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We aim to make our pupils “GCSE Ready” by the end of Year 8. Our challenging Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on depth of knowledge, numeracy and scientific vocabulary. We have looked closely at the content in the new GCSE specification and worked backwards to ascertain how the skills and knowledge can be built up over the five years from Year 7 to Year 11. This is to ensure key concepts are at the heart of the curriculum and that gaps are minimised. This will better prepare our students for the new Science GCSEs which are to be taken for the first time in June 2018 and are more academically challenging than those qualifications which they replace.

In biology students in Year 7 are introduced to the building blocks of living organisms which are known as cells, and the organelles that make up each type of cell. Students will learn about how these cells produce energy and the different transport mechanisms needed to provide the cells with the materials needed for these reactions. In our chemistry units students will gain an understanding of what ‘matter’ is and use the kinetic particle theory to explain the properties of the different states of matter. They will then delve deeper into the structure of matter and will learn that the tiny building blocks of everything (including cells) are called ‘atoms’. Atomic structure, elements and the periodic table will provide the firm foundation to further explore chemical reactions in year 8. Our physics unit will introduce our students to what drives our universe - energy. Students will learn about how energy can be stored and transferred, but not created or destroyed.

Our Year 8 curriculum builds further on the foundations set at Year 7. Through exploring a variety of chemical reactions our students will learn the underpinning concepts to support them in chemistry at GCSE level. Pupils learn how to construct chemical equations, and balance them too. They also understand the concept of ’conservation of mass’. This is vital knowledge for all aspiring scientists and it will help pupils to accurately represent all of the chemical reactions they will study in the future. Our biology units require students to link concepts learnt in Year 7 to plant anatomy. In addition students explore the world of genetics and DNA. Our physics units invite our students into the Newtonian universe, where they will explore the science behind motion. Students will then consolidate their understanding of kinematics with a thorough grounding in Newton’s Laws of Motion.

In Year 7 and in Year 8 students have six lessons a fortnight before beginning their GCSE study in Year 9. Key Stage 3 in the Science Department has been has been restructured to ensure that all students possess the core knowledge and subject specific skills needed for success at GCSE by the end of Year 8. Schemes of work and assessment procedures, ensure that all students are sufficiently challenged according to their starting points, and grasp the key concepts needed for high-level success at GCSE and beyond.

An outline of the curriculum can be found below:


Year 7

Year 8

Module 1

Introduction to science - self quizzing, safety in the laboratory, drawing tables and graphs


Biology Unit 1 - cell structure and function, microscopy, cell specialisation, cell reactions

Mathematics for science - rearranging equations, interpretation of data


Physics Unit 1 - kinematics, calculating motion, describing motion graphically

Module 2

Chemistry Unit 1 - states of matter, changing state, density and gas pressure


Physics Unit 1 - energy stores and pathways, energy transfers, conservation of energy, energy efficiency

Biology Unit 1 - DNA structure and discovery, DNA extraction


Chemistry Unit 1 - conservation of matter, using equations to describe reactions, balancing equations, collision theory, rates of reaction

Module 3

Physics Unit 2 - heating as a pathway of energy, waves as a pathway of energy


Biology Unit 2 - movement of molecules in a cell (diffusion, osmosis and active transport)

Biology Unit 2 - environmental and genetic variation, continuous and discontinues variation, inheritance, determination of genetic ratios, natural selection, genetic engineering

Module 4

Chemistry Unit 2 - elements, mixtures and compounds, atomic structure, the periodic table, electron configuration

Physics Unit 2 - forces, Newton’s first law of motion, mass vs weight


Chemistry Unit 2 - combustion, exothermic and endothermic reactions, thermal decomposition

Module 5

Physics Unit 3 - electricity as a pathway of energy


Biology Unit 3-  control of reactions in a cell (enzymes)

Biology Unit 3- structure and function of a leaf and plant,  transport into a plant (osmosis, diffusion, transpiration), factors effecting transport in plants


Physics Unit 3- Newton’s second and third law of motion, collisions, momentum,

Module 6

Chemistry Unit 3 - separation techniques 

Chemistry Unit 3 - neutralisation, reactivity of metals , displacement reactions



The Key Stage 4 curriculum begins in Year 9 with all students studying GCSE Science. From here they will either go on to study the separate sciences, gaining 3 GCSEs, or complete a combined award course (2 GCSEs covering all 3 specialisms). We follow the Edexcel suite of qualifications with all students beginning a linear GCSE course in Year 9. Both courses cover a variety of scientific topics which are taught as units within the three main areas of Science; Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Combined Science

Edexcel GCSE Combined Science is equivalent to 2 GCSEs. It is divided into 6 units. Each unit (B1 & B2, C1 & C2 and P1 & P2) is assessed through a 1 hour 10 minute, 60 mark, tiered written examination. There is a Foundation paper: grades 1-5 or a Higher paper: grades 4-9. During the duration of the GCSE course, students will undertake 18 mandatory core practicals; these will be completed in class. Knowledge and understanding of these practical techniques and procedures will be assessed in the 6 terminal papers in the summer examinations. It is essential that students complete all 18 core practicals.


The Key Stage 5 curriculum involves the study of BTEC National Extended Certificate in Applied Science (Level 3). The qualification carries UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as meeting admission requirements for many relevant courses, being equivalent to 1 A level.


The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science is intended as an Applied

General qualification for post-16 students who want to continue their education and who aim to progress to higher education courses. The requirements of the qualification will mean that students develop the transferable and higher order skills which are valued by higher education providers and employers. For example, the study of Applied Science particularly encourages development of skills such as evaluation, analysis and synthesis. These skills are developed through the variety of approaches to teaching and learning.

In the BTEC National units there are opportunities during the teaching and learning phase to give

students practice in developing employability skills. These include:


  • cognitive and problem-solving skills: use critical thinking, approach non-routine problems applying expert and creative solutions, use systems and technology
  • intrapersonal skills: communicating, working collaboratively, negotiating and influencing, self-presentation
  • interpersonal skills: self-management, adaptability and resilience, self-monitoring and development.


The BTEC Nationals are demanding, students will have to complete a range of units, be organised, take some assessments that the examination board will set and mark, and keep a portfolio of the assignments that are marked by their teachers. It is therefore expected that learners who wish to take this qualification will have successfully completed their GCSEs and potentially some vocational qualifications with a level 5 or above.


The course consists of a mixture of disciplines, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These are studied across 4 separate units.

Units are assessed using a grading scale of Distinction, Merit, Pass and Unclassified. All mandatory

and optional units contribute proportionately to the overall qualification grade attained by the student.




Units studied

Form of assessment










External practical examination

External written examination


Internally assessed assignments based on practical investigations






External written examination


Internally assessed written assignments



Unit 1 -   This unit has an external written examination and covers some of the key science concepts in biology, chemistry and physics.

This unit includes:

  • Periodicity and properties of elements
  • Production and uses of substances in relation to properties
  • Structure and functions of cells and tissues
  • Cell specialisation
  • Tissue structure and function
  • Waves in communication



Unit 2 – this is an internally assessed unit. Students are introduced to quantitative laboratory techniques, calibration, chromatography, calorimetry and laboratory safety which are relevant to the chemical and life science industries.

This unit includes:

  • titration and colorimetry to determine the concentration of solutions
  • calorimetry to study cooling curves
  • chromatographic techniques to identify components in mixtures
  • Self-evaluation related to the development of scientific skills for laboratory work.



Unit 3 -  This unit has external practical and written examination elements. The unit covers the stages involved and the skills needed in planning a scientific investigation: how to record, interpret, draw scientific conclusions and evaluate.

This unit includes:

  • Planning a scientific investigation
  • Data collection, processing and analysis/interpretation
  • Drawing conclusions and evaluation
  • Enzymes in action
  • Diffusion of molecules
  • Plants and their environment
  • Energy content of fuels
  • Electrical circuits

Unit 12 – this is an internally assessed optional unit. The students will gain understanding of five types of diseases, their causes and how humans try to prevent and treat them.

This unit includes:

  • Pathogens and infectious diseases
  • Dietary and environmental diseases
  • Genetic and degenerative disease
  • Progression of disease over time
  • Methods by which infectious diseases can be spread
  • Methods by which infectious diseases can be prevented from spreading
  • Management of infectious diseases
  • Methods of treatment
  • Access to and acceptance of treatment
  • Body defence mechanisms