Link to OFSTED Report

There are three Science Departments, whose aim is to instil a love of science and to help the girls see the importance and relevance of science in their world, and ultimately to inspire them to follow a career in the sciences. We have high expectations of all of our girls and, wherever possible, we deliver the curriculum using practical and investigative approaches.

Key Stage 3 is taught over two years in Years 7 and 8. This allows GCSE to be taught over three years, starting at the beginning of Year 9. In common with other grammar schools in the local area, most girls will then study for Triple Award Science and will gain three separate GCSEs. In their form groups, Year 7s are taught Science for six hours a fortnight, usually by a single teacher. Separate modules on Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught with as much practical work as possible. In Year 8 all girls are taught by three subject specialists in purpose built laboratories. They receive two hours a fortnight for each of the three sciences.

Topic 1:
This is the first Biology topic and involves investigating the different types of cells, the organelles inside them, the different type of specialised cells and how these are organised in an organism. Pupils then move on to covering the parts of flowering plants, pollinators and seed dispersal. The topic ends with pupils learning about human reproductive anatomy, fertilisation puberty and foetal development.
Topic 2:
Explaining Physical changes
This is the first Chemistry topic and involves investigating the different states of matter; solid, liquids and gases and the different ways to convert between them. The topic then moves on to looking physical and chemical reactions and how to identify them.
Topic 3:
This is the first Physics topic and involves looking at different applications of forces in the world. These include investigating Hooke’s Law, friction, acceleration and moments.
Topic 4:
Eating, Drinking and Breathing
This is the second Biology topic and involves working out what a healthy diet involves, and what different nutrients in food are and why these are important. The pupils then look at how digestion works and the enzymes and organs involved. The topic then ends with looking the mechanism of breathing.
Topic 5:
Elements, Compounds and Reactions
This is the second Chemistry topic and involves looking at the differences between atoms, element, molecules, compounds and mixtures. Pupils then move on to modelling these and look at some simple chemical reactions such as oxidation and combustion.
Topic 6:
Energy Transfers and Sound
This is the second Physics topic and involves the different types of energy transfers including the generation of electricity. The topic concludes by looking at sound energy and how the ear detects it.
Topic 7:
Plants and Ecosystems
This is the third Biology topic and involves looking at photosynthesis, what it is and how it works. Pupils then move on to looking at the factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis. The topic then covers food webs and interdependence, looking at the relationship between different organisms.
Topic 8:
Mixing, dissolving and separating
This is the third Chemistry topic and investigates soluble and insoluble substances. Ways to separate out mixtures such as chromatography, distillation, evaporation and filtration are carried out as practical work and then discussed further.
Topic 9:
Contact and Non-contact forces
This is the third Physics topic and involves looking at forces that work though space such as electrostatic and gravitational. The topic concludes with investigations into pressure in solids, liquids and gases.

All of Year 7 also takes part in the science poetry competition in the summer term, which is run jointly with the English department as part of their annual poetry evening. This involves watching some awe-inspiring demonstrations in science lessons, taking notes of what they see and hear. They then write a poem in their English lesson, related to one of the demonstrations.


During Biology in Year 8, pupils will discover the answers to a wide variety of questions, for example, “How do our body systems change during exercise?”, “How can humans cope with life as an astronaut in space?”, “How do people recover from drug addiction?” and, “How did giraffes get such long necks?” This huge range of topics allows pupils to get a broad understanding of Biology before specializing and looking at specific biological systems at GCSE level.

Topic 1 (Sep – Dec)
Getting the energy the body needs
Topic 2 (Jan – Mar)
Our health and the effect of drugs
Topic 3 (Apr – Jul)
Variation for survival
Pupils will begin by learning about the human skeleton and joints, following on to an investigation into muscle strength. The topic then goes on to respiration and energy, body system adaptations for efficient energy release, with a focus on respiration in sport. Anaerobic respiration is then investigated using yeast. Classifying different types of drugs and their effects is the focus for the beginning of the topic – this includes illegal drugs, smoking and alcohol. Pupils then investigate microbial growth, learn about different diseases and antibodies before finishing the topic with vaccination. The beginning of the topic covers variation, selective breeding and natural selection. Pupils will then move on to learn about DNA, extracting the DNA from kiwi fruits and studying heredity. This follows on to human chromosomes, cloning and then finally, extinction.

This year develops the laboratory skills of pupils as they explore the chemistry behind neutralisation, displacement, combustion and redox reactions. Pupils will build upon their analytical skills as they learn how to test for gases and the pH of substances. They will gain an overview of the chemistry of rocks in a geological context and the impact of pollutants to our atmosphere, past and present. Finally, pupils will learn about modern materials such as ceramics, polymers and composites.

Topic 1 (Sep – Dec)
Explaining Chemical Changes
Topic 2 (Jan – Apr)
Obtaining Useful Materials
Topic 3 (May – Jul)
Using Our Earth Sustainably
An introduction to the gas tests will be followed by an exploration of neutralisation reactions between metal compounds and acids. This topic concludes with an investigation of combustion reactions. Pupils will investigate the reactivity of metals in order to create a reactivity series and apply their knowledge to displacements reactions. The enthalpy of reactions will be introduced and pupils will also explore modern materials created through chemistry. The final topic explores chemistry in the context of the atmosphere and the rock cycle. Pollutants in our atmosphere can then be investigated to understand how each will impact the environment.

In Physics, there are 5 overarching areas: Forces and motion, Energy, Atoms, Waves and Electricity. These topics are revisited repeatedly, building on the previous understanding.

Topic 1 (Sep – Dec)
Magnetism and Electricity
Topic 2 (Jan – Mar)
Motion on Earth and in Space
Topic 3 (Mar – Jul)
Waves and Energy Transfer
Pupils will be investigating how magnetic fields can be created and how they affect different materials. This includes investigating electromagnets and their uses.
The topic then continues into the study of electricity and circuits, including Ohm’s Law, and the advantages or series and parallel circuits respectively.
Pupils will build on the forces topic from last year, to describe concepts such as relative motion, equilibrium and gravitational fields.
The topic then progresses to describing the size and scale of the, including making scale models.
In the final topic, pupils will be investigating the properties of light. This includes reflection, refraction and the visible spectrum.
The year concludes with a revisiting of energy transfers including the calculation of power and calculating the cost of electricity.

The science department holds a KS3 science club one lunchtime every week. This is run by various members of the department and Lower Sixth science prefects, and covers exciting practical investigations not usually covered in the science curriculum.


In Year 9 pupils start the GCSE Science syllabus, so please refer to the KS4 section.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus