The Sciences

Years 7 and 8

This two-year course is based on the revised national Curriculum syllabus but is enhanced with extra subject material.

Course content 

The emphasis in Year 7 is largely on developing pupils’ observational, cognitive and manipulative skills to enable them to work effectively in their future study. Throughout the year pupils learn to work safely in a laboratory using a variety of skills and techniques. 

Through an extensive programme of practical work we encourage pupils to make accurate observations and measurements and learn how to draw conclusions from their data and write reports on their practical work. They are taught to check that their investigations are fair tests and that their results are reliable. By the end of this year  pupils should be familiar with scientific investigation from the planning stage through to evaluation, using routine laboratory equipment and will have encountered various methods of data presentation.  

In Year 8 the emphasis on a practical approach to the sciences continues. As in Year 7, emphasis is placed on continuing to develop pupil’s observational skills and their ability to interpret and apply scientific data. In addition the acquisition of scientific knowledge is an important part of the approach to teaching.

Topics taught in Year 8 include nutrition, elements, forces, compounds and formulae, health, sound, chemical changes, ‘burning’ skeletons and movement, temperature and energy transfer, releasing energy, reactions, microbiology. 

Lessons involving ‘thinking skills’ and scientific reasoning are used throughout the two years of the course to reinforce the skills needed for future success in the sciences. 

Assessment 

Pupil understanding and their learning is assessed week by week through regular homework tasks. These tasks might include model-making, producing a scientific poster or extended writing in addition to shorter written exercises. Pupils are assessed more formally each term by means of a written test. These tests, based on Key Stage 3 SATS questions will enable and individual’s progress to be measured against expected levels of attainment. 

It is intended that pupils will be taught in ability sets from the start of Year 7. Movement between the ability sets will take place at the end of a term on the basis of attainment in tests and the standard of class and homework.

Homework

Homework is set once a week. Each exercise is intended to develop a pupil’s ability to study independently. Typical exercises will include writing-up practical work, problem solving and developing explanations or presentations based on current scientific topics. 

Year 9 

Year 9 marks the start of Key Stage 4 Sciences. The sciences are offered as three separate sciences.  

Pupils in Year 9 will continue to be taught their sciences at a level appropriate to their ability in one of four ability groups. There are regular reviews of pupil progress via termly testing and general classwork and homework. As a result, there will be a number of opportunities for pupils to move between the ability groups.  

Throughout GCSE the sciences are taught as separate subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and by specialist teachers. As a result all of our pupils are offered a broad course that emphasises the common nature of scientific practice whilst allowing them to study the three disciplines within science at school.  

The attention of parents is drawn to the specific course content of the GCSE science courses outlined under the separate GCSE science subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

GCSE Biology Year 9

Biology as a separate subject forms one of the components of a three science course along with Chemistry and Physics. The Biology course follows the Edexcel GCSE Biology syllabus.  

Assessments in Biology are not tiered (i.e. no higher and foundation tiers) but cover the full range of grades (9 downwards). The course is examined by means of two written papers of two and one hours duration respectively. These consist of structured questions and extended writing. There are no multiple choice questions. Paper 1 accounts for two thirds of the total marks and Paper 2 one third. 

There is no coursework or controlled internal assessment. 

The main topics covered in Biology are the nature and variety of living organisms, structure and function in living organisms, reproduction and inheritance, ecology and the environment and the use of biological resources. 

Throughout the course pupils are given many opportunities to practise answering examination style questions and to develop their examination technique. The course textbook has been chosen for its close match to the specification, although pupils are encouraged to read beyond this by using readers and relevant articles. The use of the Internet will be developed to help support pupils in their study of Biology. There is an emphasis on the practical and applied nature of the subject and pupils can expect to spend a large proportion of their time in the laboratory involved in practical work to help extend and deepen their levels of biological knowledge and understanding. 

Good pass grades, i.e. 8 and above for Biology will be welcomed as appropriate for entry A Level Sciences.   

The study of Biology as a separate science provides a step along the way towards the study of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, especially when combined with Chemistry. In addition the study and development of genetics and genome-based sciences are areas of increasing importance.

GCSE Chemistry Year 9 

Chemistry as a separate subject forms one of the components of a three science course along with Biology and Physics. The Chemistry course follows the Edexcel GCSE Chemistry syllabus.  

The assessments in Chemistry are not tiered but cover the full range of grades (9 downwards). The course is examined by means of two written papers of two and one hours duration respectively. These consist of structured questions and extended writing. There are no multiple choice questions. Paper 1 accounts for two thirds of the total marks and Paper 2 one third. 

There is no coursework or controlled internal assessment. The main topics covered in Chemistry are: the principals of Chemistry, Chemistry of the elements, organic and physical Chemistry and Chemistry in Society.

Throughout the course our pupils are given many opportunities to practise answering examination style questions and to develop their examination technique. The course textbook has been chosen for its close match to the specification, although pupils are encouraged to read beyond this by using readers and relevant articles. The use of the Internet will be developed to help support pupils in their study of Chemistry. 

There is an emphasis on the practical and applied nature of  the subject and pupils can expect to spend a large proportion of their time in the laboratory involved in practical work to help extend and deepen their levels of chemical knowledge and understanding. 

Good pass grades, i.e. 8 and above for Chemistry will be welcomed as appropriate for entry for entry A Level Sciences.   

The study of Chemistry as a separate science provides a step along the way towards the study of Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, especially when combined with Biology. In addition the UK has a well developed Chemical industry offering a wide range of well paid careers. Environmental Chemistry is an area of increasing importance.

GCSE Physics Year 9 

Physics as a separate subject forms one of the components of a three science course along with Biology and Chemistry. The Physics course follows the Edexcel GCSE Physics syllabus.

The assessments in Physics are not tiered but cover the full range of grades (9 downwards). The course is examined by means of two written papers of two and one hours duration respectively. These consist of structured questions and extended writing. There are no multiple choice questions. Paper 1 accounts for two thirds of the total marks and Paper 2 one third. 

There is no coursework or controlled internal assessment.

The main topics covered in Physics are forces and motion, electricity, waves, energy resources and energy transfer, solids, liquids and gases, magnetism and electromagnetism, radioactivity and particles. 

Throughout the course pupils are given many opportunities to practise answering examination style questions and to develop their examination technique.

The course textbook has been chosen for its close match to the specification, although pupils are encouraged to read beyond this by using readers and relevant articles. The use of the Internet will be developed to help support pupils in their study of Physics. There is an emphasis on the practical and applied nature of the subject and pupils can expect to spend a large proportion of their time in the laboratory involved in practical work to help extend and deepen their levels of physical knowledge and understanding. 

Good pass grades, i.e. 8 and above for Physics will be welcomed as appropriate for entry for entry A Level Sciences.   

The study of Physics as separate science, especially when combined with a sound knowledge of mathematics, makes an ideal launch pad for further Physics-based studies and is one step along the way to an almost endless array of interesting career opportunities.