Science

Learning science enables students to problem solve, think logically, work collaboratively and communicate ideas. It challenges them on a daily basis and empowers them to vocalise their opinions addressing ethical, social and economic issues, which are all essential life skills.

The aim of the science department is to inspire, enthuse and nurture the skills of all students. Our expectations are high and the intention is to raise aspirations and provide pathways and opportunities for students to pursue a wide variety of careers.

We challenge students of all abilities and are proactive in staging many enrichment activities throughout the year. These are designed to both accelerate student learning and highlight the importance and relevance of Science in the world today.

Science in years 7 and 8 builds on prior knowledge from key stage 2 and prepares students to start GCSE science in year 9. Students will follow the mastery curriculum which aims to ensure that students have mastered key practical skills, concepts and vocabulary across the three areas of biology, chemistry and physics.

Biology topics include the study of cells, body systems and reproduction. In chemistry, students will study atoms, elements, compounds and chemical reactions, and our physics topics include forces, space, light and sound.

In year 8, students deepen their learning through biology topics such as adaptation and inheritance, ecosystems, health and lifestyle. In chemistry, the periodic table, separation techniques and metals and acids are studied, with physics focusing on energy, motion, pressure, electricity and magnetism.

In year 9, students begin studying for their GCSE examinations, following the AQA specification. This ensures that our students have the opportunity to gain three separate AQA Science GCSE qualifications in biology, chemistry and physics by the end of year 11.

All students will study biology, chemistry and physics as the combined science GCSE covers all three disciplines. At the end of year 10, a decision will be made as to which students will continue studying for either the three separate sciences or the combined science GCSE. All GCSE courses will be examined at the end of year 11. Students will complete a number of core practicals throughout the course, and are tested on these in their final examinations.

The science department offers a range of extra curricular activities including a weekly key stage 3 science club, and the opportunity to carry out group project work leading to a Crest Award. An exciting programme of events runs during British Science Week and a number of educational visits take place throughout the year to inspire our students and enrich our science curriculum.

GCSE Triple Science

Exam board: AQA
Course codes:

  • GCSE Biology – 8461
  • GCSE Chemistry – 8462
  • GCSE Physics – 8463

Contact: Mr G Olley golley@retfordoaks-ac.org.uk

GCSE Science offers students a broad, coherent course of study that covers many areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Students will learn about the development of scientific ideas and its power and limitations. They will also evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of scientific and technological advances. They will develop experimental, investigative and problem solving skills.

In Science, the emphasis is on understanding concepts through experimental work and the new GCSE specifications include a minimum number of core practicals through which students will demonstrate their practical competences. A wide variety of teaching styles are used to develop ideas, including role play, class presentations, data-logging, debating, model making, carrying out your own experiments and the use of ICT.

By taking Sciences separately at GCSE level you will cover more content, so you’ll be better prepared if you want to take Science A Level. Pupils who take separate GCSE Sciences are also more likely to get higher grades in A Level Sciences.

What will I study?

The curriculum covers a wide variety off scientific areas studied throughout the three years.

In Biology, you will study:

  • cell biology, organisation, infection and response
  • bio energetics, homeostasis and response
  • inheritance, variation and evolution
  • ecology

In Chemistry, you will study:

  • atomic structure
  • the periodic table
  • bonding
  • properties of matter
  • quantitative chemistry
  • chemical changes
  • energy changes
  • organic chemistry
  • chemical analysis
  • chemistry of the atmosphere
  • using resources

In Physics, you will study:

  • energy transfers
  • energy resources
  • electricity
  • waves
  • radiation
  • forces and motion
  • momentum
  • light
  • sound
  • electromagnetism
  • the universe

How will I be assessed?

At the end of year 11, students will be assessed through two written papers in each of the three subjects.

Each paper will be 1hr 45 mins and contribute to 50% of the overall result. These papers will include multiple choice, short answer and longer written response questions, as well as calculations.

Students will be provided with some of the formulae in the examinations but will also be expected to learn a number of them.

The exam papers will also include questions on the core practicals that students will have completed, as well as general questions on working scientifically.

Course outcomes

3 x GCSEs (grades 9-1).

What careers could I pursue?

Whatever career you are considering, taking Triple Science will set you up well for later life. Employers are crying out for candidates with science-based skills. The types of skills you learn studying all three Sciences can be really helpful for all sorts of different careers, such as:

  • medicine
  • veterinary science
  • pharmacology
  • forensic science
  • software and games development
  • zoology
  • engineering
  • motorsport
  • medical research
Retford Oaks Academy