Learning in Science

We believe that Science should be fun but also a learning experience that will take students into their future. At the heart of the Science curriculum is our desire to help students understand how the world around them works and how they themselves interact with their surroundings. We embrace the spirit of curiosity and endeavour to help students to develop the skills to think scientifically and to investigate ideas using the scientific method.

We also aim to help students develop by providing extracurricular clubs and activities that will allow pupils to further enjoy a subject which we hope they will have a keen interest in. We offer a number of enrichment opportunities outside of the curriculum, including a visit to the community lab at Pfizer, Science Museum in London and forces trip to Thorpe Park. 

Curriculum Intent

Guiding students to become responsible citizens who are able to make informed decisions and valid choices throughout their lives.

We aim to transform the lives of our students by helping them to understand aspects of the world around them so that as individuals they are better informed with their personal decisions that affect their health, their diet, exercise, use of energy and the care and enjoyment of the natural and physical environment around them. The scientific practice of questioning, seeking evidence and answers, and sharing views with others also contributes to building confidence and respect for themselves and others. This will allow our students to become confident and successful individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Furthermore, global issues, such as climate change, health and population growth, create an urgent need for young people to have a basic understanding of the relevant scientific ideas, technological and ethical issues and powers of reasoning, so that they are better prepared to consider and face these issues. Our science curriculum will help our students to become responsible citizens who know how to make a positive contribution to society.

Our curriculum will develop cultural capital by giving them the opportunity to engage in activities that develop their knowledge of threshold concepts of science, alongside skill development, to give students the capacity to grasp the essentials of diverse problems, to recognise meaningful patterns, and to retrieve and apply relevant knowledge across the big ideas of science. The cultural capital developed across the science curriculum will ensure students develop the critical spirit of the independent thinker—as a force for challenging orthodoxies not only within science but also in other subjects.

We will ensure our curriculum is broad and balanced by providing local contexts such as sampling local wildlife in ecology topics, and interacting with Pfizer at Sandwich Discovery Park who have adopted us as their local secondary school link. We provide opportunities for students to consider national science issues such as the 2050 carbon neutral debate, and to explore international science projects such as the international space programmes. We provide rich experiences to wrap around the powerful knowledge we deliver in our curriculum to ensure that students become responsible citizens with an informed knowledge of science.

KS3, Years 7, 8 & 9 Science

In Years 7, 8 and 9 students are exposed to a broad range of science concepts that aim to reinforce and extend prior knowledge and to also prepare them for GCSE study which begins in Year 10. We follow the AQA KS3 syllabus. A variety of exciting and innovative teaching methods are used to deliver the curriculum. These aim to engage and ignite an interest in the subject in all students. Where possible, links to science in the real world are used so that students are more aware of the benefits that ‘mastery’ of the subject can bring. To support their study, all students are registered with Carousel Learning, where they can use the learning modules to enhance their learning and complete online homework materials. To further support all students, including SEND, as a department we focus on effective teaching principles that includes sequencing science topics logically, building on prior knowledge in sequential small steps. All students will experience a high quality curriculum and all students will be expected to complete the same learning journey, but support, scaffolds and challenge will be provided where necessary to allow all students to access the curriculum appropriately for their needs.

Every science laboratory is suitably equipped with the necessary resources to facilitate the successful delivery of the full curriculum. We also have an adapted laboratory to allow full curriculum access for all students.  Teaching staff often meet to discuss and share teaching strategies to further enhance the educational experience that is offered to all students.

KS4, Year 10 & Year 11 GCSE Science

Students begin their GCSE study of science at the start of Year 10 and complete their course in Year 11 through the sitting of the formal public examinations. The Department delivers the AQA Combined Science Trilogy course at both Foundation and Higher level, and the AQA Separate Sciences at Foundation and Higher level.

The AQA linear science programme offers a traditional route through GCSE Science, with no coursework. It is assessed through six examination papers at both levels.

Throughout the duration of the course, students will be closely monitored to assess their progress and ensure that they are moving towards fulfilling and exceeding their potential. Where necessary, additional support will be offered in a format that is most suited to the individual to assist in realising this potential.

As with Years 7, 8 and 9, the course is well resourced and delivered through a range of teaching styles including an emphasis on working scientifically which is at the heart of the new GCSE. The teaching staff meet regularly to discuss teaching strategies and support that can be offered to students to enable success.

To help all learners, including SEND, to access GCSE content we focus on high quality teaching, alongside the use of a wide range of supportive resources including structured written supports for writing at science GCSE levels, visualisers to decode exam questions and model expected answers in real time, and we script explanations carefully to allow all learners to understand the content at GCSE. We will use exemplar material to help support students with extended writing and required practical methodology, and model planning techniques to help students become independent learners. Through carefully planned retrieval questioning, we hope to build student confidence over time and develop meaningful memory connections to allow all students to recall and understand the key content of the science curriculum. Where exam arrangements are required, including readers, scribes and word processing, we work closely with relevant departments to ensure this provision is provided across the science department.


There are six papers for Combined Trilogy GCSE: two Biology, two Chemistry and two Physics. Each of the papers will assess knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas.

Biology Paper 1 

What’s assessed: Biology topics 1–4: Cell Biology; Organisation; Infection and response; and Bioenergetics.

How it’s assessed: Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response.

Biology Paper 2 

What’s assessed: Biology topics 5–7: Homeostasis and response; Inheritance, variation and evolution; and Ecology.

How it’s assessed: • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE

Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response.

Chemistry Paper 1 

What’s assessed: Chemistry topics 8–12: Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry; Chemical changes; and Energy changes.

How it’s assessed: • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE

Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response

Chemistry Paper 2 

What’s assessed: Chemistry topics 13–17: The rate and extent of chemical change; Organic chemistry; Chemical analysis; Chemistry of the atmosphere; and Using resources. Questions in Paper 2 may draw on fundamental concepts and principles from Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry from paper 1 content.

How it’s assessed: • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE

Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response.

Physics Paper 1 

What’s assessed: Physics topics 18–21: Energy; Electricity; Particle model of matter; and Atomic structure.

How it’s assessed: • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE

Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response.

Physics Paper 2 

What’s assessed: Physics topics 22–24: Forces; Waves; and Magnetism and electromagnetism

How it’s assessed: • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • Foundation and Higher Tier • 70 marks • 16.7% of GCSE

Question Format: Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer, and open response.

KS5 BTEC Applied Science

In Year 12 students can choose to study the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science, which will be studied over 2 years. This qualification is a single award BTEC and covers 4 units. There are 2 coursework units and 2 units which are assessed by external examinations:

Coursework Units:

Unit 2 – Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques

Unit 8 – Physiology of Body Systems

Exam Units:

Unit 1 – Principles and Applications of Science I

Unit 3 – Science Investigation Skills

This qualification enables students to acquire substantial cross-sector scientific knowledge and practical scientific skills, including carrying out practical laboratory tasks, planning investigations, collecting, analysing and presenting data, and reviewing and refining the methodology of practical and laboratory based work.

This qualification is primarily designed to support progression to applied science and related employment after further study at university. However, it also supports learners progressing directly to employment, as the transferable knowledge, understanding and skills will give learners an advantage when applying for a range of entry-level industry training programmes and/or Higher Apprenticeships in areas such as laboratory technician, industrial technician and medical technician.

KS5 A-Level Biology

In Year 12 students can choose to study the OCR A-Level Biology course, which will be studied over 2 years. This qualification covers 6 units with 3 assessments by external examinations:

Units include:

  • Biological molecules and cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems and the Control of gene expression. 

The biology course offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of interesting topics, from the intricate details of cell structure and biochemistry to entire ecosystems.  Animals, plants and micro-organisms are all considered in terms of the workings of their cells, evolution, genetics, behaviour; with consideration of how they can be used to benefit humankind through biotechnology. Current concerns about human impact on the Earth are examined along with the challenges of maintaining bio-diversity and sustainably managing the environment.


GCSE Science is one of the most rewarding subjects in terms of future prospects. Lots of careers demand a GCSE Science award – either combined or separate – to qualify for further education or for employment in a chosen career. Alongside the subject knowledge acquired by studying for a science qualification, science also teaches and strengthens research, observation and analysing skills through conducting experiments and forming conclusions, and this encourages the brain to think independently and outside the box. Possible careers include:

  • Health-related careers including Nursing, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Doctor, Dentist, Midwife, Paramedic, Operating Department Technician and Pharmacist
  • Careers related to animals and the environment, including Conservation,Farming, Gardening, Vet, Veterinary Nursing, Pet Shop Assistant, Kennel Worker, Groom
  • Teaching
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Research Scientist
  • Lawyer
  • Police
  • Pilot
  • Architect

Science Careers Web links:


Triple Biology

Triple Chemistry

Triple Physics

Seneca Learning


Museums/visitor centres


Fundamental British Values

Through studying Science, students will be given the opportunity to understand why Britain is the way it is for them. Throughout our curriculum, we look explicitly at all of the Fundamental British Values.

  • Democracy – Taking the views and opinions of others into account, particularly when considering the ethics of organ donation, genetic engineering, selective breeding and therapeutic cloning
  • Rule of Law – Understanding the importance of safety rules when working scientifically
  • Tolerance of different Cultures and Religions – Teaching that scientific discoveries have come from other cultures and how religious beliefs often compete with scientific understanding such as the conflict between religion and science when Darwin released his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection
  • Mutual Respect – Working as a team during practical work, discussing findings to pool results to consider the reproducibility of data and offering support and advice to others; being able to consider individual actions on the environment and the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources
  • Individual Liberty – Being able to make individual choices when planning an investigation, but also being informed before making individual choices such as contraception options and control of fertility.