Year 8 pupils for a whole day and launch goes ahead even in the pouring rain.

Evening activities enhance the pupils’ development and are great fun, with the Young Investigators Science Club being heavily oversubscribed

Wildlife Club means that the pupils learn about what British wildlife is doing at different times of the year and how we can better protect these animals and plants. Nature scavenger hunts involve looking for seeds and nuts etc and for learning ways of detecting wildlife, such as looking for tracks and signs. The bird boxes that are made during DT lessons are painted and bird feeders are made which are then put up around the school.

As spring nears, our efforts are turned to the Gardening Club. The pupils begin to think about what vegetables to grow over the summer and what native wild flowers they would like to see. The garden is dug and seeds are sown and nurtured until the weather is warm enough for them to go outside. A lot of effort is being put in to how to make the school more eco-friendly with major emphasis on composting and recycling more and more in our daily lives at school.

The Winchester House Lunar Society pushes our gifted scientists to the limits. The experiments they carry out involve careful thought and planning and are pitched at a level that is well above what you would expect from this age of student. Working together, this is a mixed team of scientists from Years 5 to 8 in prep school who have produced their own soap, created a thixotropic gel that is solid until it is shaken, whereby it miraculously becomes a liquid and they have extracted DNA from kiwi fruit.

When the stars come out so does the large reflector telescope to show our pupils that although Winchester House is a very special place it isn’t really the centre of the universe.

This really is an exciting time to be studying Science at Winchester House School. Children learn at their best when they are up and doing things, so with fantastic high tech laboratories and the enthusiasm of both the staff and the students, enhancing the amount of practical science work that we do has added to the superb record that this school has.