Science

Our Directors of Learning design sequences of lessons which combine with our Personal Development Programme delivered by Form Tutors. These closely align with our mission to ‘Teach What Matters’, a deliberate approach to ensure we address challenges that our students are likely to face and to give them the best possible chance of meeting their limitless potential. 
We want all Holyhead students to be able to;

  • Solve problems
  • Apply knowledge to the real world
  • Adapt to change and be resilient to failure
  • Be aware of their own thought processes and memory (metacognition)
  • Be articulate and express themselves
  • Think critically

We want all students at Holyhead to be strong in relation to the following attributes;

  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Resilience
  • Initiative
  • Communication

We also want them to recognise the best of human thinking and appreciate the fundamental British Values.

Mr A Mellor

Director of Learning for Science

Mrs R Nessa

Assistant Director of Learning for Science

Mr T Hillman

STEM Coordinator

Mrs R Wafi

Subject Lead of Biology

Mr W Evanson

Subject Lead of Physics

The Science faculty’s intent is to foster a love of the scientific method and the knowledge that science has given to the world. Science is a subject of wonder and delight and so to allow students to experience this, we apply science knowledge to, where possible, real world situations that our students encounter like infectious disease and electric cars. We also incorporate scientific skills into all topic areas, with clear progression throughout a student’s time in school, teaching students how to analyse and think critically. This can be tough and so our students require resilience and organisation, however, the regular opportunities for teacher modelling and guided practice through the curriculum provides students with the support to develop these skills progressively.

We believe that the essential skills of a high performing scientist that we hope to promote through our curriculum are that they are able to:

  • Draw + interpret various forms of graphs
  • Analyse and evaluate tabular data
  • Make informed predictions
  • Follow, write and evaluate scientific methods
  • Fully risk assess practicals
  • Draw , label and select appropriate equipment
  • Apply mathematical skills to scientific problems
  • Consider early scientific ideas/models and discuss/evaluate them.

Key Stage 3

Overview of the KS3 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 7Biology
• Organisation
• Cells
• Reproduction
Chemistry
• Particulate state of matter
• Simple chemical reactions
• Acids & Alkalis
Physics
• Energy
• Forces
• Space
• Leadership
• Communication
• Organisation
• SMSC
• Draw and label equipment
• Draw and interpret line graph, pie chart, bar chart
• Follow methods
• Identify variables
• Use scientific equipment
• Make predictions
• Conclude data from tables
• Various STEM events organised throughout the year, both in school and out e.g. ‘learnbydesign’
• Practicals are a feature of most topics
Year 8Biology
• Infection
• Photosynthesis
• Ecology
• Health + Drugs
Chemistry
• Atoms, Elements + Compounds
• Pure + Impure Substances
• The atmosphere
Physics
• Particles
• Electricity
• Magnets
• Waves
• Healthy living
• Dealing with infectious disease
• Coping with the future of the energy crisis/carbon emissions and being a good citizen.
• Draw more detailed and informed conclusions from tables
• Use correct units in tables
• Select appropriate equipment for practicals
• Improve methods
• Identify anomalies
• Conclude graphs
• Consider early scientific ideas
• Year 8 science club
• Various STEM events organised throughout the year, both in school and out
• Practicals are a feature of most topics
Year 9Biology
• Genetics + evolution
• Health + drugs
• Organisation
Chemistry
• Periodic table
• Chemical reactions
• Atmosphere
• Chemical Analysis
Physics
• Atomic structure + radiation
• Physics fundamentals
• Energy
electricity
• Healthy living
• Dealing with infectious disease
• Coping with the future of the energy crisis/carbon emissions and being a good citizen.
• Evaluate methods
• Write your own methods
• Use correct headings and units in tables
• Evaluate data from graphs and tables
• Identify errors
• Write risk assessments
• Various STEM events organised throughout the year, both in school and out. E.g. women in science
• Practicals are a feature of most topics

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in science?

Biology

In biology, if students don’t understand the structure of a cell, tissue, organ, or the organ system, it is very hard to understand how everything works together in tandem. Students also need cell knowledge in order to understand the infection topic and learn about plants in photosynthesis.

Chemistry

Particulate States of Matter is the building block in chemistry as it serves to provide students with sufficient knowledge and depth of understanding to challenge concepts learned later in KS3 such as Elements & Compounds and Chemical Reactions. There is much experimental work in chemistry that students enjoy and enthuse about, consequently, lab safety must come first on Health & Safety grounds.

Physics

In Physics, the 2 topics of energy and forces feed into all of the other topics. You need to know about kinetic and potential energy before learning about particle structure. You can’t study waves without knowing about energy as waves are the transfer of energy. You need to know how forces work to understand bonds in particles and magnetic/electric force in magnetism + electricity.

What have you started off with in Year 7 and why?

Year 7 students have most likely never been in a lab and so have never done practicals in that environment before. Therefore, the first few weeks of the Year 7 curriculum is designed to get students acclimatised with lab equipment in order to complete practicals and learn the scientific skills listed in the curriculum without being hindered by unfamiliar equipment. It is also a chance to check their understanding of variables and planning practicals that they should have picked up at Key Stage 2.

Year 7

After completing the initial weeks of working scientifically, students embark upon the learning of the fundamental concepts of the 3 sciences. They start with Organisation where they learn about the structure of the cell, tissue, organ and organ system and go on to use this when studying cells and learning about reproduction at the end of Year 7.

In chemistry, the taught curriculum starts with the fundamentals about particles so they can access future chemistry and physics concepts. The chemistry concepts they need this for are simple chemical reactions and pure and impure substances, both of which require knowledge of a particle.

The fundamentals of physics are also taught in Year 7. They start with energy + forces, without which they could understand a wave or electricity or the more detailed particle knowledge.

Throughout all of the topics, scientific skills are taught and used during practicals which help students to become more analytical and to draw conclusions from data.

Year 8

After learning the fundamentals of the 3 sciences in Year 7, students can now move on to using these in the more complex topics. In biology they will study infection, photosynthesis, ecology and health + drugs. Here they will use their knowledge of cells and apply it to bacteria, fungi etc as well as the structure of plants.

In chemistry, now that they know the fundamentals about particles they can study the atmosphere. Now that they know how some chemical reactions work, they will study more complex ones in acids and alkalis.

In physics they will be able to access the vocabulary used in electricity and magnetism due to studying the Year 7 topics. They will also build upon their particle knowledge gained in Year 7 chemistry and apply it to physics.

The skills students acquired in Year 7 are also built upon in Year 8. Where they used methods in Year 7, they now start improving the ones they are given. Where they drew and interpreted graphs, now they identify anomalies from ones they have drawn.

Year 9

Year 9 science brings about the end of Key Stage 3 and the start of Key Stage 4.

In Biology, they end Key Stage 3 with genetics and evolution. In Chemistry, they study the periodic table in detail which then allows them to study the more complex chemical reactions. In Physics, they study waves (using energy and particles) and then finish with atomic structure and radiation.

Prior to starting Key Stage 4, students study chemistry/physics fundamentals, where we check students have the capability to start the Key Stage 4 course. Here students learn to balance chemical equations, rearrange physics equations and make sure they can convert units comfortably and analyse graphs to the ability they need for GCSE.

Then we start with the topics that feed into the others for Key Stage 4. These are organisation, energy, chemical analysis and the periodic table (a recap of Key Stage 3 and then adding on what they need for Key Stage 4).

On top of the topic layout illustrated, we have also built in specific interleaving weeks, where students can retrieve prior knowledge from recent topics, topics from previous years or a topic will help to succeed in the upcoming topic. These are designed to help memory consolidation.

We have also made sure that we include knowledge that we feel matters to the students even though it is either not in the KS3 or 4 National Curriculum, for example we include the skeleton in the KS3 organisation topic so students know bone names, we include space in year 7 as students find this one of the most fascinating topics and we place an emphasis on health, hence that topic name.

Key Stage 4

Overview of the KS4 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 10Biology
• Cells
• Homeostasis
• Bioenergetics
• Infection
Chemistry
• Bonding
• Energy changes
• Chemical changes
• Rates of reaction
• Using resources
Physics
• Forces
• Particles
• Electricity
• Magnetism
• Healthy living
• Communication
• Organisation
• Analysing models
• Discussing how theories change over time
• Creating risk assessments
• Using prefixes
• Creating hypotheses
• Converting units
• Evaluating methods
• Presenting data
• Interpreting data
• Various STEM events organised throughout the year, both in school and out
• Practicals are a feature of most topics
Year 11Biology
• Genetics and evolution
• Ecology
Chemistry
• Organic chem
• Quantitative chem
Physics
• Atomic structure + radiation
waves
• SMSC
• Communication
• Organisation
• Analysing models
• Discussing how theories change over time
• Creating risk assessments
• Using prefixes
• Creating hypotheses
• Converting units
• Evaluating methods
• Presenting data
• Interpreting data
• Various STEM events organised throughout the year, both in school and out
• Practicals are a feature of most topics

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in science?

In Chemistry students would need to develop a secure understanding of:

  • The particle model including the definitions for atoms, element, compound and molecule
  • The concept about conserving of matter
  • The universal attraction between positive and negative charges and repulsion between similar charges
  • Following a written method safely and evaluate data collected from an experiment
  • Rearranging equations and units
  • Good literacy to access the language in textbooks and exams

In Physics students would need to develop a secure understanding of:

  • Current , voltage and resistance to succeed at A level electricity
  • Energy is conserved
  • States of matter to understand the fundamental forces
  • Mechanics (speed/distance/time) to succeed in mechanics and further mechanics
  • Waves and how they propagate through space and different media

In Biology students would need to develop a secure understanding of:

  • The structure and function of cells and their division processes from sections of cell biology.
  • That variation occurs when gametes fuse at fertilisation, carried on from reproduction topic at ks3.
  • The two essential reactions for life on earth photosynthesis and respiration from the topic bioenergetics, this supports study at A Level.
  • All molecules are recycled between the living world and the environment to sustain life through the topic of ecology.
  • Metabolism is the sum of all the reactions happening in a cell or organism, in which molecules are made or broken down.

What have you started off with in Year 10 and why?

Having completed organisation, atomic structure and energy at the end of Year 9, we are starting with cells and bonding in Year 10.

Cells give students the microscopic view of things and are needed to access bioenergetics and inheritance. They have studied cells before at KS3 and so the knowledge they have learnt at KS3 will be checked in the first lesson/s in Year 10.

Bonding is the natural topic to study after atomic structure. Students need to learn how particles/atoms are bonded in order to study bond energy, rate of reaction in later topics.

Year 10

The physics topics are ordered in the exact same way as they are in KS3. This gives students continuity and the same rationale applies at KS4. They need to understand energy and forces before tackling the topics that use these 2 fundamental things.

The chemistry topics have been ordered through planning of which topics feed into which others. You can’t study electrolysis without knowing about bonds and ions from bonding. You can’t study rates of reaction without studying energy changes and chemical changes.

The biology topics follow the same order as they did in KS3 and so again the same rationale applies.

Year 11

The topics saved for Year 11 in all 3 sciences are the topics that are either most fed into from earlier coverage in the curriculum or that students have historically found the most challenging, enabling us to cover them in greater depth in Year 11, and at a point where students have greater levels of knowledge, understanding and general scientific skills to help them to tackle these topics.


An example of this is the topic of quantitative chemistry. We have chosen to teach this in Year 11 as it gives students the most time to practice and develop their maths skills in both maths + science lessons to enable them to better cope with moles calculations and % yield.

As retrieval practice is part of every lesson and interleaving weeks are planned into the KS3 curriculum, we feel that students will have continuously been exposed to the key concepts and content over their time at Holyhead, so when it comes to remembering the KS3 content for KS4, less time will have to be spent “reminding” students of what they have previously learnt.

In Year 11 students will have specified weeks where they revise paper 1 content and paper content, in order to succeed to the highest ability.

A blended learning approach will be taken to ensure our curriculum is broad. Google Classrooms will have further reading for each topic and activities that students can complete based on this including the use of GCSE Pod, Seneca and Tassomai.

AQA GCSE in Physics

Physics is fundamental to our understanding of the Universe and operates at scales ranging from the very small (subatomic) to the incredibly large (cosmological) and everything in between. In physics we explore the laws that govern space, time, energy and matter. The study of physics is great preparation for almost any career, because it teaches students how to analyze complex problems and gives students a strong mathematical, quantitative background that can be applied in any technical field. The curriculum intends to foster the natural curiosity of young people and give them the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to properly understand the world around them. The curriculum also provides students an opportunity to practice and develop their practical skills with a range of equipment and investigations.

Students will be able to:

  • Analyse patterns
  • Draw conclusions
  • Present data
  • Understand and respond to information
  • Justify opinions
  • Collect data
  • Test hypotheses
  • Review theories and sources of information
  • Problem solve
  • Manipulate equations

The fundamental principles and concepts in GCSE Physics that students need to know and understand are:

  • Energy changes and transfers due to heating, mechanical and electrical work and the concept of energy conservation
  • Calculate the amount of energy associated with a moving object, a stretched spring and an object raised above ground level
  • Describe and evaluate the main energy resources
  • Physical quantities, their associated units and measurement.
  • Different types of forces and their effects
  • Describe Newton’s laws and use them to describe motion in different scenarios.
  • Quantify the resulting motion in terms of speed, distance, velocity, and acceleration
  • Use the Particle Model to describe the different states of matter and their properties such as density
  • Understand the Particle Model and its ability to explain a range of phenomena such as changes of state and gas pressure
  • Describe that charged objects exert forces of attraction or repulsion on one another when not in contact and how the transfer of electrons between objects can explain the phenomena of static electricity
  • Draw and interpret circuit diagrams, including switch, lamp, fixed resistor and variable resistor
  • Understand atoms and atomic structure. Linking this knowledge to Fission, Fusion and radioactive decay
  • Describe how magnetic fields act over a distance in terms of the shape and attraction and repulsion
  • Explain the operation of a range of different devices related to magnetism including electromagnets, compases, motors, and generators
  • Describe the properties of different types of waves and link them to processes such as reflection, refraction, diffraction and their use in devices such as lenses

What have you started off with in Year 10 and why?

Beginning in Year 10 with Energy is ideal as it allows the opportunity to cover most of the base skills and knowledge areas required for success in GCSE Physics. This means students will later revisit these knowledge concepts and skills, and consolidate their learning in subsequent topics. The energy topic contains not only the measurement and calculation based aspects of physics such as the manipulation of equations, but also the analysis and explanation, for example in explaining temperature equilibrium.

Year 10

Energy builds a good knowledge base for when we approach topics such as:


Electricity – which involves current as a means of energy transfer
Forces – where forces act to transfer energy between objects


The energy topic is building upon the fundamental teaching that is covered in the KS3 Energy topic. The topics introduced in Year 10 allow for a gradual transition between KS3 and KS4, having already introduced many of the ideas in a more foundational form earlier in Years 7, 8, and 9.

Year 11

As pupils develop their ability to handle more complex information, the level of challenge is increased. We are conscious of the process of memory decay/retention and therefore Year 11 work still builds upon the foundations set in KS3 and Year 10, building stronger connections and increasing the likelihood of information being retained. Previous work is also revisited in the form of retrieval questions which are a consistent feature of lessons.

  • Students build on prior KS3 knowledge in incremental steps
  • Students build upon and revisit work often, with retrieval tasks and low stakes testing
  • Connecting curriculum topics to phenomena and mechanisms that have/will be observed in their own lives
  • Exam style questions and the building of exam skills
  • Use of homework tasks and products such as Seneca and GCSEPod to aid consolidation
  • Making use of the QLA to identify areas of weakness and using this information to build retrieval tasks and interventions
  • Numeracy and literacy is implemented and taught in the curriculum
  • Use of computer simulations and practical activities to aid in the teaching of complex ideas

AQA GCSE Chemistry

Chemistry is often referred to as the central science as it joins together physics, mathematics, biology and the environmental sciences. At Holyhead students will develop a deeper understanding of the chemistry around them and how chemical reactions are an integral aspect of their daily lives. The curriculum provides students an opportunity to practice and develop their practical skills with a range of equipment and develop an awareness of how chemistry and technology has changed society over time. Transferable skills, such as data analysis and evaluating ideas, prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed to prepare them to become informed citizens within society.

Students will be able to:

  • Analyse patterns
  • Draw conclusions
  • Present data
  • Understand and respond to information
  • Justify opinions
  • Collect data
  • Test hypotheses
  • Estimate and minimise risks
  • Review theories and sources of information.

Students would need to have a sound knowledge on:

  • Understanding the particle model including the definitions for atoms, element, compound and molecule
  • Understanding the concept about conserving of matter
  • Understanding the universal attraction between positive and negative charges and repulsion between similar charges
  • Follow a written method safely and evaluate data collected from an experiment
  • Rearranging equations and units
  • Good literacy to access the language in textbooks and exams

By the time students enter KS4 they should have a sound knowledge on the particle model; this topic is the building block on which students develop their knowledge and understanding. Particles are recapped at the start of Year 10 to solidify and eradicate misconceptions. Students are given the opportunity to develop and evaluate particle models to deepen their understanding and develop key scientific skills.

Year 10

At KS4 students will deepen their understanding in GCSE Chemistry on a more microscopic level allowing them to make more links with biology and physics. The topics introduced in Year 10 must allow for a smooth transition between KS3 and KS4. They are ordered so that strong links with KS3 are made allowing prior knowledge to solidify while gently building knowledge to allow for understanding. Atomic Structure follows Particles so students can apply new fundamental knowledge and apply their understanding for topics to follow in KS4. For example, at KS4 students move onto identifying how electronic shells are filled, one energy level at a time. Students are exposed to the concept of the valence shell and its relevance as it pertains to the number of potential chemical bonds possible for a given element. Students must observe a periodic table in more detail and determine which elements are likely to react more easily. In this fashion, students build upon their KS3 understanding of chemical reactivity, this time associating it with electronic configuration and periodic trends.

Year 11

Topics covered in Year 11 are more challenging than those in Year 10 as they rely on students to make more links between topics in order to access the content. Students in Year 11 have been subjected to more KS4 content and exam techniques and consequently are more mature to deal with the harder sections of the KS4 curriculum.

  • Students build on prior KS3 knowledge on incremental steps
  • Connecting curriculum topics to phenomena and mechanisms have/will be observed in their lives
  • Building exam skills
  • Retrieval practice questions at the start of every lesson based on gaps from QLA
  • Numeracy and literacy is implemented and taught in the curriculum
  • Use of computer simulations to aid complex ideas

Key Stage 5

We aim to ensure that all students are taught…

AQA A-Level Chemistry

Students would need to have a sound knowledge on:

  • Amount of substance as well as rearranging equations and balancing equations
  • Organic chemistry, including naming and drawing compounds and understanding the structure of carbon
  • Bonding, particularly intermolecular forces 
  • Equilibria 
  • Correct terminology

Topics are taught in an order which provides students with the opportunity to practice their skills alongside the knowledge they are gaining. Topics have been chosen to interleave practical/skills-based topics with more theoretical ones where possible. Students begin with atomic structure which is fundamental to understanding why and how chemical reactions happen and what types of bonds form between atoms. This topic is run parallel to the stoichiometry topic as calculations feature in every aspect of chemistry.

Year 12

In Year 12 the students follow the AS AQA specification as it lays the foundation for the A-level Chemistry course. The topics introduced in Year 12 must allow for a smooth transition between KS4 and KS5. They are ordered so that strong links with KS4 are made allowing prior knowledge to solidify while building knowledge and confidence. Organic chemistry is introduced shortly after atomic structure as is bonding and energetics as students are comfortable and familiar with the basic concepts. Inorganic chemistry and redox reactions conclude the Year 12 course as these topics are more abstract and complex.

Year 13

The Year 13 content is introduced at the end of Year 12. Students spend the summer working independently through booklets on the topics acids and bases and transition metals as these topics build on a variety of Year 12 content. The Year 13 chemistry course is more challenging and requires higher level mathematical skills. Students in Year 13 have been subjected to more KS5 content and exam techniques and consequently are more mature to deal with the harder sections of the KS5 curriculum.

  • Students build on prior KS4 knowledge on incremental steps
  • Connecting curriculum topics
  • Building exam skills
  • Retrieval practice questions at the start of every lesson based on gaps from QLA
  • Numeracy and literacy is implemented and taught in the curriculum
  • Use of computer simulations to aid complex ideas
  • To ensure students do not forget other aspects of the course, weekly interleaved quizzes and homework tasks as well as end of topic tests take place to ensure students are continually reviewing all concepts taught to date.

AQA A-Level Physics

The fundamental principles and concepts in A-level Physics that students need to know and be able to do are:

  • Manipulate equations
  • Use trigonometry e.g in tasks such as resolving forces
  • Understand physical quantities, their associated units and measurement
  • Calculate uncertainties and identify errors
  • Use prefixes for small and large measurements
  • Describe the constituents of the atom and the Standard Model of particle physics
  • Explain what we mean by wave particle duality
  • Know the characteristics, properties, and applications of travelling waves and stationary waves
  • Describe the properties of different types of waves and link them to processes such as reflection, refraction, diffraction and their use in devices such as lenses
  • Describe Newton’s laws and use them to describe motion in different scenarios, leading to students being able to quantify the resulting motion in terms of speed, distance, velocity, and acceleration
  • Apply SUVAT equations to a range of different scenarios
  • Describe the properties of materials in terms of stress, strain and force–extension graphs
  • Quantify material properties based on calculation e.g young modulus
  • Understand the relationships between currents, voltages and resistances in series and parallel circuit and how these rules are used to make devices such as potential dividers 
  • Use both degrees and radians in describing and calculating the motion in a circular path
  • Understanding of  atoms and atomic structure, linking this knowledge to Fission, Fusion and radioactive decay
  • Understand the concept of a field as a region in which a body experiences a non-contact force and be able to describe how they act over a distance using the inverse square law.
  • The significance of the negative sign in potential energy.

Year 12

Year 12 begins with a module teaching maths for A-level Physics. Pupils arrive at the course with varying levels of mathematical competency and this module is intended to make sure that all of the pupils are up to speed. Examples of the skills taught include things such as uncertainties, the plotting of graphs, and the equation of a line. A-level Physics is a mathematical course and the ability to manipulate equations is fundamental to the student’s success that these skills are embedded early.

Once the initial maths module is covered we move on to Mechanics which provides the opportunity to consolidate many topics that students would have met in their GCSE Physics or Combined Science course.

Year 13

In Year 13, students utilise the skills and knowledge from Year 12 to complete new units as well as the Turning Points choice unit. The units are taught in the order that has been set out by AQA in the specification and slowly increase in their difficulty and complexity as the year progresses. Throughout the year we have regular reminders of the measurements and errors topic that began the whole course during the many required practicals taking place throughout the course.

  • Students build upon and revisit work often with retrieval tasks and low stakes testing
  • Connecting curriculum topics to phenomena observed in their own lives.
  • Regular exam style questions and the building of exam skills.
  • Modelling of exam questions and exemplar answers is consistently used throughout lessons
  • Use of homework tasks and products such as Seneca to aid in memory consolidation
  • Making use of the QLA to identify areas of weakness and using this information to build retrieval tasks and interventions
  • Use of computer simulations and practical activities to aid in the teaching of complex ideas

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate / National Extended Diploma in Applied Science

The BTEC Level 3 Applied Science course has been selected for students who are interested in a career in the science sector and has been designed to develop the skills and knowledge that they will need to deal with the challenges whilst working or studying in this field. Students will develop professional and practical skills through carrying out real experiments and research, working with local employers who can provide a workplace setting or national research projects that use volunteers to gather data, as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding to underpin these skills.

Students studying BTEC Nationals in Applied Science at Level 3 will follow modules in Principles and Applications of Applied Science, Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques, Science Investigational Skills, Contemporary Issues in Science and a choice of optional units. This course will not only develop scientific knowledge but will also practice transferable skills for higher education and personal development.

This course will allow learners the opportunity to learn and understand the core principles and practical applications that underpin Applied Science. The qualification’s synoptic focus will ensure that learning is coherent across all units. The learner will undertake a programme of assessment designed to measure their knowledge and understanding of applied science as well as its practical application.

Each unit within the qualification has an applied purpose which acts as a focus for the learning in the unit. The applied purpose demands authentic work-related learning in each of the units. It also requires learners to consider how the use and application of their learning affects themselves, other individuals, employers, society and the environment. The applied purpose will also enable learners to learn in such a way that they develop:

  • Skills required for independent learning and development – Organisational skills, communication, presentation, leadership, resilience and initiative.
  • A range of generic and transferable skills – Practical techniques, report writing, organisational skills, communication, teamwork & collaboration
  • The ability to solve problems
  • The skills of project-based research, development and presentation
  • The ability to apply mathematical and ICT skills
  • The ability to apply learning in vocational contexts

This course has been selected for students who are interested in a career in the Science sector and has been designed to develop the skills and knowledge that they will need to deal with the challenges whilst working in or studying in this field. Students will develop professional and practical skills through carrying out real experiments and research, working with local employers who can provide a workplace setting or national research projects that use volunteers to gather data, as well as theoretical knowledge and understanding to underpin these skills.

Students studying BTEC Nationals in Applied Science at Level 3 will follow modules in Principles and Applications of Applied Science, Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques, Science Investigational Skills, Contemporary Issues in Science and a choice of optional units. This course will not only develop Scientific knowledge but will also practice transferable skills for higher education and personal development.

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in Applied Science?

  • Students need to understand and practice key knowledge concepts in biology, chemistry and physics and deepen their understanding of them to other areas of science
  • Students need to be confident in applying this knowledge to solving scientific problems which cover knowledge recall, application and data analysis
  • Students need to understand the planning of scientific investigations; Hypothesis, variables, risk assessments, methods, choice of equipment – precision & reliability, data collection, conclusion and evaluation
  • Students need to practice a range of statistical techniques which will then be used when analysing data from investigations conducted by oneself and others
  • Students need to demonstrate that they are able to read & understand scientific text and formulate valid judgements

What have you started off with in Year 12 and why?

Students begin with Unit 1 and Unit 2. Unit 1 is made up of the main 4 strands of chemistry, physics , biology and Science Investigations. Students feel some familiarity with the early part of the unit and it gradually becomes more and more challenging. The unit is taught first for two main reasons:

  1. To enable students to become acclimatised for the demands of the course
  2. Be prepared for their first external examination sitting in January.

Unit 2 covers the practical demands of the course and is assessed by coursework. This unit prepares students for the externally assessed practical Unit 3 Science Investigations.

Year 12

Term 1

Unit 1 Principles and Applications of Science 1 – externally assessed – January and May sitting
Unit 2 Practical Scientific Procedures & Techniques – coursework and externally verified

Term 2

Unit 3 Science Investigational Skills – externally assessed by practical examination and written examination. April/May sitting
Unit 4 Laboratory Techniques & their Application – coursework and externally verified Unit 8 Physiology of Human Body systems – coursework and externally verified

Students will at this point have gained a good grounding from term 1 in how to write reports, how to plan investigations, research and analysing data. These units will develop theoretical knowledge, application and analysis. The order of the units ensure that the work is accessible yet challenging ensuring that there is a real sense of achievement.

Term 3

Unit 6 Investigative Project – coursework and externally verified. This unit embraces the skills developed from units studied earlier on.

Year 13

Term 1

Unit 5 Principles & Applications of Science 2 – Exam sitting January & May.
Unit 7 Contemporary Issues in Science – – Exam sitting January & May.

These units build upon the knowledge gained from year 12 and developed further. Unit 5 covers properties and uses of substances, organs and systems, thermal physics, materials and fluids.

Unit 7 covers knowledge and understanding of contemporary scientific issues, applying knowledge and understanding of contemporary scientific issues to real-life scientific scenarios, being able to make valid judgements based on interpretation, analysis and evaluation of different sources of scientific information & being able to apply and synthesise scientific ideas from several sources and adapt to other real-life scenarios.

Term 2

Unit 13: Applications of Inorganic Chemistry – Externally assessed by coursework.
Unit 14: Applications of Organic Chemistry – Externally assessed by coursework.
Unit 15: Electrical Circuits and their Application – Externally assessed by coursework.
Unit 21: Medical Physics Applications – Externally assessed by coursework.
Unit 9: Human Regulation and Reproduction – Externally assessed by coursework.

Term 3 Completion of outstanding tasks.

The course is designed so that the unit sequence ensures that students will have part knowledge of the content prior to starting the unit, for example Unit 5 covers organs and systems, including the cardiovascular system, some of which has been studied previously at KS4 and in the Year 12 section of the course where they covered blood vessels. This ensures a spiral developed curriculum, to support improved memory retention of key content.

There is continuity with KS4 and Unit 1 Principles, but this is foundational as the course material is increasingly more demanding. However, this then spurs on to the challenge of KS5 course and students fit into the mould and demands of the course.

GCSE knowledge is built upon in a spiralled if not staggered fashion and every attempt is made to interleave topic areas so that students can see how one scientific concept is linked together
and not held in isolation.

Study skills are taught through the course; these are examination technique, coursework and practical techniques, taught not only for the assessment but also for their relevance to future vocation and courses.

Pearson Edexcel BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science

Course overview

This course is ideal if you want to study Science as part of your KS5 choices. There are plenty of practical activities to help develop your understanding of scientific techniques. You will learn to carry out practical laboratory tasks, plan investigations, collect, analyse and present data as well as review and refine the methodology of practical and laboratory-based work. You will also study aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as work on your English, Mathematics and IT skills. Training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is vital in the UK and global economy today and the skills and knowledge you will learn on this course could really get you ahead in the job market. The extended certificate in Applied Science is intended for students who want to continue their education through applied learning and who aim to progress to higher education and ultimately to employment in the Applied Science sector. The qualification is equivalent in size to one A-level and it has been designed as part of a two-year programme. With an Extended Certificate in Applied Science you will be able to progress into careers such as Radiography, Biomedical science, Forensics Science, Biological Sciences, Zoology, Biotechnology, Nursing, Nutrition Studies, Agricultural Science, Marine Biology, Sports Science and many more.

Skills needed

The Extended Certificate in Applied Science BTEC requires a good level of self-organisation and time management skills along with the ability to carry out practical techniques and data analysis. There is academic content that you will need to learn and understand in order to complete assignments as well as both practical and written examinations. The emphasis throughout the course focuses on the practical application of skills so whether you decide to study further, go on to work or an apprenticeship this course will be your passport to success in the next stage of your career.

Enrichment opportunities

We have a visit by ‘Spectroscopy in a suitcase’ run by university lecturers who let us to use their £15000 technology to solve crime scenes using mass spectrometry, NMR data and infrared technology. You can also visit the University of Birmingham for Masterclasses in Chemistry, Biology and Physics courses that relate to your course.

Sixth Form entry requirements

5 GCSE 4-9/A*-C Grades including a Grade 4 in both English and Mathematics.

Pearson Edexcel BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science

Course overview

This course is an excellent foundation to pursue a science course at university or if you want a practical career in the sciences. There are plenty of practical activities to help develop your understanding of scientific techniques. You will learn to carry out practical laboratory tasks, plan investigations, collect, analyse and present data as well as review and refine the methodology of practical and laboratory-based work. You will also study aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as work on your English, Mathematics and IT skills. Training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is vital in the UK and global economy today and the skills and knowledge you learn on this course could really get you ahead in the job market. The Extended Diploma in Applied Science is intended for students who want to continue their education through applied learning and who aim to progress to higher education and ultimately to employment in the Applied Science sector. The qualification is equivalent in size to 3 A-levels and it has been designed as part of a two-year programme. With an Extended Diploma in Applied Science you will be able to progress into careers such as Radiography, Biomedical Science, Forensics Science, Biological Sciences, Zoology, Biotechnology, Nursing, Nutrition Studies, Agricultural Science, Marine Biology, Sports Science and many more.

Skills needed

The Extended Diploma in Applied Science BTEC requires a good level of self-organisation and time management skills along with the ability to carry out practical techniques and data analysis. There is academic content that you will need to learn and understand in order to complete assignments as well as both practical and written examinations. The emphasis throughout the course focuses on the practical application of skills so whether you decide to study further, go on to work or an apprenticeship this course will be your passport to success in the next stage of your life.

Enrichment opportunities

We have a visit by ‘Spectroscopy in a suitcase’ run by university lecturers who let us to use their £15000 technology to solve crime scenes using mass spectrometry, NMR data and infrared technology. You can also visit the University of Birmingham for Masterclasses in Chemistry, Biology and Physics courses that relate to your course.

There will be outside speakers and visits which will take place where the application of the techniques will be explored further. Students will also be invited to participate in the Healthcare Society this will also give them the opportunity to get an indepth insight into the vast opportunities that are available with this course.

Sixth Form entry requirements

5 GCSE 4-9/A*-C Grades including a Grade 4 in both English and Mathematics.

Specific minimum GCSE entry requirements

(Grade C = 4/low-mid 5; Grade B = high 5 – 6; Grade A = 7) Grade 4-4 in Combined Science or 4’s in Seperate Science.

A-Level Biology Date: Jun 30, 2021
A-Level Chemistry Date: Jun 30, 2021
A-Level Physics Date: Jun 30, 2021