TBC | Head of Science
The aim of the science department at Desborough is to develop the enjoyment of discovery, to challenge ideas and concepts and to engage students in the field of science.
Students cover a broad range of scientific concepts, facts, principles and theories, while also engaging with and challenging the science they meet in everyday life.
We are committed to encouraging our students to adopt a critical, questioning frame of mind to understand the workings of Science and how it shapes their lives.
Key Stage 3 - Science
Key Stage 4 - Science
What pathways are available for GCSE Science?
Approximately 2/3rds of Desborough boys choose to follow the Combined Science route for GCSE. This course is a mix of all 3 sciences, and results in the award of two GCSEs in ‘Combined Science’. Students have 8 hours of science teaching per fortnight, split between 2 science teachers.
The remaining third of students choose to study the Separate Science route. These boys will study each Science individually a specialised teacher and will achieve 3 GCSEs in ‘Biology’, ‘Chemistry’ and ‘Physics’. Please see the subject sections below to find out the benefits of opting for the Separate Science course. It is an Option that the boys can choose at the end of year 9, and so these boys have an additional 5 hours of teaching time per fortnight.
What will my child learn in Combined Science?
Each of the three science subjects will start with the ‘core concepts’ in their courses. In Biology they will look at Cells, Enzymes, Body Systems and Ecology. In Chemistry they will cover Atoms, Acids and Bases, Earth Science and Fuels. In Physics they will investigate Forces & Motion, Electricity and Radioactivity. Alongside the theoretical content, we look ethical issues facing humans such as Stem Cells, Genetic Engineering and Pollution.
As well as gaining knowledge and understanding about theory, students will also learn how to investigate practically in a safe way and how to analyse and conclude from their results. There are 16 Core Practicals that the students must carry out as part of their course. These are excellent opportunities for students to learn about collaboration and develop their teamworking skills.
How is Science taught?
In either the Combined Science or the Separate Science course, practical work is at the heart of everything we do. This may be through whole class practicals, teacher demonstrations or video clips, but every topic will have an element of practical work wherever possible.
Theory lessons involve the students being involved and actively engaged through group work, case studies and debates in order to bring Science to life.
How is the Combined Science GCSE assessed?
There will be 6 Papers for a student in year 11 to sit, 2 covering biology content, 2 for chemistry and 2 for physics. Each is 1hr 10mins in duration.
A total score will be generated which will then result in the awarding of two grades in Combined Science.
Structure of Assessment
There are 3 strands to the final assessment in Science:
1. AO1 requires students to demonstrate knowledge of scientific ideas and methods. 40% of available marks are for ‘knowing things’ about science.
2. AO2 requires students to apply their knowledge of scientific ideas and methods. 40% of available marks are for taking the known and applying it to an unknown situation.
3. AO3 requires students to analyse information and ideas to make judgements and evaluations of given information. 20% of available marks are for being able to apply a logical thought process to reach a conclusion and communicate this effectively to the examiner.
There is a high proportional of maths-based questions in the Science GCSE. 20% of Combined Science marks are for Foundation level mathematical skills.
What resources will support my child’s learning?
This website run by the exam board contains the entire course textbook for students to access, alongside a number of linked tasks that students can access. The tasks are digitally marked and provide instant feedback so are a great resource for independent learning.
This free resource offers interactive revision notes and quizzes for the entire GCSE Science course (both Combined and Separate). Students can work through at their own pace, and teachers may set Seneca work for independent learning.
The Bitesize website has been much improved over the last couple of years, and is now a fantastic resource for revision notes, videos and quizzes
A school-wide endorsed website with videos covering all Science topics with corresponding quizzes for testing understanding.
Fuse School (available on Youtube)
A series of 5 minute videos covering every topic in Biology, Chemistry and Physics for those learners who prefer to watch instead of read.
Malmsbury Science (available on Youtube)
Video recordings of all the Core Practicals needed for Combined and Separate Science
Hard Copy Resources
Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Combined Science Student Book
For boys who prefer working ‘from the book’, instead of off a screen, the textbook is available as a paper version to purchase
CGP revision resources
Please wait for confirmation from your teacher by Christmas in Year 10 before committing to a Higher Tier or Foundation Tier revision guide.
Best practice is to purchase a revision guide for notes, and the corresponding workbook for exam question practice.
Combined Science Higher Tier
Revision Guide: 9781782945741
Answer book: 9781782945031
Combined Science Foundation Tier
Revision Guide: 9781782945758
Answer book: 9781782945048
Head of Biology | Mr E Brockett
The study of biology is about the study of life but it is also an incredibly broad subject. The aim of the biology department is to educate students to understand the fundamentals of biology, particularly in the way structure is related to function.
However, as a science subject, there is also a strong investigative approach and many opportunities for our students to learn collaboratively through practical work. Students will also learn about the latest medical breakthroughs such as the use of stem cells and genetic technologies and gain an understanding of the impact of these technologies, as well as the moral and ethical dilemmas that are raised with their use. Finally, the department also plays an important role to educate students to appreciate the diversity of life on the planet and about the key global issues currently facing us, such as global warming, air pollution, plastic waste and the solutions possible.
Key Stage 5 - A Level Biology
A Level Biology Course Information
Awarding Body : Eduqas (part of WJEC)
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Head of Chemistry | Mrs R Ellis
Chemistry is about the molecules all around us. It is about matter: specifically how matter changes. At desborough we challenge our students to explore, question and consider their environment. It promotes curiosity, wonder and depth of understanding.
We all do chemistry every day! As soon as you wake up in the morning, you start doing chemistry. Chemistry explains why an egg changes when you fry it and why your non-stick pan is non-sticky. Chemistry explains how soap and shampoo make you clean, why you feel tired before coffee and alert after it, and how the petrol in your car gets you to work. At Desborough we aim to deliver a practical, challenging and fun curriculum with a sense discovery at its core.
Head of Physics | Mr K Harris
Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science. It challenges our current students to think whilst embracing the achievements of past scientific discoveries.
We want Physics to challenge the imaginations of our students. We want to teach concepts which lead to great discoveries, like computers and lasers, and technologies which change our lives—from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions. Physicists are problem solvers. Their analytical skills make physicists versatile and adaptable. It is a subject whose boundaries are endless.
The teaching of science supports our overall school philosophy about STEM and the interaction between science, technology, engineering and maths. STEM is delivered across the curriculum and centred around the SMR innovation Room.
Psychology gives understanding to the world around me, it’s a subject of curiosity. I enjoy psychology greatly