I retrained as a teacher in 1974 after a career in industry, gaining the Graduate Certificate in Science Education for Middle School Children in 1975. I taught science for eight years at the Howard School Gillingham, a twelve form entry boys secondary school with an all-ability intake, and then for fifteen years I was Head of Science and Information Technology at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, a single form entry independent school for ninety boys aged 8-13 (Y4-Y8) of above average ability, thirty of whom were choristers in the choir of Westminster Cathedral.
At this school most boys took Common Entrance or Scholarships for entry to English Public Schools at 13+ (Y9). The standard required to obtain a scholarship to a First Division English Public School in science (and most other subjects) is approximately GCSE (but without coursework). To help them prepare for these exams I produced a large number of single- or double-sided sheets of A4, each sheet dealing with just one specific topic. These were intended to provide background information (particularly social, environmental and historical), to help relate the topic to real life and to other subject areas, and to assist the boys taking scholarships to provide well-reasoned arguments to the very searching questions they might encounter. They also dealt with popular misconceptions and tried to provide additional information to help clarify some of the ideas with which many people have difficulty.
They were of course intended only to reinforce the experimental work we did in lessons and the textbooks we used for homework assignments. So they did not usually contain experimental details or drawings, nor did they usually contain mathematics, or details of references.
In 1996 I took early retirement and since then I have been helping with science and IT at a local junior school, and doing some private tutoring. (I am also helping with ancient Egyptian! - there is a separate section of this web site devoted to that.)
As a result of my experiences since I retired I have decided to make these sheets more widely available and to put them onto my website.
The sheets on this site have been expanded and cross-linked to each other, and I am also putting in links to other sites. I have not in any way dumbed them down, or avoided the use of correct terminology, but I have taken more care to explain the meanings of words for the benefit of children who are not performing at a level at least two years ahead of their chronological age.
They are concerned mostly with ideas and concepts, because that is the way I think science should be taught and examined. (It is also the way most Public Schools examine pupils taking scholarships.) So they are deliberately not revision lists for exams, although I hope that my explanations of some of the more difficult ideas will help students understand and remember.
Over twenty five years I produced a great many such sheets and I am adding more of them to this site all the time.
I would greatly appreciate feedback from practising teachers.
Teachers may use these sheets in any (non-commercial) way they like provided they acknowledge the source, preferably by giving the URL. I do also ask that where I have included details of experiments the children should be allowed to carry out these for themselves, either in school or by including the instructions in any printed extracts.
Like most people, I would regard it as bad manners to include them as part of your own web site but do feel free to link to them: I only put them on my web site because I was told people find them useful and I want them to be used.