There are three Science Departments, whose aim is to instil a love of science, to help our pupils 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 pupils 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 pupils will then study for Triple Award Science and will gain three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. One group of up to 25 pupils follows the Combined Science course, which runs in tangent with the separate science courses.
Year 7s are taught Science for six hours a fortnight in their form groups, 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 pupils are taught by three subject specialists in purpose-built laboratories. They receive two hours a fortnight for each of the three sciences.
In Year 9, pupils start the GCSE Science syllabus; please refer to the Key Stage 4 individual science pages for subjects details of the Trip Award Science. For Combined Science, please see the page section below.
Topic 1: Cells – Biology 1
Pupils investigate 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 – Chemistry 1
We look at 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: Forces – Physics 1
Pupils study different applications of forces in the world. These include investigating Hooke’s Law, friction, acceleration and moments.
Topic 4: Eating, drinking and breathing – Biology 2
We work 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 – Chemistry 2
This topic 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 – Physics 3
We investigate 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 – Biology 3
Pupils learn about 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 – Chemistry 3
This topic 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 – Physics 3
Pupils look at forces that work though space such as electrostatic and gravitational. The topic concludes with investigations into pressure in solids, liquids and gases.
Throughout Year 8, pupils study the three sciences in separate lessons.
During Biology in Year 8, pupils 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 gain a broad understanding of Biology before specializing and looking at specific biological systems at GCSE level.
Topic 1: Getting the energy the body needs
Pupils begin by learning about the human skeleton and joints, following on to an investigation into muscle strength. We also look at respiration and energy and body system adaptations for efficient energy release, with a focus on respiration in sport. Anaerobic respiration is then investigated using yeast.
Topic 2: Our health and the effect of drugs
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 investigate microbial growth and learn about different diseases and antibodies, before finishing the topic with vaccination.
Topic 3: Variation for survival
The beginning of the topic covers variation, selective breeding and natural selection. Pupils then move on to learn about DNA, extracting the DNA from kiwi fruits and studying heredity. We also look at human chromosomes, cloning and, finally, extinction.
This year develops the laboratory skills of pupils as they explore the chemistry behind neutralisation, displacement, combustion and redox reactions. Pupils build upon their analytical skills as they learn how to test for gases and the pH of substances. They 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 learn about modern materials such as ceramics, polymers and composites.
Topic 1: Explaining chemical changes
An introduction to the gas tests is followed by an exploration of neutralisation reactions between metal compounds and acids. This topic concludes with an investigation of combustion reactions.
Topic 2: Obtaining useful materials
Pupils investigate the reactivity of metals in order to create a reactivity series and apply their knowledge to displacements reactions. The enthalpy of reactions is introduced; pupils also explore modern materials created through chemistry.
Topic 3: Using our Earth sustainably
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 five overarching areas: Forces and motion; Energy; Atoms; Waves and Electricity. These topics are revisited repeatedly, building on the previous understanding.
Topic 1: Magnetism and electricity
Pupils investigate 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.
Topic 2: Motion on Earth and in space
Pupils build on the forces topic from last year to describe concepts such as relative motion, equilibrium and gravitational fields. We then progress to describing the size and scale of the Earth, including making scale models.
Topic 3: Waves and energy transfer.
In the final topic, pupils investigate 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.
Edexcel specification for GCSE Combined Science For details of the three separate GCSEs awarded under the Triple Science course, please refer to the subject details under the separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics pages.
At the end of Year 9, the year group is split into six science groups for the remainder of their GCSE studies. One group of up to 25 pupils follows the Combined Science route, which runs in tangent with the separate science courses. This group is determined by teacher recommendation, based on performance and progress across all three science subjects in Year 9, including the Year 9 end of year examination. The content followed is largely similar to the separate sciences, although some content is removed and more time is spent on consolidation, including additional practicals, to improve understanding.
2 Exam Papers per Science (6 papers in total)
1 hour and 10 minutes each
60 marks available on each paper
Headteacher Linda Wybar
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