St. Annes College Grammar School

Science

Science At SACGS

Key Stage 3 – a challenging and dynamic curriculum!

The Science Department delivers the Key Stage 3 curriculum across two years.  We provide Year 7 and 8 pupils with a  broad introduction to Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

The Course Content

 From Year 7 pupils study the sciences separately as sound preparation for Year 9, when they will start their GCSE course.  Pupils usually have one or two teachers who cover all three disciplines of Science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  This allows the teacher to build a strong rapport with pupils and reinforce the essential Science skills. It is so important to have an excellent knowledge of these skills in order to work scientifically.

New for September 2020 is a Year 7 curriculum which has a greater focus on scientific enquiry and practical skills development which are further tested at GCSE and A Level. The department has written its own in-house schemes of work which follow the National Curriculum guidelines and are regularly updated.   Recently they were amended to support and enhance preparation for the pupils when they start the ‘new style’ GCSE 9-1 course in Year 9.  

Science lessons are very skills-based and therefore have a large practical element to them.  Thus, the pupils will gain the essential skills and techniques necessary at GCSE to complete its required assessed practical.

St Anne’s College Grammar school has two well-equipped Lower School Science laboratories, both with new and state of the art interactive boards. 

All pupils have access to the “Exploring Science” text books as a hard copy.  We also make use of many other online resources and assessment to support learning.  The use of Microsoft Teams has proven most successful for assessments and monitoring of progress. 

The topics covered in Year 7 are:
  • Introduction to working scientifically and cells
  • Reproduction
  • Particle model and elements
  • Forces and space
  • Human reproduction and plant reproduction
  • Energy and temperature
  • Acids and alkalis and types of reactions
  • Material cycles and energy
  • Classification, ecosystems and feeding relationships
  • Genetics and evolution
  • Electricity
The topics covered in Year 8 are:
  • Keeping healthy
  • Sound and light
  • Atoms, elements and compounds
  • Heating and cooling
  • Balanced and unbalanced forces
  • Microbes and disease
  • Separating mixtures
  • Space
  • Nutrition and digestion
  • The skeletal, muscular systems and gas exchange systems
  • Classification and feeding relationships

Each topic is assessed using formative assessment and an end of topic test.  The pupils end the Christmas and Summer terms with a full examination.

Extra-Curricular Science

Outside the classroom, pupils regularly take part in STEM challenge events.  We have had students highly commended in national competitions including the Big Bang and Step into the NHS competition.  External speakers are regularly invited into school to support the pupils’ learning and encourage science in the real world.  Visits to Blackpool Zoo during the Summer term also allow pupils to take part in a scientific skills workshop. 

Key Stage 4, GCSE Science – questioning and understanding life and processes

The Science teachers strive to develop the pupil’s inquisitive nature to question and understand life and processes with the goal of continuing their scientific education to A-Level and in their future lives and work.

Why study the Sciences?

We believe that Science is for all and has something to suit students of all abilities and aspirations.  The three Sciences are taught separately.  The AQA examination pathway is flexible allowing students to select between Higher or Foundation Tier Papers.  Students can study for three separate Science GCSEs or Combined Science worth 2 GCSEs which has a reduced curriculum content.  Alternatively, some students may decide that they will concentrate on a single Science topic.

GCSE Biology – Programme of Study

Biology is the study of life; how we are dependent on other living organisms and how organisms function.  We aim to inspire a fascination with this natural world and the key role that Biology plays in our lives

The content for AQA GCSE Biology can be found here.

Pupils study seven Biology units during the 3-year course.

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

GCSE Chemistry – Programme of Study

Today we are aware of the toxic and damaging effects of chemicals that have been released into the environment.  We will rely on chemists to identify and respond to the challenges such as climate change, food shortages, greener fuels and demands for new pharmaceuticals to keep us well.

The content for AQA GCSE Chemistry can be found here.

Pupils study ten Chemistry units during the 3-year course.

  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

 GCSE Physics – Programme of Study

In Physics we attempt to understand the rules that make our universe work the way it does (the ‘Laws of Physics’).  By studying why things work and understanding the rules of the universe, we have been able to invent such things as: the electric light bulb, medical imaging scanners, computers and space travel and exploration.

The content for AQA GCSE Physics can be found here.

Pupils study eight Physics units during the 3-year course.

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

Mathematical requirements

In Foundation Tier papers questions assessing maths requirements will be at least the standard expected at Key Stage 3.  In Higher Tier papers questions assessing maths requirements will be at least the standard expected in Foundation Level GCSE Mathematics.

A minimum of 10% of marks will test mathematical skills in Biology; 20% in Chemistry; and 30% in Physics.  For the combined sciences a minimum of 20% of marks will test mathematical skills (made up of a minimum of 10% in Biology; 20% in Chemistry; and 30% in Physics).

AQA Exams explained

Method of Assessment

  • All courses are linear meaning that students sit the examination at the end of the course.
  • Assessment of this GCSE is exam only. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.
  • There are two exam papers for each of the triple science GCSEs.
  • Each of these exams is a 1 hour 45 minute written paper.
  • For Combined Science Trilogy there are a total of six written papers of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Awarding Grades

Combined Science

The qualification will be graded on a 17-point scale: 1–1 to 9–9 – where 9–9 is the best grade.

  • Foundation Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 1–1 to 5–5.

Students who fail to achieve grade 1–1 will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not receive a qualification certificate.

  • Higher Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 4–4 to 9–9. A Higher Tier student who just fails to achieve grade 4–4 will be awarded an allowed grade 4–3.

Students who fail to achieve the allowed grade 4–3 will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not receive a qualification certificate.

Single Sciences

The qualification will be graded on a nine-point scale: 1–9 – where 9 is the best grade.

  • Foundation Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 1 to 5.

Students who fail to achieve grade 1 will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not receive a qualification certificate.

  • Higher Tier assessments will be awarded a grade within the range of 4 to 9.

A student sitting the Higher Tier who just fails to achieve grade 4 will be awarded an allowed grade 3.  Students who fail to achieve the allowed grade 3 will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not receive a qualification certificate.