Please click on the links below to read more about the different subjects we are able to offer our students here at The Blue Coat School.
- Stimulate and maintain student interest and enjoyment in biology
- Offer students a broad and balanced curriculum, and where possible to provide opportunities to develop skills and gain an understanding of science concepts through first hand experience
- Make learning in biology relevant to every day life and the world of work
- Provide opportunities for students to carry out investigations on their own and in groups to foster team work
- To develop practical skills and techniques that can be employed in a variety of situations as well as those necessary to complete the required practical assessments at GCSE and A Level
- Employ teaching methods and resources which allow students equal access to biology (irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or ability)
- Encourage students to be thoughtful citizens by offering them opportunities to reflect on how scientific and technological developments impinge on the environment, personal health and ethics
- Contribute to the development of the specialist science status of the school.
Key Stages 3
The department follows the AQA suite of examinations. In Year 7 and Year 8 a “fast track” course has been developed to prepare our able students for GCSE Biology which they will start in Year 9.
- Year 7
Students will explore some of the key biological themes during this course. These include cell biology, reproduction, the environment and digestion. They will also start to develop some of the key skills which underpin the study of biology at KS4 eg. How to analyse and interpret data and how scientists work.
- Year 8
This course begins with an understanding of the main body systems. The effects of poor lifestyle choices are investigated and this is followed with a study of disease and disease prevention. Plants are not forgotten and the crucial process of photosynthesis is covered during the summer term.
Key Stage 4
We study GCSE Biology as a separate science. This means we will cover more content than the GCSE combined science courses. The new AQA GCSE Biology provides a perfect preparation for AS and A Level without duplicating or overlapping the content.
The main topics taught over the 3 year course are:
- Cell Biology
- Infection and response
- Homeostasis and response
- Inheritance, variation and evolution
Practical work remains at the heart of biology and there are eight required practicals that students have to carry out, although the department will cover many more than this.
There are two terminal examination papers. They will both assess knowledge and understanding from the seven different topics.
The new AQA specification will help to nurture a passion for biology and provide the ideal foundation for further study of the biological sciences or medicine.
Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments will require the use of mathematical skills. These skills will be applied in biological contexts and will be at least the standard of higher tier GCSE mathematics.
You are strongly advised to take another science or mathematics with your biology course.
Students will sit all of their external examinations at the end of the A Level course at the end of Year 13.
The core content topics are:
- Biological molecules
- Organisms exchange substances with their environment
- Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
- Energy transfer in and between organisms
- Organisms respond to changes in the environment
- Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
- The control of gene expression
Key Stage 3
Each year the Biology Department holds a Year 7 Flanimals competition. This is based on the book series written by the comedian Ricky Gervais. Students are asked to design an animal with specific and unusual adaptations to a particular habitat. It is judged by the Department and the three most imaginative designs based on sound biology, win a copy of the first book in the series.
Key Stage 5
The department appoints a number of biology prefects each year. This is an opportunity for students who are passionate about biology to develop their leadership and communication skills. The prefects are involved in developing revision seminars for struggling students and act as ambassadors for the department at open and information evenings.
The Chemistry Department is dedicated to engendering in its students a sense of excitement in the face of the complex wonder of the nature of matter.
The Department seeks to give deeper understanding through scientific enquiry as exciting and absorbing as those who work in the Department sincerely believe it to be. Equally, the Department is determined that each student should achieve his or her full academic potential, not least in terms of examination success at all levels, and we aim to give personal encouragement and support unstintingly to all students.
We employ a variety of teaching methods, with the aim of stretching and challenging all students and there is a strong emphasis on practical chemistry and putting chemistry into context.
Key Stage 3
Almost all lessons in Year 7 and Year 8 involve either class practical work or teacher demonstration and seek to enthuse students whilst giving a good understanding of basic chemical concepts. There is emphasis on appropriate recording of scientific enquiry.
Key Stage 4
Students have three years in which to study the AQA GCSE Chemistry specification. This allows for solid grounding in the more difficult concepts and opportunities to study some ares more deeply or widely as dictated by student’s interests.
In the sixth form, AQA A Level courses is offered, which includes a variety of topics in physical, organic and inorganic chemistry. Practical work is undertaken regularly and pupils are assessed against the relevant criteria to obtain the practical endorsement qualification.
These courses of study promote the acquisition of deep and detailed scientific knowledge and insight. Further, students learn an advanced degree of refinement in the practice of analytical techniques, both instrumental and experimental.
Students are given enthusiastic encouragement to pursue the subject beyond A Level. The School is a regular participant in The Chemistry Olympiad, having won gold, silver and bronze medals and recently having a student reach the final group for International Olympiad selection. Year 12 students participate in the “Young Analyst of the Year” Competition and the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. Our Year 9-11 students regularly perform well in the National “Top of the Bench” Competition in which we have been placed first and, most recently, ninth in the country. Every year 4 Year 10 students attend Salter’s Chemistry Camps at a variety of Universities and younger students compete in local Salter’s competitions.
A variety of university lab experiences and trips to museums and industry are also offered.
At all Key Stages we aim to foster a love of literature, writing and oracy. We seek to encourage the individual student to take responsibility for his or her work and progress.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, we offer a range of modules, each devised to promote varied language activities, and each containing tasks designed to address the requirements of the National Curriculum. Thus we are confident that all students are supported and challenged in their learning. Literature is at the heart of all Key Stages and we aim to give Year 7 and 8 students an overview of the development of literature in English including the principle achievements in poetry and prose. Two Shakespeare plays are studied during the Key Stage. We foster the students’ own creative writing and aim to help them develop their skills and style through the promotion of accurate grammar and spelling.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, (GCSE), all students are entered for both WJEC English Language and English Literature. In the final year of the course, practice in doing comprehension exercises, answering questions on the literature set texts and writing discursive, informative and short descriptive pieces are activities which are systematically undertaken. The overwhelming majority of students achieve at least grade A in both Language and Literature.
At Key Stage 5, we offer two A level courses for sixth-formers, following AQA English Literature Syllabus B and AQA English Language and Literature. In English Literature, texts under the umbrella theme of tragedy are studied such as “Othello”, the poetry of John Keats and Arthur Miller’s play “The Death of a Salesman”.
A level English Language and Literature involves the study of an Anthology of thematically linked spoken and written texts which offer candidates the opportunity to consider the three major literary genres and a range of non-literary texts. It also involves a study of set texts such as “Frankenstein” and the poetry of Robert Browning. The syllabus has a strong creative writing element which asks students to re-cast aspects of the set texts in different forms. The ways in which meaning is conveyed in spoken language and how power is displayed through language are also considered.
At Key Stage 5, students are given a strong intellectual lead, and then are encouraged to become increasingly discerning, increasingly independent readers. They learn, in line with current tendencies in scholarship, to appreciate literature in the context of social and historical change, and in the process understanding, and critically evaluating, literary conventions and theories.
Each year several students who have studied an English A level at Blue Coat go on to take English at degree level. Individual tuition is offered to students who wish to apply for Oxbridge entrance.
The Department promotes a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including a creative writing club and close involvement with the annual school show. Theatre visits and other educational trips are also organised for the benefit and enjoyment of students. Students are encouraged to write in both creative and journalistic modes for a range of local publications and competitions (such as the School Magazine “The Squirrel”, various poetry anthologies and an annual young journalism competition).
A book club meets monthly to discuss students’ book choices and includes members from across the Key Stages.
The department is an official partner of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres allowing access to a range of theatre workshops, theatre tours and technical assistance with shows. The department is also taking part in “Work Bard Play Bard”, a project run by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in association with Shakespeare’s Globe, London.
Geography at The Blue Coat School encourages students to find out about the world around them and look at how natural and human environments act together. We have a passion for our subject and how it affects all our everyday lives. We take great pride in developing the very best resources and fieldwork to enable students to thoroughly enjoy lessons and want to follow the subject right through to GCSE and A Level.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, Schemes of Work are designed to deliver the requisite knowledge in a clear and systematic fashion. The Department provides an enquiry-based approach to geographical themes and concepts. Students will develop the skills of recognising and describing patterns of the inter-relatedness of factors which affect the local, national, and global environment.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 (GCSE), students study AQA Syllabus A. Physical Geography Topics studied include The Challenge of Natural Hazards, The Living World, Rivers and Coasts. These are examined in Paper 1.
In Human Geography we look at Urban Issues and Challenges, the Changing Economic World and Resource Issues. These are examined in Paper 2.
Fieldwork days are undertaken in New Brighton (coastal defense study) and Keswick / Llandudno (tourism study). The fieldwork findings are assessed as part of a general skills paper (Paper 3).
A Level Geography concentrates upon the study of the world’s natural and human environments. There is a great diversity of study as geographers seek to understand how different landscapes, environments, economies and societies affect one another.
At The Blue Coat School, Geography is a popular choice at A Level. There are three major topics studied in physical geography. The Hazards unit looks at the effects of volcanoes, earthquakes and tropical storms on contrasting societies. As problem solvers, geographers look to reduce the problems created by these hazards. The second unit of Glacial systems and landscapes allows us to appreciate the great role of ice in shaping our landscape. A day’s fieldwork in the Lake Districts allows first-hand experience in mapping pyramidal peaks, corries and aretes. Our final Physical Geography topic analyses the importance of water and carbon to the planet system with a focus on rivers and the tropical rain forest. Assessment is by a written examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and represents 40% of the A Level.
There are also three major topics in human geography. The Global systems and global governance unit will explore the economic, political and social changes associated with globalization and how it affects all our lives. The Changing Places unit contrasts local change in the Liverpool area and another contrasting place such as Rio. The final topic of Contemporary Urban Environments looks at the emergence of megacities and the opportunities and problems that may arise. Assessment is by a written examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and represents 40% of the A Level.
All Students will complete an individual investigation which must include fieldwork data collection. The investigation is developed by the student with some guidance by the Geography Department. The content should be related to any part of the wider physical or human geography syllabus and offers an exciting opportunity to carry out research in any location of the student’s choice. This will be assessed by a project file of between 3,000–4,000 words and represents the remaining 20% of A Level. It is marked by Blue Coat teachers and then moderated by the AQA exam board.
Geography deals with many of the major issues in the world today. Where possible they are included in lessons and ‘Geography in the News’ discussions and displays. The Geography Department has its own Twitter feed that is updated on a regular basis. Fieldwork always emphasises the importance of protecting the environment and having respect for peoples’ differing viewpoints.
Our aim is to provide students with a wide range of opportunities for exciting, stimulating and enriching music making, to support and nurture talent, and to deliver a robust and high quality curriculum at GCSE and A level so that students who wish to pursue the subject beyond school are prepared to do so.
Previous graduates from the department have gone onto a wide range of musical careers including performance, composition, academia, and music education.
Key Stage 3
All students follow a course in music at Key Stage 3 during which they learn about performance, composition and listening through a carefully designed and differentiated sequence of practical musical activities. Students perform as soloists and as part of ensembles, learn how to improvise, develop skills in composition and become familiar with the basic workings of Sibelius music notation software. In addition, they develop their skills in listening and music theory.
Key Stage 4
Those who opt to study Music for GCSE continue to develop their performing, listening and composition skills through the Areas of Study: My Music; The Concerto through Time; Rhythms of the World; Film Music and Conventions of Pop. Again, the course is practically based allowing students to experience these styles of music first hand, as well as develop their personal performance and composition skills through termly assessment and feedback.
Music is studied at A Level, and those who choose to do so, rapidly develop their technical skills as composers, learn analytical skills in the study of set works, develop an awareness of music history and continue to develop their performance skills to a high level. Many choose to develop further through a wide range of opportunities both as soloists and in ensemble work.
Students take part in a wide variety of enrichment opportunities, all of which contribute to a regular schedule of performances both in and outside of school. These included school orchestra, senior and intermediate strings, flute choir, concert band, jazz band, brass ensemble, senior and junior choir and the annual school show. A team of experienced instrumental teachers support students who are committed to progressing with their instrument.
Personal Development lessons are a core part of the Blue Coat curriculum because we believe that emotional intelligence and social awareness are just as important as academic achievement.
Our aim is to equip students with the self-confidence, knowledge and practical skills to lead healthy, productive and responsible lives.
Our programme of Personal Development incorporates the government’s requirement for all students to receive Personal, Social and Health education. To this, we have added accessible, interactive sessions on issues which are highly relevant to all young people. We talk about Careers Information and Guidance (CIAG), citizenship, relationship and sex education, and financial responsibility.
We also develop students’ understanding of democracy, government and the rights and responsibilities of all citizens. We teach them how to use and apply their knowledge and how to research, question, evaluate and debate.
Our aim is for all our students to leave The Blue Coat with the confidence and social skills to succeed in life and to make a positive contribution as global citizens.
Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
Across all 3 key stages students reflect on and evaluate their achievements and strengths in all areas of their lives and recognise their own worth. They will learn about respecting the differences between people. They will learn to recognise some strong emotions and identify ways of managing these emotions positively (for example talking with a friend or teacher about their feelings on divorce or falling in love). Students will work on career plans and be prepared for the world of work and managing their personal finances.
Healthy Body and Mind
Students will learn how to stay physically and mentally healthy. They should be able to make informed choices to maintain their health and well-being, and explain reasons for these choices regarding healthy lifestyles, travel and personal safety. Students will study health disorders such as stress and depression, including the link between eating disorders and self-image and be able to identify strategies for preventing and addressing these. The dangers and laws relating to alcohol, tobacco and legal and illegal drugs will be taught whilst equipping students with the resilience skills to resist negative pressure, including from their peers. They will discuss the importance of relationships to marriage, parenthood and family life. They will learn how to assess the risks and benefits associated with lifestyle choices such as sexual activity.
Students will learn to recognise difference and diversity (for example in culture, lifestyles, sexuality or relationships) and demonstrate understanding and empathy towards others who live their lives in different ways. They will learn to assertively challenge prejudice and discrimination (for example that relate to gender, race, disability, etc.)
Society and Politics
Students will be taught about the political system of democratic government in the United Kingdom, including the roles of citizens, Parliament and the monarchy. They will learn how voting and elections work and the role of political parties. Students will learn about laws and the justice system and take part in a mock trial. There will be the opportunity to contribute to community and school-based voluntary activities.
Key Stage 5
In Key Stage 5 students follow a comprehensive programme that has been designed specifically to meet the needs of Blue Coat students. Much of the focus is around preparing for life after Blue Coat, at University or in the world of work. Students will be given advice and guidance on the various post-18 options available, spend time working on developing their speaking and leadership skills and learn, develop interview skills for both work and university and practise these and be guided through the university application process. They will explore a range of life skill topics such as applying for loans and booking holidays. In addition to this students will learn how to stay safe in social situations and when abroad. There will be some basic first aid training and an introduction to the key skills required for living independently.
As most students reach the age when they can vote, practical advice will be given and students will be guided in how to make informed decisions. Students will revisit issues surrounding diversity, different ethnicities and the issues surrounding radicalisation and extremism.
The philosophy of the Physical Education Department is aptly summed up in the familiar slogan, ‘Sport for All’. We seek to promote all aspects of P.E. and active recreation, and encourage our students to develop physically, personally, socially and morally. To these ends, all teaching and learning styles are employed (including the traditional academic, as an aspect of sixth form study). Group and independent learning are central to our work.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, we set about building upon the foundation of the previous Key Stage, and further develop our pupils’ skills relating to the six areas of prescribed study: dance, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, outdoor education, and games (the last being compulsory for all). Pupils’ knowledge base is considerably extended, new skills are acquired, and insight is gained into sporting tactics and decision-making.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students begin to specialise, following their own preferences, and opting for two of the areas studied at Key Stage 3. Physical activity is clearly (and practically) related to issues of health and well-being: training, fitness, and dietary techniques are demonstrated and taught.
Skills are further developed and refined, and the mental and character-building aspects of physical striving are given due emphasis. Students are introduced to the sophisticated and rewarding arts of officiating and coaching.
The Aim of the Physics Department is two-fold. Firstly and most importantly to develop appreciation and understanding of the physical principles which both underpin and power the physical universe, from the most minute particles to the largest things which exist. Secondly to prepare students effectively to apply this understanding to achieve exam results at the highest grades. A range of teaching methods is employed, from the traditional to the innovative, all designed to introduce the key concepts of Physics, and develop a critical and rigorously analytical approach to the study of the physical world. We value highly the academic standards our students achieve and so, all of the students are taught Physics from Year 7 to Year 13, in separate Physics lessons by a dedicated physics teacher.
Key Stage 3
In common with other subjects the Key Stage three program of study is completed in years Seven and Eight. Following the Activate programme of study students meet, at a relatively basic level, all of the major branches of classical physics. They develop their understanding and knowledge of heat, light, electricity and magnetism, the effect of forces, and the position of the Earth in the universe. Students are thus enabled to acquire a primary knowledge of a wide range of physical phenomena, and develop the techniques and skills necessary to investigate them systematically.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage students study the topics introduced in Key Stage 3 in greater depth, and are introduced to radioactivity, and atomic and nuclear structure and stability. These studies follow, and lead towards, the AQA Physics GCSE. At this Stage, students begin to perceive the links between seemingly disparate phenomena. In practical work, they develop their ability to investigate, scientifically, a quantitative relationship between variables by completion of a range of experiments and investigations, including a series of compulsory activities set down by the examination board.
In the Sixth Form, in following the AQA Physics Syllabus, students study the full range of the physical processes and effects addressed by physicists and the sometimes complex theoretical constructs used to understand them.
This course is characterised by an increase in the use of mathematical methods to gain a full understanding of the topics already familiar from Key Stages 3 and 4, and in addition students are introduced to fundamental particle physics, relativity, and quantum mechanics. These last two topics form the basis of the optional section of the final module of A Level entitled ‘Turning Points in Physics’.
Practical skills are developed by regular experiments which serve to underline and illuminate the theoretical side and, equally importantly, develop the investigative skills expected at this level. These skills are assessed by the teacher according to strict criteria laid down by the examination boards and in questions appearing in the final examinations.
The skills and qualities developed in successfully completing this demanding A Level course are highly valued by employers and admissions tutors in a wide range of disciplines seeming unrelated to Physical sciences. In addition our Physics Department has a proven record of stretching and developing the most able students, and has prepared a large number of them for study of physics, engineering and related disciplines at prestigious universities.
With such a large number of Physics and Maths students there are opportunities for students to attend lectures and hear visiting speakers. We also have a large number of entries into the Physics Olympiad and Physics challenges at GCSE and A Level and have had a good deal of success in these competitions. Our most successful student in this was recently among the top ten in the country and was selected to represent Britain in the global competition.
A smaller number of students are selected as subject prefects and these form an important part of the department, organising activities for open days and academic support for students who need a helping hand.
The Enrichment element of the Sixth Form pathway is broken down into the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and Careers, Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG). These, along with the students’ A Levels form The Blue Coat Baccalaureate.
All students, no matter the number of A Levels they take enrol on the Enrichment programme. Both EPQ and CIAG are taught through 1 lesson biweekly and enrichment comes from these subjects.
The EPQ is a qualification in which students choose an area of interest to plan, research and carry out a project on. Students keep a production log of all stages of the project production, reviewing and evaluating their progress before they complete their project and deliver a presentation. The EPQ is graded on an A*- E scale and awards 28 UCAS points for A*. Some Universities offer lower entry requirements to those that have completed the EPQ to a good standard.
This qualification is so good because it enables students to develop independent learning and demonstrates that they are capable of working on their own initiative, and amongst all the other students that are getting good grades at A Levels, it enables them to stand out.
The EPQ allows young people the opportunity to pick up a topic that they really want to engage in, and to learn the skills that it takes to be able to deliver that successfully.
Complementing the EPQ course, Careers information, advice and guidance is delivered through timetabled lessons. The focus on these lessons is on post 18 options, exploring career paths, employability skills and making the right choices and decisions for them.
High quality careers guidance is crucial in helping students leave the Blue Coat more fully rounded and ready for the world of work. Through CIAG we inspire and inform our students about the full range of education, work experience, training and employment opportunities available. We encourage our students to pursue the qualifications and skill development necessary to realise their highest potential.