Curriculum Leader - Science:

Ms Ellis


Science Department Aims

To support and extend the aims of the school, the science department aims:

  • To encourage all pupils to realise their full potential by offering challenging, relevant and enjoyable courses
  • To teach the processes of science and impart a body of knowledge such that pupils will see science as part of their everyday lives
  • Students will gain an insight into the nature of science
  • Students will maximise their potential in public examinations
  • Students will have the opportunity to continue the study of science at higher levels

Science Curriculum


Key Stage 3

Years 7 & 8

A new combined science course is taught in years 7 and 8 based on the popular and well known Activate series, published by Oxford. Pupils are taught in sets, usually by one teacher and set reviews take place at December and July. Both year 7 and year 8 pupils have six periods per fortnight.

Students will have access to an on-line version of the course textbook (for Year 7 students this will be from October half term) . Homework will be set as: On-line (‘Activate’) assessments, literacy projects or numeracy based HW.


Key Stage 4


Year  9 and 10 Students

Year 9 and 10 students are studying Edexcel GCSE Science (9-1). The students in 9sc1 and 10sc1 are studying for the seperate science (triple science) GCSEs. Those in the other sets are studying combined science.

Exams will be sat for these groups at the end of year 11. There is no coursework.


Edexcel GCSE (9-1)

This is a new science GCSE course, to be first examined June 2017. It will be assessed using the new GCSE grades (9-1) instead of A* - U. 

The GCSE should enable students to: 

● develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics

● develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of scientific enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them

● develop and learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem-solving skills in the laboratory, in the field and in other learning environments 

● develop their ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively. 

For more information see:


Year 11 Students

Set 1 and 2 are studying Edexcel Certificate for triple science (sometimes known as iGCSE), set 3 is studying Edexcel Certificate for dual award science.

Set 4 is studying AQA additional science.

The International GCSE

International GCSEs were initially developed for the international market, and are renowned for being academically rigorous. They have since become popular among independent schools in the UK. To provide more choice for UK state schools, accredited Level 1/Level 2 Certificate qualifications (known generally as International GCSEs) are now included in the DFE list of approved qualifications. The Edexcel Certificates are based on International GCSE from 2009 specifications. They will count towards national league table points and be eligible for funding in UK state schools. 


 iGCSE (Triple Award)

This course is based on the International GCSE course and is equivalent to GCSE (a Level 2 course). It is academically more rigorous than the standard GCSE and suits students who perform well in exam situations. There is no coursework element but there is substantial practical work during the course which is assessed in the exam. There are 6 exams – two papers for each subject Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Paper 1 is two hours long and paper 2 is one hour long.


 iGCSE (Double Award)

A similar course to the Triple Award though there are 3 exams – one for each subject Biology, Chemistry and Physics with each paper two hours long. Marks are combined to give an overall score and a Double Grade.

Year 11 students will be examined in 2016 whilst Year 10 students will be taking their exams in 2017.

Key Stage 5


We follow the OCR Chemistry A (H034 H434) specification, one of the most popular courses in the country. The course runs over 2 years, with 3 exams sat in June of Year 2.  The first paper covers Physical Chemistry (rates of reaction, equilibrium, bonding etc.), the second paper covers Organic Chemistry, and the third is titled 'Unifying Concepts' which links together all aspects of the course.

You will have 2 teachers for the duration of the course, one specialising in Organic chemistry and one specialising in Physical Chemistry.

Our A level course includes many experiments and investigations, as understanding a practical is the best way to understand chemistry. Whilst there is no longer an assessed coursework element in any A level course, we run the 'Practical Endorsement' alongside the academic studies to ensure students have a recognisable competence in their practical work when applying for universities.

Useful links:

Chemistry A level specification

More information on the Practical Endorsement



Awarding Body : Eduqas (part of WJEC)

Course Content

Year 12

In the first unit, you will study cell structure, as revealed by the electron microscope, and the way in which molecules interact with cell membranes. You will experiment with the main molecules of life and the action of enzymes.

The second unit of the course contains an overview of classification. Biodiversity is studied in the context of evolution. Human body systems are explored, with circulation, gas exchange and digestion being studied and compared to the systems occurring in other organisms.

Towards the end of the year, ecological fieldwork is introduced by a day visit to Studland in Dorset to investigate Sand Dune succession.


Following regular end of topic tests, students will take 2 end of year Mock examinations in July, each lasting 90 minutes.

Practical Work

Practical work is an integral part of the course and carried out at regular intervals. Some of these practicals must be covered as part of the course. These ‘Core’ practical’s provide an opportunity to demonstrate core practical skills and work is assessed according to a national standard. Completed work will be collected in a portfolio of evidence for a practical endorsement in the second year and a practical lab folder will be supplied for this purpose.

Year 13

The second year of the course includes the biochemistry of respiration and photosynthesis, human and plant reproduction and global population issues/food provision.

Further ecological fieldwork is carried out, along with a look at the appropriate statistical methods and it is expected we will continue our annual residential field trip to Nettlecombe Court in order to accommodate this.

You will also study the nervous system and how drugs/disease affect function, hormones and the homeostatic role of the kidney. There are also topics on genetics, population genetics, microbiology and human health and disease. Students will consider a variety of applications of biotechnology such as penicillin production and DNA fingerprinting.


The A level is assessed in June of the second year via 3 written 2 hour exams. These are mainly short-answer questions with an essay comprising the last question. The papers contain questions which test students’ knowledge of experimental work in Biology.

Core Practical work continues to be carried out, assessed for practical skills and collected in a folder. This will provide evidence for a student’s ability will receive an official endorsement, although this will not contribute towards the A level final grade.


Methods of Teaching

The course is delivered using a wide range of teaching styles, including experimental work, group work, discussions, short talks and poster presentations by students. Key facts and concepts are delivered by written notes, interactive hand outs, videos, practical demonstrations and extensive use of ICT. You will be expected to read from texts and articles.

In addition to timetabled lessons, we often invite experts to give talks and run practical workshops. Recently these have included areas covering genetics and medical science careers.

You will be expected to consolidate and extend your knowledge by reading the set texts, researching the internet and using the comprehensive support material in the college library. Students are encouraged to enter for the National Biology Olympiad.

Financial Implications

We anticipate that you will need to buy a £20 textbook at the start of each year,

Following on from a successful trip this year, it is expected that the residential field trip will take place again next year to cover the majority of the statistics and ecology requirements. As a guide towards the costs, this year the trip was for 4 days and cost £280

Career Progression

This course can lead to careers in an enormous variety of areas including medicine, dentistry, midwifery, nursing, radiography, physiotherapy, pharmacy and other biomedical and healthcare vocations. It can also provide the foundation for the many purely scientific branches of the biological sciences, such as physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology or more applied fields such as environmental science, food technology, agriculture, ecology, horticulture or forensics. It provides an excellent basis for many sports related degrees and is an essential entry requirement for veterinary medicine or marine biology.

Other considerations:

Students who choose another science A level or Maths in addition to Biology tend to perform better than those who select Biology as their only science. Those without English GCSE at grade B may find this subject difficult.

More course information

GCE Biology Course specification

GCE Biology Practical information sheet

GCE Biology Exam topics


GCE Physics Specification


Level 3 BTEC Applied Science 

It is our intention to run a Level 3 BTEC course in Applied Science next year if sufficient interest in following the course is shown by students. This course has been successfully run for the last 3 years.

The course is for 2 years and is equivalent to a single A level qualification, producing UCAS points.

Please see the attached document for further information

Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science



Who do I speak with for more information

Ms Moore.