Tel: 01256 322691



     Aims and philosophy of the department

    Our aim is for every student to realise their potential in Science and to enhance their curiosity of the world around them.

    Objectives of the department:

    1. Students should be able to demonstrate at an appropriate level, understanding of the National Curriculum Science.
    2. Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
      • communicate in written, oral and symbolic form;
      • select and use data and reference materials;
      • use IT in science;
      • make informed judgements from relevant facts and data;
      • use their knowledge in applied situations;
      • understand the need for and follow safety instructions.
    3. Students should be able to use their knowledge and scientific skills to plan investigations in which they:
      • ask questions, predict and hypothesise;
      • observe, manipulate and measure variables;
      • interpret their results;
      • evaluate the scientific evidence.

    Department Personnel

    The department consists of seven full time members of staff and three part time staff.  All are well qualified in their specialisms, and we try to ensure that students have a subject specialist teaching them.  The teaching staffs are supported by a team of three laboratory technicians.

    The department has seven specialist teaching laboratories and each is fully equipped for Key Stage 3 and 4 Science teaching.

    Key Stage 3

    Curriculum Provision

    The Key Stage 3 programme of study of science is delivered in years 7, 8 and 9.  It mainly focuses to engage students with a wide variety of scientific concepts and activities that will stimulate their naturally enquiring minds into asking question ‘how does science work’? The curriculum puts more emphasis on areas of application and implications of science which will encourage discussion of some of the ethical and moral dilemmas faces by modern science. It further focuses on collaborative learning. Ultimately, the objective is to develop confident young scientists who will have the capacity to analyse and evaluate scientific evidence and communicate their ideas in a coherent and logical manner.

    Therefore, the Department is making efforts to engage, enthuse and excite our students, but our first important priority and commitment is to generate a learning environment that student will enjoy. When students realise that science can be fun, they well on the way to findings the answers to ‘How Science Work’.

    Curriculum Content / Units

    The content of the new Key Stage 3 Programme of study of science focuses on key scientific knowledge and understanding.

    Students will have the opportunity to learn about how science works across all units. They will have the opportunity to carry out experiments or investigations as well as learning about the Science behind it.   

    The different aspects that make up ‘How Science works’ are :

    • Data, evidence, theories and explanations
    • Practical and enquiry skills
    • Communication skills
    • Applications and implications of science

    The department follows the Collins Key Stage 3 scheme of work.  Whilst the majority of pupils in Years 7-9 complete these units in three years, the two top set on each side of the year are fast tracked.  This means that they study Key Stage 3 in Years 7 and 8, and then start studying GCSE Science in Years 9, 10 and 11, leading to a separate science qualification.


    Topics covered

    Organisms, behaviour and health

    • Cells, tissues and organs
    • Reproduction
    • Keeping Healthy
    • Studying diseases

    Chemical and material behaviour

    • Working in a laboratory
    • Particles and reactions
    • separating mixtures
    • Atoms, Elements and compounds

    Energy, electricity and radiations

    • Energy transfers
    • Forces and speeds
    • Magnetism
    • Sound and heat

    Environment, Earth and universe.

    • Classification and food webs
    • Weathering and fossils
    • Life and death
    • Space

    Key Stage 3 Assessment

    At Key Stage 3, students are assessed in two ways:

    Continuous formative assessment

    As the core part of the continuous formative assessment, the Department uses ‘Assessing Students’ Progress’ (APP).  This is designed to test student’s ability to use important skills in Science.

    At Key Stage 3, students will be assessed in wide range areas during their lessons using the assessment criteria (APP). The assessment criteria comprise five parts:

    • Thinking Scientifically (AF1)
    • Understanding the applications and implications of science (AF2)
    • Communicating and collaborating in science (AF3)
    • Using investigative approaches (AF4)
    • Working critically with evidence (AF5)

    Students can be assessed on these at any time, but there is one formal assessment per unit at Key Stage 3.  This is to ensure that students are fully prepared for their controlled assessments at Key Stage 4.

    End of module tests

    Students will have an end of unit test at the end of every topic, which will provide pupils with their level for that topic.

    When reporting levels, a student’s level will be a combination of the above, taking into account the need for students to be able to learn how to use the knowledge that they have learnt in lessons.

    Key Stage 4

    Curriculum Provision

    All students study OCR Gateway Science.  The routes through GCSE Science are as follows:

    Year 9 : The top set on each year group begins studying GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  In year 9 they study a Foundation unit in each module to prepare them for the remaining modules. 

    Year 10 : The two top sets continue studying for their GCSE’s in separate Sciences.  Other Year 10’s, study Core Science with the modules examined in June of Year 10.

    Year 11 : The two top sets continue studying for their GCSE’s in separate Sciences, and will sit Biology, Chemistry and Physics examinations in June.

    Other Year 11’s, study Additional Science with the modules examined in June of Year 11.

    Key Stage 4 Assessment

    At Key Stage 4, students are assessed in two ways:

    Internal assessment

    • All students must complete the required GCSE coursework during the course of study.
    • Students will need to complete and submit one piece of controlled assessment work.  The number of opportunities to do this is very limited by the exam board and we do select the best task to complete on the 1st attempt.  Students are strongly advised to do their best on this task.
    • All internal assessments are carried out under controlled conditions in school.
    • All course works (skills assessment) will be marked by individual science teachers of the departments in accordance to the published assessment criteria by OCR Gateway GCSE specifications.
    • Marked course works will be moderated internally by staff members of the department and also by external examiners.
    • All pupils will sit mid module tests and end of unit tests in order that the Science department can monitor pupil progress.

    External examinations

    • Prepared by OCR Gateway exam board;
    • Students and parents will be informed the published dates of all external examinations before ahead. It is strongly recommended that students do not take holidays in term time during years 9 to 11, particularly without checking coursework and examination dates with the science department beforehand.

    Examinations now take place in June of Year 10 and Year 11.  All courses are linear, and in line with the changed rules there are no opportunities for re-sits.

    The former double award GCSE is now equivalent to the Core and Additional Sciences.  Separate grades are now awarded to each GCSE.

    The courses consist of the following sections:

    Core Science

    Physics, Chemistry and Biology modules

    Examination 1


    Examination 2


    Controlled assessment


    Additional Science

    Physics, Chemistry and Biology modules

    Examination 1


    Examination 2


    Controlled assessment


    The controlled assessment task requires research, practical work and evaluation of results.

    Biology, Chemistry and Physics

    Each subject has two examinations in June of Year 11


    Controlled assessment


    The top two sets   should achieve 2 Science GCSEs - the three separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics).

    All other students should achieve 2 Science GCSEs - Core Science and Additional Science.

    The exam papers will consist of short answer questions, along with some long answer questions, which test student’s scientific literacy.  Students are prepared for these throughout the course.

    All examinations are available at Higher (Grades A*-D) and Foundation (Grades C-G)

    All students need to complete a controlled assessment piece of work during the year.  This consists of a task set by the examination board.  This consists of a research task (which students can research at home), and then a practical experiment planned by the students.  The final part is analysis and evaluation of the data that students have collected which is completed under examination conditions.

    Extra-curricular opportunities

    The Science Department makes efforts to organise a wide range of extra-curricular activities for all students who have an interest in science. At the moment, the department is developing opportunities for pupils to participate in an electronics club and astronomy club.

    The Department also encourages and helps students to participate in regional and national science-education related competitions. For example, BA CREST(Celebrating CREativity in Science and Technology) is a nationally recognized accreditation scheme for project work in the fields of science and technology. Aimed at students aged 11 – 19, BA CREST awards encourages students to develop their curiosity, problem-solving and communication skills. 

    The department is also developing links with Thermofisher Scientific Ltd, a local company, and it is hoped that some more extra-curricular activities and opportunities will arise from links with companies like this.  The link with Thermofisher is aimed at improving the range of STEM activities offered by the department.

    How can you support my child's learning?

    There are many ways that you can support your child at home with their Science learning:

    • Encourage your child to take an interest in Science articles on the TV, or on the web and look for opportunities to discuss the Science involved in them
    • Discuss the work that your child has done in Science lessons and get them to explain the Science that they have done
    • For Key Stage 4 pupils, purchase a revision guide for their GCSE course which will support throughout the course (these are available for purchase from the school at a reduced price)
    • Encourage your child to use BBC Bitesize or SAM learning as these can help boost your child’s results.