Cardinal Heenan

Catholic High School

Science
Science

Science Courses

Curriculum Leader: Mr R O’Flanagan

Science Curriculum Intent

Science is, at heart, the search for universal truths about the universe around us. There has been enormous progress in all fields of science (and consequently, technology) over the last few centuries. This has happened, in part, because scientists were willing to admit their ignorance, and decided to interrogate and investigate the world around them. We want students to recognise that there is nothing wrong with accepting that they don’t know everything, and we want to equip them with the knowledge to better understand current thinking about the natural world; and the skills to investigate it further.

At key stage 3, we have taken a conscious decision to focus on the big ideas in detail, which students will revisit and add to at key stage 4. At this stage, we want to inspire awe and wonder, and to allow them to make links between the disciplines in science. Our curriculum is designed to be accessible and relevant to the everyday lives of students. To that end we have eschewed some of the physics formulae and more abstract ideas until Y9 (and beyond), when students will have a firmer grounding in the basics.

The big ideas students will meet at KS3 are Energy, Waves, Space, Forces, Particles, Bioenergetics, Ecology, Organisation of biological systems, Infection, Chemical Reactions, Elements & Compounds, and Cells. Throughout all topics there will be opportunities to acquire, develop, and apply investigative skills.

At Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) and Separate Sciences courses (depending on aptitude). These courses have been chosen because they too provide a broad and rigorous academic approach to science education. They also provide an ideal preparation for A-levels and apprenticeships in a world where STEM is of ever-increasing importance and relevance. A small number of students follow the AQA Entry Level qualification, as it better fits their needs.

Students with a strong grasp of the scientific method and a firm understanding of the way the universe works are in a good position to make their own decisions about what is reported in the news and on social media. We hope to nurture enquiring minds, but above all make science enjoyable and relevant for our students.

 

The Science GCSE courses aim to provide, through study of practical science, a worthwhile educational experience for all students so that they may:

  • be suitably prepared to embark upon A-Level in any of the pure and applied sciences or certain science dependant vocational courses; or enter the world of work at the end of Year 11 with an appreciation of science in everyday life;
  • develop abilities and skills in scientific enquiry, safe practice and experimentation, organisation and communication;
  • foster an interest in science and develop an understanding of the role of science in society by the use of scientific and technological knowledge and ideas to provide explanations and to make informed judgements in everyday life.

During Year 9 decisions will be made about which of the two science routes (Combined Science or Triple Science) students
will continue to study.

Tiers of Entry

In order for each student to have the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential, Science subjects have two tiers of entry. The content of the examination papers is targeted at the grades that can be achieved at that tier.

Foundation Tier: Grades 1-5. Candidates entered for the foundation tier can only achieve grades 1-5.

Higher Tier: Grades 4-9. Candidates entered for the higher tier can only achieve grades 4-9.

Each student’s tier of entry will be decided in Year 11.

Separate Science GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)

Course Level: GCSE Exam Board: AQA Course codes: 8461, 8462, 8463

The Separate Sciences courses (often referred to as Triple Science) lead to three separate GCSE grades – one for Biology, one for Chemistry, and one for Physics.

What the course covers

The separate science courses cover a wide range of topics in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Students will have a specialist teacher for each of the three sciences. There are
10 required practical activities for each subject which students will cover as part of their study of the various topics, which are:

Biology GCSE
1. Cell biology
2. Organisation
3. Infection and response
4. Bioenergetics
5. Homeostasis and response
6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
7. Ecology
8. Key ideas

Chemistry GCSE
1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
2. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
3. Quantitative chemistry
4. Chemical changes
5. Energy changes

6. The rate and extent of chemical change
7. Organic chemistry
8. Chemical analysis
9. Chemistry of the atmosphere
10. Using resources

Physics GCSE
1. Energy
2. Electricity
3. Particle model of matter
4. Atomic structure
5. Forces
6. Waves
7. Magnetism and electromagnetism
8. Space physics

Assessment

This is a linear course, meaning that all the assessment is at the end of the course, and via examination. There will be two 105 minute exams for each of the sciences, (to make 6 in total). Each exam counts for a half of the total marks for that GCSE grade.

Where the course can lead

A-level Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Applied Sciences, Forensic Science, Apprenticeships (i.e. in engineering).

Combined Science (Trilogy) GCSE

Course Level: GCSE Exam Board: AQA Course code: 8464

The Combined Science course is a double award worth two GCSEs. It consists of two equal or adjacent grades (EG 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, etc.)

What the course covers

The Combined Science course covers a wide range of topics in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Students will have a specialist teacher for each of the three sciences.
There are 21 required practical activities which students will cover as part of their study of the 24 topics, which are:

Biology
1. Cell biology
2. Organisation
3. Infection and response
4. Bioenergetics
5. Homeostasis and response
6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
7. Ecology

Chemistry
8. Atomic structure and the periodic table
9. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
10. Quantitative chemistry
11. Chemical changes
12. Energy changes
13. The rate and extent of chemical change
14. Organic chemistry
15. Chemical analysis
16. Chemistry of the atmosphere
17. Using resources

Physics
18. Energy
19. Electricity
20. Particle model of matter
21. Atomic structure
22. Forces
23. Waves
24. Magnetism and electromagnetism

Assessment

This is a linear course, meaning that all the assessment is at the end of the course, and via examination. There will be two 75 minute exams for each of the sciences, to make 6 in total. Each exam counts for a sixth of the total marks.

Where the course can lead

A-level Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Applied Sciences, Apprenticeships (i.e. in engineering). Grade 6-6 is required for most A-level science courses.