Science

Intent

Our spiralled science curriculum at Taverham High school aims to engage and inspire students to understand the importance of science in the real world. At Key Stage 3 we take the 10 Big ideas of Science and build upon the simple concepts they were introduced to in primary school. Students develop both the substantive knowledge of laws, theories and scientific models and their disciplinary knowledge, also referred to as Working Scientifically skills, through lesson activities, homework tasks and both formative and summative assessment opportunities. Through rigorous feedback and assessment in class, students develop the foundations on which they can build upon, allowing them to achieve on their choice of GCSE combined science or triple science course at Key Stage 4. Class work is also complemented by an offering of extra-curricular opportunities including STEM clubs, competitions and trips to inspire and engage students beyond the curriculum and nurture a desire to continue to learn about the world around them. 

Below is a summary of topics covered through Years 7, 8 and 9. The units are taught on rotation through the three sciences to ensure students become used to having to retrieve information over a longer period of time. Formative end of unit tests help students to identify gaps in their knowledge and prepare for summative assessments which occur once a term, requiring students to revise a larger number of units in one go. This also helps students in preparing for the linear GCSE course where exams are all at the end of the two years. 

Year 7
Unit Description

B1

B2

B3

C1

C2

P1

P2

Introduction to cells

Relationships in ecosystems and variation

Reproduction

States of matter

Acids and metals

Magnets, sound and light

Forces and energy

Year 8
Unit Description

B4

B5

B6

C3

C4

P3

P4

Nutrition and digestion

Breathing and movement

Respiration and photosynthesis

Elements and compounds

Space and earth science

Electricity and electromagnetism

Wave and heat transfer

Year 9
Unit Description

B7

C5

P5

Genetics

Chemistry and the environment

Forces and pressure

In the spring term of Year 9 students begin the first of the biology, chemistry and physics GCSE units. These units are common for both combined science and triple science students.

Intent

At Key Stage 4, we prepare students for their choice of GCSE science course, with the aim to displace any misconceptions they may have and continue to develop their substantive and disciplinary knowledge to apply core knowledge to new scenarios they may face. We build on the knowledge and skills accumulated at Key Stage 3, introducing more complex models and developing literacy and communication skills to enable them to explain phenomena they will come across in their daily lives. No matter what the future career intentions of our students, we aim to engage and inspire them to see the importance of studying science in developing transferrable key skills and appreciating the impact science has on society, not just in terms of developing theories and technologies, but also living sustainably and ethically. Both combined science and triple science options give students a broad and balanced foundation for future studies and our extra-curricular offering, alongside lessons aims to inspire students to continue to study science at A-level. 

Why study science?

Our world is constantly changing and evolving. There has been a revolution in the way information is stored and accessed, via the web. Due to the demands we make on the planet’s resources and the environment, we need to develop new or alternative solutions for nearly everything we do, from fuel production to waste disposal. By studying science, you could have a fascinating and crucial role to play by, for example, designing realistic alternative energy sources, helping people to live more sustainably or discovering new medicines and vaccines for treating diseases.

How do you learn?

Students are usually taught by two teachers over the two years and topics will be rotated through the three sciences to ensure students practise retrieval of prior knowledge regularly in preparation for their final GCSE exams which they sit at the end of Year 11. Throughout the two years, students will be assessed through a number of different activities:

  • Classwork – ongoing formative assessment with teacher verbal feedback provided throughout
  • Homework – there will be an assessed homework for each topic when students will receive written feedback from their teachers and given an opportunity to act on that feedback
  • End of unit tests – these again are formative and help students to understand gaps in their knowledge to inform their revision for termly summative assessments.Termly assessments – this will include mock exams in Year 10 and Year 11. These termly assessments will inform the data that is reported to parents. 

What is studied?

Life processes and habits of all living things, from tiny single cells to whole organisms and how they interact with each other and with their environment. You will investigate materials in terms of their structure, their physical and chemical properties, how they interact and what role they play in the living world. You will examine the science of matter and its motion, as well as space and time, learn about concepts such as force, energy, mass and charge, and understand how the world around us behaves.

How are you assessed?

100% examination with six papers at the end of Year 11, with practical skills questions embedded in the examinations

Where will this take me post-16?

Studying science will give you an excellent foundation for the largest possible range of further qualifications and careers. A good knowledge of science will mean you could go on to science based subjects like healthcare, engineering, electronics and environmental science. It will also prepare you for all sorts of jobs like law, accountancy or business.

A-Level Biology

Examination Board: AQA

Intent

Course summary

Our A-level biology curriculum aims to enthuse and challenge students from the start, allowing them to explore the world of biology and see the connection between all aspects of the planet we inhabit. It provides the foundations for understanding not only ourselves, but the organisms found in the natural world. We aim to inspire students in their studies to consider how biology contributes to our changing environment and how it is a vital driver for our future prosperity. Students are taught essential knowledge and application, but significant focus is also given to mastering exceptional practical skills, equipping students to go on to achieve on future university science-related courses or employment/apprenticeship schemes. Our curriculum fosters our students’ interest through ecology field trips, exposure to the latest biotechnology equipment and information about future career prospects within science. 

Introduction and Structure

Biology A-level will give you the skills to make connections and associations with all living things around you. Biology literally means the study of life and if that’s not important, what is? Studying biology will give you an opportunity to develop your understanding and knowledge of the natural world. It is a heavyweight subject that is sure to impress universities and potential employers. Being such a broad topic, you’re bound to find a specific area of interest, plus it opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers. 

Core Content

  • biological molecules
  • 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
  • the control of gene expression

Paper 1: written examination 2 hours/91 marks/35% of total qualification

Paper 2: written examination 2 hours/91 marks/35% of total qualification

Paper 3: written examination 2 hours/78 marks/30% of total qualification

Careers and Progression

A-level biology opens the doors to a diverse range of higher degree courses and careers such as medicine, nursing, veterinary science, physiotherapy, midwifery, occupational therapy, biochemistry, zoology, environmental science, dentistry, bioinformatics, bioengineering and radiography.

Entrance Requirements

Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

Strongly recommended: Grade 5 in maths

Recommended: Grade 5 in biology

A-Level Chemistry

Examination Board OCR

Intent

Course summary

Our A-level chemistry course aims to deepen students’ substantive and disciplinary knowledge from GCSE (both combined and separate science) by introducing new concepts and skills gradually and returning to these later in the course. Through regular experimental work students master key practical competencies and gain the necessary skills to record, present and analyse data and see the relevance of these skills to future roles. We aim to inspire students to use their chemistry knowledge in the future by the provision of high quality teaching and extra-curricular opportunities.

Our curriculum develops their appreciation of the important role chemistry has to play in the use and protection of the earth’s resources. We aim for students to be empowered to use their skills and knowledge to engage in chemistry-related studies or employment in the future. A-level chemistry gives students an exciting insight into the contemporary world of chemistry. It covers the key concepts of chemistry and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. Students learn about chemistry in a range of different contexts and the impact it has on industry and many aspects of everyday life. They learn to investigate and solve problems in a range of contexts.

Subject Content

  1. Development of practical skills 
  2. Foundations in Chemistry 
  3. Periodic table and energy 
  4. Core organic chemistry 
  5. Physical chemistry and transition elements 
  6. Organic chemistry and analysis 

An additional aspect of the course is the practical endorsement. To achieve a pass students will be expected, through a range of experiments, to display competency in:

  • following procedures
  • applying an investigative approach when using instruments and equipment
  • working safely
  • researching
  • referencing
  • reporting

Assessment Overview

There are three papers in Year 13. The course is 100% exam with no coursework. 

  1. Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry: 2 hr 15 mins - 37% of A-level 
  2. Synthesis and analytical techniques: 2 hr 15 mins - 37% of A-level 
  3. Unified chemistry: 1 hr 15 mins - 26% of A-level 

Career Opportunities

A-level chemistry is an excellent base for a university degree in healthcare such as medicine, pharmacy and dentistry as well as the biological sciences, physics, mathematics, pharmacology and analytical chemistry. Chemistry is also taken by many law applicants as it shows you can cope with difficult concepts. Chemistry can also complement a number of arts subjects. 
 
A range of career opportunities include the chemical, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries as well as areas such as forensics, environmental protection and healthcare. The problem solving skills are useful for many other areas such as law and finance.

Entrance Requirements

Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

Strongly recommended: Grade 5 in maths

Recommended: Grade 5 in chemistry

A-Level Physics

Examination Board: AQA

Intent

Course summary

Our A-level physics curriculum aims to develop students in their conceptual, mathematical and analytical thinking, as well as improve their ability to apply new knowledge to practical applications, through a variety of experiments and real-world scenarios. Students deepen their understanding of familiar topics such as forces, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism, alongside exploring exciting new areas such as particle physics, quantum physics, cosmology and medical physics. Practical work, which also allows for collaboration with peers, reinforces the theories studied. We aim to inspire students to consider the wide range of opportunities available to them post A-level, through signposting of further studies they could undertake or relevant employment/apprenticeships. We challenge students to observe the world around them and encourage them to use their skills and knowledge to make it a better place for all. 

Core Content

  • measurements and their errors
  • particles and radiation
  • waves
  • mechanics and materials
  • electricity
  • further mechanics and thermal physics
  • fields and their consequences
  • nuclear physics

Options (one is chosen)

  • astrophysics
  • medical physics
  • engineering physics
  • turning points in physics
  • electronics

Assessment

The qualification is linear, meaning that students sit all the A-level exams at the end of their A-level course.

Paper 1: written examination 2 hours/85 marks/34% of total qualification
Paper 2: written examination 2 hours/85 marks/34% of total qualification
Paper 3: written examination 2 hours/80 marks/32% of total qualification

Please see the AQA syllabus for details of the assessment weightings

Careers and Progression

Physics involves lots of ideas at different levels and different ways of looking at the same problem. Problem solving is a skill all employers want an employee to have. Studying physics at A-level allows you to obtain a whole range of other, highly desirable skills: development of practical skills, working with others in a team, writing reports, analysing trends and data, improved organisational skills to name but a few. Studying physics will open up a multitude of career opportunities. Universities and employers take notice of a good grade in A-level physics, more so than certain other subjects. By studying physics you will advantage yourself in the highly competitive university selection process or work place.  To find out more about what careers physics can lead to visit http://www.iop.org/careers/

Entrance Requirements

Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

Strongly recommended: Grade 5 in maths

Recommended: Grade 5 in physics