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 covered in Years 7 and 8

Forces, Metals and acids, Electrical circuits, Energy, Waves, Matter, Earth, Universe, Magnets and electromagnets, Organisms, Ecosystems, Genes, Sound Particle Theory, Cells, Solutions, Acids and alkalis, Plants, Speed and acceleration, Microbiology and Elements, compounds and mixtures.

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 will enable each pupil's progress to be measured against expected levels of attainment.

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 taught as three separate disciplines. All courses are linear and pupils will take GCSE examinations at the end of the courses in May/June of Year 11.

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

Sciences at this level 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 main disciplines within science at school. The attention of parents is drawn to the specific course content of the GCSE courses outlined under the separate GCSE science subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

GCSE Biology

The main subject content includes: 1. Cell Biology, 2. Organs and Organ Systems, 3. Disease, and Immunity, 4. Energy in Living Organisms, 5. Homeostasis and Response, 6. Inheritance, variation and evolution and 7. Ecology.

There will be two examination papers:

Paper 1: Will cover topics 1-4 and will contain a mixture of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions

Paper 2: Will cover topics 5-7 and be in a similar style

GCSE Physics

The main subject content includes: 1. Forces, 2. Energy, 3. Waves, 4. Electricity, 5. Magnetism and electromagnetism, 6. Particle model of matter, 7. Atomic structure and 8. Space physics.

There will be two examination papers:

Paper 1: Will cover topics 1-4 and will contain a mixture of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions

Paper 2: Will cover topics 5-8 and be in a similar style

GCSE Chemistry

The main subject content includes: 1. Atomic structure and the Periodic Table, 2. Bonding, structure and matter, 3. Quantitative chemistry, 4. Chemical changes, 5. Energy changes, 6. Rate of chemical change, 7. Organic chemistry, 8. Chemical analysis, 9. Chemistry of the atmosphere and 10. Using resources.

There will be two examination papers:

Paper 1: Will cover topics 1-5 and will contain a mixture of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions

Paper 2: Will cover topics 6-10 and be in a similar style

Across all three disciplines, working scientifically will also be tested through the written examination papers. This will include aspects of investigating, observing, experimenting or testing out ideas. 

There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

Both papers in all three subjects will have a foundation and higher tier and have equal weighting (50% of total mark). Foundation tier papers lead to the award of grades within the range 1 - 5. Higher tier papers will lead to the award of grades within the range 4 - 9

Throughout the course pupils will be given many opportunities to practise answering examination-style questions and to develop examination techniques.

The use of the internet will be developed to help support pupils in their study of the three science subjects. There is an emphasis on the practical and applied nature of each 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, chemical and physical knowledge and understanding.

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