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Science

Curiosity is part of human nature and it is this passion for discovery which leads the thinking in the science department. The department aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills which will enable them to question the world around them and make informed decisions. The world is changing at such a rate that it means we are unable to predict the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and every day brings new knowledge and understanding. The science curriculum is designed to reflect the need for both critical scientific thinking and adaptability of understanding.

Supported by key subject knowledge students use their developing skills and interest in science to become better students, logical thinkers, resilient problem solvers, and creative and thoughtful citizens.


Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.

- Edwin Powell Hubble

 

The aim is to ensure that all students:

  • have a solid grounding in key principles and a firm knowledge base on which to proceed.
  • develop their scientific thinking so they leave us equipped with a logical, scientific approach to new ideas and concepts.
  • are guided through a five year curriculum during which their understanding and ability to explain the world around them matures as they do.
  • are challenged and supported at every stage of their learning, no matter their starting point.
  • can apply their knowledge to new situations, not simply recall facts and figures.
  • enjoy practical science and the associated challenges it poses.
  • understand scientific theories, why we believe them to be true and how we test these, regardless of personal beliefs.

The Science Curriculum Area includes a range of practical work and experiments. The combined experience of the staff offering specialisms in physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, natural science and environmental science ensures an exciting and challenging experience for all students, whether they are gifted or talented in science or find it challenging and need extra support.
 

Key Stage 3

Students follow a science route designed as a five year development towards their examinations at the end of year 11. Students are taught the following topics which cover both the national curriculum and content from the new GCSE courses.  The curriculum is challenging and students are taught content from GCSE specifications from year 7 upwards.

YEAR 7:

  • Hazards – an introduction to lab safety and the basics of acids and alkalis
  • New Life – life processes, cells, organs and fertilisation
  • Current affairs – electricity and magnetism
  • Particles – the particle model of solids, liquids and gases
  • Interdependence – plant structures, feeding relationships and how living organisms interact with one another.
  • May the force be with you – Forces and their effects

YEAR 8:

  • Reactions- the periodic table, chemical reactions
  • Bodyworks – some common organ systems in the human body
  • See Hear – Light and sound
  • Rock on – the rock cycle and materials in the natural world
  • Species at war – microbes, disease and how ecosystems function
  • Energy – Energy types and energy resources
Key Stage 4

YEAR 9:

  • Chemical reactions – chemical and physical reactions, the reactivity series, the reactions of acids
  • Variation – genes, inheritance and evolution
  • Speed – force diagrams, distance-time graphs, velocity-time graphs, forces and pressure
  • Caught in the act – Fuels and energy transfers, hydrocarbons and the greenhouse effect.

YEAR 10

Students will follow one of two routes:

Route A:  Edexcel Combined Science course. (For students who did not pick separate sciences or achieved less than a grade 4+ at the end of year 9 2016)  

Or

Route B: Students who have picked this option will study for three separate GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics in the Edexcel Science courses. 

All students will be examined at the end of year 11. There will be exams at the end of year 10 but these will not count towards the final GCSE grade.

There is no coursework component of the GCSE which contributes towards the final grade.

Depending on their route students will study all/some of the following topics during the course. Some of this will have been covered in earlier years and students are expected to draw upon knowledge from their full five years in school.

Biology Topics
  • Topic 1 - Key Biological Concepts
  • Topic 2 - Cell and control
  • Topic 3 - Genetics
  • Topic 4-  Selection Pressures
  • Topic 5 - Health and diseases     
  • Topic 6 - Plant structures and their functions
  • Topic 7 - Animal coordination, control and homeostasis
  • Topic 8 - Exchange and transport in animals
  • Topic 9 - Ecosystems and material cycles
Chemistry Topics
  1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
  2. Bonding
  3. Mass calculations
  4. States of matter and separation techniques
  5. Acids     
  6. Electrolysis 
  7. Metals 
  8. Equilibria 
  9. Quantitative analysis
  10. Groups I, VII and 0
  11. Reaction rates
  12. Enthalpy changes
  13. Earth and atmosphere
  14. Fuels and hydrocarbons
  15. Alcohols, acids and polymers
  16. Nanoparticles
  17. Qualitative analysis
physics topics

PHYSICS TOPICS

  1. Force & Motion
  2. Energy
  3. Waves
  4. More Waves
  5. Radioactivity - Theory   
  6. Radioactivity - Uses
  7. Space
  8. More Energy
  9. More Forces
  10. Electricity
  11. Static Electricity
  12. Magnetism & motors
  13. EM Induction
  14. Particle Model
  15. Forces & matter
combined science (route a)

The course will cover the content listed below.

Assessment for this route will consist of six exam papers.
 

BIOLOGY PAPER 1 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

Content overview

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology
  • Topic 2 – Cells and control
  • Topic 3 – Genetics
  • Topic 4 – Natural selection and genetic modification
  • Topic 5 – Health, disease and the development of medicines

BIOLOGY PAPER 2 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology
  • Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions
  • Topic 7 – Animal coordination, control and homeostasis
  • Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals
  • Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles

CHEMISTRY PAPER 1 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in chemistry
  • Topic 2 – States of matter and mixtures
  • Topic 3 – Chemical changes
  • Topic 4 – Extracting metals and equilibria

CHEMISTRY PAPER 2 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in chemistry
  • Topic 6 – Groups in the periodic table
  • Topic 7 – Rates of reaction and energy changes
  • Topic 8 – Fuels and Earth science

PHYSICS PAPER 1 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics
  • Topic 2 – Motion and forces
  • Topic 3 – Conservation of energy
  • Topic 4 – Waves
  • Topic 5 – Light and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Topic 6 – Radioactivity

PHYSICS PAPER 2 WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES 16.67% OF THE QUALIFICATION, 60 MARKS

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics
  • Topic 8 – Energy - Forces doing work
  • Topic 9 – Forces and their effects
  • Topic 10 – Electricity and circuits
  • Topic 12 – Magnetism and the motor effect
  • Topic 13 – Electromagnetic induction
  • Topic 14 – Particle model
  • Topic 15 – Forces and matter
individual science route b

Assessment for this route will consist of two exam papers per GCSE subject.

BIOLOGY PAPER 1 - WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES 50% OF THE QUALIFICATION 100 MARKS

Content overview:

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology
  • Topic 2 – Cells and control
  • Topic 3 – Genetics
  • Topic 4 – Natural selection and genetic modification
  • Topic 5 – Health, disease and the development of medicines

BIOLOGY PAPER 2 - WRITTEN EXAMINATION: 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES 50% OF THE QUALIFICATION 100 MARKS

Content overview

  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology
  • Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions
  • Topic 7 – Animal coordination, control and homeostasis
  • Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals
  • Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles

Chemistry topics

  1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
  2. Bonding
  3. Mass calculations
  4. States of matter and separation techniques
  5. Acids    
  6. Electrolysis
  7. Metals
  8. Equilibria
  9. Quantitative analysis
  10. Groups I, VII and 0
  11. Reaction rates
  12. Enthalpy changes
  13. Earth and atmosphere
  14. Fuels and hydrocarbons
  15. Alcohols, acids and polymers
  16. Nanoparticles
  17. Qualitative analysis

Physics topics

  1. Force & Motion
  2. Energy
  3. Waves
  4. More Waves
  5. Radioactivity - Theory   
  6. Radioactivity - Uses
  7. Space
  8. More Energy
  9. More Forces
  10. Electricity
  11. Static Electricity
  12. Magnetism & motors
  13. EM Induction
  14. Particle Model
  15. Forces & matter
 

 

 

Key stage 5

BIOLOGY A LEVEL

Biologists study the living world. Students have the opportunity to learn about and understand key contemporary issues and topics such as DNA fingerprinting, genetic engineering and some of the latest advances in medicine and biotechnology. Biology is a popular but challenging subject. Students are required to be dedicated and well organised. Wide reading around the subject area will provide a solid base to build upon.

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

Year 1 Subject Content:

Students cover the cellular basis for life and the associated structural and functional macromolecules.  DNA replication, transcription and translation are considered, as are aspects of enzyme function. 

Students additionally study cell division and differentiation, including stem cells and patterns of inheritance (including specific examples of inherited disease).  The heart and cardiovascular disease is a major topic of study, used as a model for evaluating risk factors in human disease. 

Finally, adaptation and evolution, including fieldwork, introduce students to aspects of biodiversity and natural resources. 

Practical work - including the framework of core experiments required by the examination board - is a significant component of the course.

Year 2 Subject Content

Students continue the investigation of ecosystems at the wider level of biology whilst also probing aspects of muscle structure and function, and of the immune system. 

Modern biological techniques associated with DNA profiling and the polymerase chain reaction are covered, along with aspect relevant to forensics. 

Students additionally study aspects of neuroscience, including neurological disease, plasticity and imaging technologies. 

Practical work remains a significant component of the course throughout the second year.

Career Opportunities / Routes

This course provides a solid basis for a university course or career in science, medicine or engineering.

Assessment

Paper 1: The natural environment and species survival.

  • 30%

Paper 2: Energy, exercise and co-ordination.

  • 30%

Paper 3: General and practical applications in biology.

This will draw on understanding from all topics, including questions with a strong practical focus and some based on pre-release material.

  • 40%

YOU CAN FIND THE FULL BIOLOGY SPECIFICATION HERE | PDF

 

CHEMISTRY A LEVEL

Chemistry involves the study of materials, their properties and how they are made, therefore representing a discipline that impacts on all of our lives in numerous ways. To study chemistry, It is essential to have a good understanding of other science subjects such as zoology, medicine and veterinary science.

Chemistry is concerned with the physical and chemical properties of molecules and their composition, structure and synthesis in the context of contemporary life. Chemistry is a challenging yet increasingly popular subject. Students are required to be dedicated and well organised. Wide reading around the subject area will give a solid base to build upon.

A feature of the specification is the value of understanding the principles of chemistry and being able to apply these in unfamiliar settings.

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

Year 1 Subject Content:

Students begin with the fundamental organisation of chemical knowledge (ie. atomic structure and the periodic table) and its quantitative basis. 

The course then covers structure and bonding, inorganic chemistry (primarily groups 2 and 7), organic chemistry and the associated analytical techniques of mass spectrometry and spectroscopy, plus reaction energetics and kinetics. 

Practical work - including the framework of core experiments required by the examination board - is a significant component of lessons.

Year 2 Subject Content

Students continue on to study a wide range of organic chemistry reactions, techniques and analytical methods (such as nuclear magnetic resonance).

The course covers more complex aspects of energetics, entropy, equilibria (in particular, acid-base equilibria) and electrochemistry, plus a detailed consideration of transition metal chemistry. 

Practical work remains a significant component of the course throughout the second year.

Career Opportunities / Routes

This course provides a solid basis for a university course or career in science, medicine or engineering.

Assessment

Paper 1: Advanced inorganic and physical chemistry

  • 30%

Paper 2:  Advanced organic and physical chemistry 

  • 30%

Paper 3: General and practical applications in chemistry

This will draw on understanding from all topics half of which will have a strong practical focus.

  • 40%

YOU CAN FIND THE FULL CHEMISTRY SPECIFICATION HERE | PDF


PHYSICS A LEVEL

Physics is the subject upon which all the other sciences rely for a true understanding of the universe. It is the basis upon which areas like engineering depend. If you have a good grasp of mathematics and an aptitude for using numbers to solve problems then you will find physics to your liking.

Physics is a challenging subject yet increasingly popular. Students are required to be dedicated, organised and to widely read around the subject area in order to gain a solid understanding of physics to build upon. A feature of the specification is the value of understanding and being able to apply the principles of physics to unfamiliar settings. As there is a strong mathematical content to studying physics A level, students are strongly advised to take A level mathematics with this course.

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

Year 1 Subject Content:

Students study aspects of both classical and modern physics from the first year.  This includes developing aspects of forces, kinematics and energy, including fluid dynamics.  The mechanical properties and behaviour of materials subjected to stress are considered in detail, as are aspects of electrical resistance and potential.  Wave behaviour is a significant component, introducing superposition and interference, diffraction, standing waves and the modern understanding of electromagnetic waves approached through considering quantum physics and duality.  Practical work – including the framework of core experiments required by the examination board – is a significant component of lessons.

Year 2 Subject Content

The study of mechanics, including oscillations and resonance, continues into the second year of study.  Thermodynamics is also studied.  Students cover modern concepts in nuclear physics, including the standard model and the quantitative aspects of radioactive decay; at the other end of the size scale, they cover space and modern ideas in cosmology.  The study of field is a major theme in the second year, encompassing electric, magnetic and gravitational fields; this includes the motion of particles through fields and the storage of energy by fields.  Practical work and mathematical content remain significant components of the course throughout the second year.

Career Opportunities / Routes

This course provides a solid basis for a university course or career in science, medicine or engineering.

Assessment

Unit 1: This unit assesses mechanics, fields and particle physics.

  • 30%

Unit 2: This unit assesses materials, the nature of light, space, thermodynamics and oscillations.

  • 30%

Unit 3: This unit will assess general and practical principles in physics. It will draw on understanding from all topics, half of which have a strong practical focus. 

  • 40%

YOU CAN FIND THE FULL PHYSICS SPECIFICATION HERE | PDF