Science

Departmental approach to the curriculum

The science department aims to ensure we maintain students naturally inquisitive minds throughout their time at Rickmansworth School. Science offers lots to explore through important discussions about our world and excellent  practicals incorporated into their learning. Science gives young people necessary lifelong skills as it encourages them to think, analyse and evaluate information. 

 

 

As a specialist science college, we have 10 science labs, 2 demo labs and a computer lab. We also have 11 science teachers and 3 science technicians to ensure students get the best experience during their science lessons.

At KS3, students follow a broad and exciting syllabus, deepening their knowledge of how science works and learning through questioning and investigation

At KS4, students take AQA separate sciences or AQA combined: trilogy. Students are taught in groups according to their exam entry and we offer extensive support and guidance to help students revise effectively and succeed. Students are given access to a selection of online resources to help guide their learning, alongside their revision guides, workbooks and exam practice packs. 

We have a high number of students who continue studying the sciences at KS5 with great success, many of them attending Oxbridge or Russell Group Universities to read the sciences. 


 

Year 7

In Year 7 Science, pupils will study a range of different topics that explore concepts from Biology, Chemistry and Physics in everyday contexts.

In this first year of secondary school science, there is an emphasis on skills; both procedural laboratory skills such as using Bunsen Burners, and ‘working scientifically’ skills such as devising appropriate practical procedures and drawing conclusions from data. Students are regularly given the opportunity to develop their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills within lessons.

Year 7 students are generally taught by one teacher across all three sciences. Students are taught in mixed ability form groups for this year in order to ease the transition from Key Stage 2.

Students will follow the following topics in Year 7:

 

 

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

 

Term 1

First 2 weeks: An Introduction To Science and Working Scientifically. They will also complete a baseline assessment.

7B1 Cells

7C1 Solids, Liquids and Gases

7P1 Energy

Term 2

7B2 Reproduction

7C2 Elements, Compounds and Molecules

7P2 Electricity

Term 3

7B3 Movement

7C3 Separating Mixtures

7P3 Forces

 

Assessment:

Longer topics will have a Mid-topic assessments. These track and develop skills such as graph drawing, using data to draw conclusions, and extended writing. These assessments are not awarded a grade or level, and are primarily an opportunity for feedback and development.

End of topic tests give students an opportunity to demonstrate all the knowledge they have gained throughout the unit. This is completed using the students’ devices and reviewed by their teachers. These tests are graded and help to make up part of their termly report.

The End of Year 7 Test consolidates all the learning from the year in one hour long exam. This will play a large role in determining science sets in Year 8.

Year 8

In Year 8 Science, students are continuing to build their core KS3 knowledge and skills, using what they have learned in Year 7 to further explain the world around them. 

In Biology students will use their understanding of specialised cells to discuss the workings of several organ systems and how they work together to deliver oxygen and glucose to respiring cells.

In Chemistry, students will be using their knowledge of particles and the periodic table to learn about chemical reactions and how to write these as chemical formulae.

In Physics, students will use their knowledge of energy stores and particles to describe the movement of particles through space and matter.

Year 8 students are generally taught by one teacher across all three sciences. Students are taught in upper and lower bands, and will be further split into sets in Year 9.

 

 

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

Term 1

8B1 - Ecology

8C1 - Chemical Reactions 

8P1 - Waves

Term 2

8B2 - Photosynthesis and Respiration

8C2 - Metals and Metal Reactions

8P2 - The Particle Model

Term 3

8B3 - Breathing and Circulation

8C3 - Rocks

8P3 - Space

 

Assessments:

Longer topics will have a Mid-topic assessments. These track and develop skills such as graph drawing, using data to draw conclusions, and extended writing. These assessments are not awarded a grade or level, and are primarily an opportunity for feedback and development.

End of topic tests give students an opportunity to demonstrate all the knowledge they have gained throughout the unit. This is completed using the students’ devices and reviewed by their teachers. These tests are graded and help to make up part of their termly report.

Year 8s will have one final End-of-Year Test consolidating all their learning from both Year 7 and Year 8 in one hour long exam. This will play a large role in determining science sets for Year 9.

Year 9

In Year 9, we focus on the more difficult concepts of KS3 science, such as natural selection, patterns in the periodic table, and balanced forces. Once students have completed all KS3 topics, we have a few weeks of guided revision, helping students to consolidate all of their learning from across Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9.

Following this revision, all students will sit an End of Key-Stage exam for Science in March. This is earlier than the Y9 exams for other subjects which take place in the summer term. This is so that we can use the results from these exams to help students decide which GCSE science pathway is most suitable for them. With the new Science GCSEs being more challenging than in the previous framework, at Rickmansworth School, we start students on the KS4 content part-way through Year 9, in order to best prepare them for their GCSEs. 

 

 

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

Term 1

9B1 - Variation

9C1 - Trends and Reactions

9P1 Force Fields

Term 2

9B2 - Health and Disease

9C2 - Materials

9P2 Machines

Term 3

Starting GCSE Curriculum

Bioenergetics

Starting GCSE Curriculum

Chemistry of the Atmosphere

Starting GCSE Curriculum

Energy

Assessments:

Longer topics will have a Mid-topic assessments. These track and develop skills such as graph drawing, using data to draw conclusions, and extended writing. These assessments are not awarded a grade or level, and are primarily an opportunity for feedback and development.

End of topic tests give students an opportunity to demonstrate all the knowledge they have gained throughout the unit. This is completed using the students’ devices and reviewed by their teachers. These tests are graded and help to make up part of their termly report.

Year 9s will have a final End of Key Stage 3 Test in Term 2, consolidating all their learning from Year 7 to Year 9. This will play a large role in determining whether students are recommended for taking separate sciences at GCSE level.

Year 10 and 11 - Combined Science

At GCSE,  students who have not chosen science as an optional subject follow the AQA Combined Science Trilogy. At the end of this course they receive 2 GCSEs on an 18 point scale from 1-1 to 9-9. 

The course is assessed through 6 1 hour 15 minute papers ( 2 Biology, 2 Chemistry and 2 Physics) at the end of year 11 with their overall score being used to calculate their final grade. The exams will test the student’s knowledge, application and analysis techniques with approximately 25% being allocated to mathematical skills and 25% related to practical skills.

Biology Topics and Assessment 

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 4: Bioenergetics.

Topic 1: Cell Biology

Topic 2: Organisation

Topic 3: Infection and Response

Topic 5: Homeostasis and Response.

Topic 6: Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

Topic 7: Ecology

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-4  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins 

Paper 2 assesses Topics 5-7  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins

 

Chemistry Topics and Assessment 

We teach topics in a slightly different order to more evenly spread the practical work through the year and also to allow some of the more challenging concepts to be met later in the course.

 

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 9: Chemistry of the atmosphere

Topic 1a: Atomic Structure

Topic 6: Rates and Equilibria (with Required Practical)

Topic 5: Energy Changes (with Required Practical)

Topic 2: Bonding, Structure and Properties

Topic 1b: The Periodic table

Topic 4a: Chemical Changes: Acids and Neutralisation (with Required Practical)

Topic 3: Quantitative Chemistry

Topic 4b: Chemical Changes: Reactivity and Electrolysis (with Required Practical)

Topic 8: Chemical Analysis (with Required Practical)

Topic 7: Organic Chemistry

Topic 10: Earth’s Resources (with Required Practical)

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-5  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins 

Paper 2 assesses Topics 6-10  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins

 

Physics Topics and Assessment 

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 1: Energy conservation and dissipation

Topic 2: Energy transfer by heating

Topic 3: Energy resources

Topic 4: Electric Circuits

Topic 5: Electricity in the home

Topic 6: Molecules and matter

Topic 7: Radioactivity

Topic 8: Forces in balance

Topic 9: Motion

Topic 10: Force and motion

Topic 11: Wave properties

Topic 12: Electromagnetic waves

Topic 13: Electromagnetism

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-7  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins

Paper 2 assesses Topics 8-13  (70 Marks) 1hr 15mins

Year 10 and 11 - Separate Science

At GCSE,  students who have chosen science as an optional subject follow the AQA Separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics GCSE specifications. At the end of this course they receive 3 GCSEs, one in each of the sciences. 

Each subject is assessed through 2 1 hour 45 minute papers  at the end of year 11 with their overall score being used to calculate their final grade. The exams will test the student’s knowledge, application and analysis techniques with approximately 25% being allocated to mathematical skills and 25% related to practical skills.

Biology Topics and Assessment 

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 4: Bioenergetics.

Topic 1: Cell Biology

Topic 2: Organisation

Topic 3: Infection and Response

Topic 5: Homeostasis and Response.

Topic 6: Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

Topic 7: Ecology

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-4  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins

Paper 2 assesses Topics 5-7  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins

 

Chemistry Topics and Assessment 

We teach topics in a slightly different order to more evenly spread the practical work through the year and also to allow some of the more challenging concepts to be met later in the course.

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 9: Chemistry of the atmosphere

Topic 1a: Atomic Structure

Topic 6: Rates and Equilibria (with Required Practical)

Topic 5: Energy Changes (with Required Practical)

Topic 2: Bonding, Structure and Properties

Topic 1b: The Periodic table

Topic 4a: Chemical Changes: Acids and Neutralisation (with Required Practical)

Topic 3: Quantitative Chemistry (with Required Practical)

Topic 4b: Chemical Changes: Reactivity and Electrolysis (with Required Practical)

Topic 8: Chemical Analysis (with 2 Required Practicals)

Topic 7: Organic Chemistry

Topic 10: Earth’s Resources (with Required Practical)

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-5  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins 

Paper 2 assesses Topics 6-10  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins

 

Physics Topics and Assessment 

Year 9 Term 3

Year 10 

Year 11

Topic 1: Energy conservation and dissipation

Topic 2: Energy transfer by heating

Topic 3: Energy resources

Topic 4: Electric Circuits

Topic 5: Electricity in the home

Topic 6: Molecules and matter

Topic 7: Radioactivity

Topic 8: Forces in balance

Topic 9: Motion

Topic 10: Force and motion

Topic 11: Force and pressure (Separate Science Only)

Topic 12: Wave properties

Topic 13: Electromagnetic waves

Topic 14: Light (Separate Science Only)

Topic 15: Electromagnetism

Topic 16: Space (Separate Science Only)

Final Assessment

Paper 1 assesses Topics 1-7  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins

Paper 2 assesses Topics 8-16  (100 Marks) 1hr 45mins

Year 12 and 13 Biology

Biology

Biology A-level is one of our most popular subjects at Rickmansworth School. Studying Biology at A-levels will allow students to further understand the natural world around them, how organisms interact with one another, and the workings of the human body. This course opens up a wide range of career paths including pathology, medicine, zoology, conservationism, dentistry and so much more.

Students study the Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology A-Level (Edexcel A) course.

Entry Requirements:

  • Grade 6 in GCSE Biology, or Grades 6-6 in GCSE Combined Science

  • Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics

Year 12 Topics

 

Topic 1: Lifestyle, Health and Risk 

Topic 2 Genes and Health

Topic 3: Voice of the Genome

Topic 4: Biodiversity and Natural Resources

Year 13 Topics

Topic 5 - On the wild side

Topic 6 - Immunity, Infection and Forensics

Topic 7 - Run for your life

Topic 8 - Grey matter

Assessment:

This is assessed in Year 13 across 3 exams:

  • Paper 1: The Natural Environment and Species Survival (100 marks)

  • Paper 2:  Energy, Exercise and Coordination (100 marks)

  • Paper 3: General and Practical Applications in Biology (100 marks)

A separate practical endorsement will also be awarded as either Pass or Fail. This is based on practical assessments over the two year course.

There are a number of internal assessments over the two year course, most notably a UCAS prediction exam at the end of Year 12 based on the first year of study.

Year 12 and 13 Chemistry

 

Chemistry

Chemistry is an extremely challenging A Level and as such is highly regarded by Universities. It is often considered a requirement when applying for the more competitive applied science courses such as Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Sciences, but is equally highly regarded by a number of courses including Engineering and Biomedical Sciences. 

Entry Requirements:

  • Grade 6 in GCSE Chemistry or 6,6 in GCSE Combined Science

  • Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics

Course Content:

Students will follow the Edexcel A2 Chemistry Course:

Year 12:

  1. Atomic Structure

  2. Bonding and Structure 

  3. Redox I

  4. Inorganic Periodicity

  5. Quantitative Chemistry

  6. Organic Chemistry I

  7. Analytical Techniques I

  8. Energetics I

  9. Kinetics I

  10. Equilibrium I

Year 13:

  1. Equilibrium II

  2. Acid-Base Equilibria

  3. Energetics II

  4. Redox II

  5. Transition Metals

  6. Kinetics II

  7. Organic Chemistry II

  8. Organic Chemistry III

  9. Analytical Techniques II

Assessment:

This is assessed in Year 13 across 3 exams:

  • Paper 1: Advanced Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (90 marks)

  • Paper 2: Advanced Organic and Physical Chemistry (90 marks)

  • Paper 3: General and Practical Principles in Chemistry (120 marks)

A separate practical endorsement will also be awarded as either Pass or Fail. This is based on practical assessments over the two year course.

There are a number of internal assessments over the two year course, most notably a UCAS prediction exam at the end of Year 12 based on the first year of study.

Year 12 and 13 Physics

 

Physics:

At A-level physics, our students follow the Kerboodle AQA Scheme for Learning. This Scheme allows students to access many online resources to assist them in their learning, as well as mini online tests and tutorial videos.

The structure of the course is delivered as follows:

Year 12

  • Section 1: Particles and radiation

  • Section 2: Waves and optics

  • Section 3: Mechanics and materials

  • Section 4: Electricity

  • Section 5: Further Mechanics

  • Section 6: Thermal Physics

Year 13

  • Section 7: Fields

  • Section 8: Nuclear Physics

  • Section 9: Turning Points

  • Section 10: Astrophysics

Assessment:

AQA A-level physics is assessed in the summer of Year 13 across 3 exams:

  • Paper 1: Sections 1-5 (85 marks)

  • Paper 2: Section 7+8 and assumed knowledge from Sections 1-6 (85 marks)

  • Paper 3 (80 marks)
    Section A - Practical skills and data analysis
    Section B – Choice of one section from 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13

 

A separate practical endorsement will also be awarded as either Pass or Fail. This is based on practical assessments over the two year course.

There are a number of internal assessments over the two year course, most notably a UCAS prediction exam at the end of Year 12 based on the first year of study.

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 

Assessment

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Matrix - Science

Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child succeed in the sciences?

 

Q&A Flashcards are a great way for parents to get involved with their children's learning in science. 

Helpful websites and further information

KS3 Science

Seneca - https://www.senecalearning.com/

Sign up for free and add the KS3 Science Course. Great for easy recap and revision with some learning checks along the way. 

Educake - www.educake.co.uk

Students are given- questions through this website to complete in class or as home-learning. Students can even set themselves their own tests and choose the difficulty of questions.

 

KS4 (All Sciences)

Schoology- www.schoology.com 

Students are given access to this in the last term of Y11. This contains powerpoints from teachers lessons, as well as links to exam questions and Topic Checklists. If a student does not have access, they must see Mr. Hayyan or Mrs. Leithead?

Tiny-cards - https://tinycards.duolingo.com/

By following this link https://tiny.cards/collections/2qrbeD9c/aqa-biology-gcse students can find Mr Groom’s profile where hundreds of flash cards have been made  for the Biology GCSE course, broken down by topic. This can be accessed on any device including their mobile phones, where they can download the app, for quick and easy on-the-go revision. It will work best if they make a free account.

Educake - www.educake.co.uk

Students are given- questions through this website to complete in class or as home-learning. Students can even set themselves their own tests and choose the difficulty of questions.

Isaac Physics - www,isaacphysics.org/ 

Students can attempt more in depth physics questions through this website compared to Educake. For support with this website, students should see Mr. Metcalfe.


 

KS5

Biology

Schoology- www.schoology.com 

All students have access to the A-level Biology course on Schoology from the start of Y12. Here students will find teacher powerpoints, worksheets, exam questions by topic, quick quizzes and more.

Tiny-cards - https://tinycards.duolingo.com/

By following this link https://tiny.cards/collections/2r3Ag5W8/snab-a-level  students can find hundreds of premade flashcards for their course, broken down by topic which can be used on any device including their mobile phones, for quick and easy on-the-go revision. It works best when students make a free account, and download the app to their phone. 

Chemistry

Edexcel website:

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/chemistry-2015.html This website can be used to download the course specificiation, relevant documents and the most recent past papers.

Physics and Maths tutor:

https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/chemistry-revision/a-level-edexcel/ This is a wonderful resource, with a very large bank of topic specific past paper questions. This is a great way to augment your consolidation.

Chemguide:

https://www.chemguide.co.uk/ This is a great resource, written by an experienced chemistry teacher, who can offer an alternative explanation to lesson notes and revision guides.

Physics

Kerboodle - www.kerboodle.com/ 

Here students will find topic checklists, worksheets and core practical guidance for their AQA course.

Isaac Physics - www,isaacphysics.org/ 

For support with this website, students should see the Head of Physics.