Science at Nailsea is housed in exceptional facilities. Our super-labs are second to none allowing us to carry out practical science on a regular basis across every year group. The team are well supported by fabulous technicians and two teaching assistants who work alongside the department. The following outlines our staff team, the hours of allocated teaching time and homework expectations for each year group.

Students in Year 7 and Year 8 follow the AQA 2 year KS3 programme of study.  This allows students to develop a detailed understanding of key scientific concepts.  The focus is on big ideas and mastery goals to equip students for success at GCSE.  This syllabus is designed to prepare students for the new challenges of GCSE Science.

Students are taught in mixed ability teaching groups in Year 7 and Year 8 and will cover a range of biology, chemistry and physics topics including: forces, energy, reactions, earth science, genes and ecosystems.

Further information can be found at:

www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/ks3/ks3-science-syllabus

Students in Year 9 will follow AQA Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics.)  During the first year of study, students will be in broad bands of ability, and will have 7 lessons a fortnight with one teacher.  Here they will study three units of each subject (biology, chemistry, and physics) and begin work on their required practical tasks.

In Years 10 and 11, students begin to study each subject in more detail with subject specific teachers over 10 lessons a fortnight.  During Year 10, students will be regrouped, 2 sets going on to study separate sciences (traditionally called triple science) and all remaining groups working towards combined science (traditionally called double science).

At the end of the three year course, students studying combined science will sit 6 examinations (all 75 minutes in length).  Students studying separate sciences will also sit 6 examinations, all 105 minutes in length.

The AQA specification has been selected because it develops knowledge and detailed understanding whilst giving students the chance to work scientifically and use their maths skills to enhance the cross-curricular links available.

Students will also complete a number of required practical tasks across the three years. These are compulsory and will be tested within the written papers

More information: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse

We follow the AQA Biology specification

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402

AS and first year of A Levels students will study:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

In the second year of A Level students will study:

  • 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

There is no coursework on this course. However, your performance during required practicals will be assessed. There are three exams at the end of the two years for A-level, all of which are two hours long. At least 15% of the marks for A-level Biology are based on what you learned in your practicals. The AS has two exams at the end of the year, both are 1 hour 30 minutes long.

Topics Covered

Year 1

  • Foundations in Chemistry – Atoms, acids and redox, electrons and bonding, shapes of molecules
  • Periodic table and energy – Periodicity, reactivity, trends, enthalpy, reaction rates and equilibrium
  • Core organic Chemistry – Basic concepts, alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, halo alkanes, organic synthesis and spectroscopy

Year 2

  • Physical Chemistry and transition elements – Equilibrium, buffers and neutralisation, acids, bases, ph, entropy, electrode potentials
  • Organic Chemistry – Aromatic Chemistry, carbonyls and carboxylic acids, amines, amino acids and polymers, organic synthesis, chromatography

Textbooks:

The set textbook is:

Chemistry for OCR (A), published by Oxford.

Books can be purchased individually (for each year) or as a combined 2 year book.  Amazon stocks all versions. Students need to ensure they have a copy of the book within the first few weeks.

Other Materials:

Lab coats and safety can be borrowed from the school for practical work but your own is recommended.

Useful Websites

Past papers and the specification can be found on the OCR website.  The course is ‘Chemistry A’: www.ocr.org.uk

Chemguide: Useful website for additional notes and revision: http://www.chemguide.co.uk

A Level Physics contains a mix of both practical and theory components. Practical skills are assessed in module 1

Topics Covered AS and A2:

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics

  • 1.1  Practical skills assessed in a written examination
  • 1.2  Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement

Module 2 – Fundamental data analysis

AS:

Module 3 – Physics in Action

  • 3.1.1  Imaging and signalling
  • 3.1.2  Sensing
  • 3.1.3  Mechanical properties of materials

Module 4 – Understanding processes

  • 4.1  Waves and quantum behaviour
  • 4.2  Space, time and motion

A2:

Module 5 – Rise and fall of the clockwork universe

  • 5.1.1  Creating models
  • 5.1.2  Out into space
  • 5.1.3  Our place in the universe
  • 5.2.1  Matter: very simple
  • 5.2.2  Matter: hot or cold

Module 6 – Field and particle physics

  • 6.1.1  Electromagnetism
  • 6.1.2  Charge and field
  • 6.2.1  Probing deep into matter
  • 6.2.2  Ionising radiation and risk

Textbooks:

The course textbook is:

A Level Advancing Physics for OCR Student Book (OCR B) (OCR A Level Physics) Oxford publishing.

For AS this is about £25, the whole A Level text is £46.  More importantly are the revision guides which are published by CGP and are about £7 each.

All students are to ensure they have copies of the textbook within the first few weeks of starting the course.

Useful Websites

Past papers and the specification can be found on the OCR website.  The course is ‘Physics B (Advancing Physics)’: www.ocr.org.uk