In Years 7 and 8, all pupils attend one lesson per week for each of the three sciences. The Key Stage 3 syllabus is followed closely, with an additional emphasis on practical activities.
In Year 9, pupils are split into five small sets which are initially determined by Mathematics and English test results. Teaching continues to follow the Key Stage 3 syllabus in the Autumn Term, with an exam before Christmas used to re-set the pupils in preparation for the start of the GCSE specification. At this point, pupils may opt to study Triple Award Science and form an additional set.
Pupils not opting to take Triple Award Science sit their core GCSE Science examinations at the end of Year 10. Each assessment can be taken at foundation or higher tier in any combination depending on ability. Generally, pupils in the top three sets enter the higher level papers while the lower sets are judged on an individual basis based on consultation with parents.
In Year 11, all pupils work towards the GCSE Additional Science exam taken at the end of the year. Again, pupils are entered for the examination most appropriate for them to allow them to access their highest possible grade. The core and additional papers involved a balanced study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They are flexible, student-centred and designed to be accessible to pupils of all abilities.
Triple Award Science pupils take all their exams in Year 11.
Pupils wishing to continue with a Science subject in the Sixth Form are expected to have attained at least a grade A in Additional Science, as well as a B in Mathematics and English Language. Usually, between 5 and 10 pupils opt to take Chemistry, Biology and Physics meaning there is one set for each subject.
Biology: this A Level will suit students with an interest and curiosity about the diversity and origins of the world around them. The pace of biological research and the potential impact of recent discoveries show that Biology will play an increasingly important role in modern society, wealth creation and improved quality of life. Topics will focus on the natural environment and human interaction with it, developing an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the ways biological organisms function. pupils should expect to be assessed entirely via terminal written examinations.
Chemistry: the course integrates theory and relevant practical work. The subject content will include four core areas of Chemistry; Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Practical Skills in Chemistry. Amongst various key topics covered in depth, pupils will study atomic structure and the periodic table, entropy changes, acids and bases, rates of reaction, transition metals and bonding and structure. The course will be assessed by three written examination papers at the end of the second year.
Physics: over the two years, pupils will study mechanics, further mechanics, circular motion, particles and nuclear phenomenon, electrical circuits, gravitational and electrical field and thermodynamics amongst other topics. The A Level will be assessed through three exams taking at the end of Year 13, covering all topics taught over the two year period.
All three courses are extremely challenging and are only suitable for pupils with a high level of academic ability and commitment. The hard work, however, is rewarded as Sciences are regarded so highly by universities and employers. As such, attaining one or more Science A Levels opens up a huge range of opportunities for further studies and future careers. Physics is recognised as an impressive entry qualification for all higher education courses and employment. It is a course which demonstrates strong academic ability and understanding, and is particularly suitable for careers in science, medicine, engineering and biotechnology.