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Popularity of Science explodes

Regulus Address // Issue 1 // May 2022

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Human progress throughout history largely rests on advances in science, with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of scientists leading to solutions for world problems.

Combine this with the greater understanding of biological and physical aspects of the world, along with exciting potential career paths, and it is no wonder that Science subjects are proving hugely popular at St Andrew’s College, says Head of Science, Brent Cummack. “The growth in the Department has really accelerated over the last few years from 51 classes in Years 11–13 in 2016, to 75 classes in 2022. Students can see the relevance of science, and the importance of scientific literacy to understand how the world works. Some students are drawn to the wide range of Science-related career pathways, which includes things like Engineering, Health Sciences, and Veterinary Science, while other students take Science because they simply enjoy it.”

Brent is pleased that unlike many other schools, Science is still a compulsory subject for St Andrew’s students in Year 11. “What I am most proud of is our high retention rate of around 80–90 per cent of students continuing with a Science subject in Years 12–13.”

Biology is also available to Year 11 students, along with Physical Science for those keen to branch into Physics or Chemistry in Year 12. “The reason we combine these two in Year 11 is that we don’t want students to specialise too early and miss the opportunity to take other subjects.”

In Years 12–13, students can take Biology, Physics, or Chemistry, or choose General Science which has a mix of the three subjects.

AgriScience also comes under the Science Department banner, and is another rapidly growing subject, with three classes in each of Years 12–13, says Brent. “It’s great seeing some of our more able students going into AgriScience, which links to Physics and Chemistry and can lead to all sorts of career pathways in the industry.”

There are 17 teachers in the Science Department in 2022, who teach a broad range of classes to Years 9–13. “I’m proud to have such a diverse group of people from different ethnicities, schools, and backgrounds in the Department. They are a good bunch of great teachers who create a positive learning environment for our students.”

After 15 years as Head of Science, Brent has seen hundreds of students come through the Department, and he enjoys hearing about their journeys into tertiary education and stimulating careers. “Many still regularly keep in touch, years after leaving the College,” he says.

With everything we know about the world largely the result of scientific research and experiment, Brent says Science is more important than ever given the current challenges facing the world. “Science teaches students to think logically. Even those who decide not to keep going with it after Year 11 benefit from what they have learnt. Tackling problems by applying scientific thinking remains critically important.”

The College's Science Department equips our students with scientific literacy to prepare them for an ever-changing world.