The GCSE course is followed from the start of Year 9 in order to give time to explore the subject in as practical and relevant a way as possible.
What will I learn?
There are any exciting, ground-breaking and interesting careers that use the relevant skills taught in Science. All students in Years 9 to 11 study GCSEs administered by the AQA exam board. The course enables students to gain three GCSE qualifications in the separate sciences or two GCSEs in Science and Additional Science, dependent on their ability.
How is the course structured and assessed?
All students are taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics throughout Years 9, 10 and 11 with examinations under the AQA GCSE exam board. Experimental work is an integral part of the study of the Sciences and is built into the teaching of each subject throughout the course. There is no controlled assessment for this, but there are a number of core practicals which are covered throughout the course in each subject that are assessed in the terminal exams.
Pupils have six lessons a week of science in Year 9 and will be taught an equal, consistent mix of the three sciences by one teacher. The main emphasis in Year 9 is to teach scientific thinking and processes, aiming to enhance the pupils skills in practical experimentation, as well as the application of theories and analysis of data. They will also be introduced to core further content in preparation for the GCSE courses in Year 10 and 11.
Before entering Year 10, students will choose which Sciences they study within the option blocks. It is compulsory for students to take at least one science option, and it is normal for students to choose two or all three sciences if they wish. They should consider their enjoyment of science, future studies and careers when making this decision, as well as the wider skills that are developed.
In Years 10 and 11, pupils will have four lessons of each of the Sciences chosen within their 'option blocks' as they work towards the completion of their GCSE exams. Within their chosen topics of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all pupils sit the same set of 1h 45min examinations structured into Papers 1 and 2 for each topic (for example, Physics Paper 1 is split into Topics 1-4, while Paper 2 covers the remaining Topics 5-8).
The key aims of these Science courses include:
Acquire scientific knowledge and understanding.
Be able to apply one’s scientific knowledge and understanding.
Sustain and develop an enjoyment and interest in the scientific world.
Appreciate the practical nature of science, acquiring experimental skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques.
Developing an understanding of the world around us, our impact and how we can be more sustainable.
Appreciate the importance of accurate experimental work and reporting of scientific methods.
Develop a logical approach to problem solving in a wider context.
Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of real-life applications of science.
Prepare pupils for more advanced courses in the three Sciences.