Science

The Science Department, comprising of five modern and well equipped laboratories, is found in the annexe alongside the main driveway.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Years 7 and 8 follow an accelerated KS3 science course. There are three double lessons of science a week. The content is set out in a sequence covering science enquiry, life processes and living things, materials and their properties and physical properties. Exploring science through practical work is a priority and students are given every opportunity to improve existing skills and discover new ones.
Science Club takes place every week during a lunch hour and is open to all pupils in years 7-9. Our Sixth Form Science Captains lead the activities in Science Club.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

The KS4 curriculum is started in year 9 and students will pursue each science subject separately. They follow the Edexcel IGCSE which we feel is a good preparation for continuing to study sciences at KS5. Most students continue to study separate sciences to achieve IGCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Science clinics run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes and pupils are encouraged to bring along revision questions and topics they wish to explore further.

Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)

Biology

Board:  AQA

Course Aims

Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject. This specification provides numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and equip students with the essential practical skills they need.

At AS students will cover the following topics:

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

At A Level students will build on these topics with a more in depth focus on the following:

  • 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

Course Details

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all the AS exams at the end of their AS course and all the A-level exams at the end of their A-level course.

Assessments

At AS all content is assessed in two written papers.

What’s assessed?

How is it assessed?

Type of questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills (topics 1-4)

50% of AS

Paper 1: Written exam

1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

 

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: comprehension question

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 1-4)

50% of AS

Paper 2:Written exam

1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: comprehension question

At A Level all the content is assessed in three written papers at the end of Year 13.

What’s assessed?

How is it assessed?

Type of questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills (topics 1-4)

35% of A-Level

Paper 1: Written exam

2 hours

91 marks

 

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: extended response questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 5-8)

35% of A-Level

Paper 2:Written exam

2 Hours

91 marks

 

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: comprehension question

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 1-8)

30% of A-Level

Paper 3:Written exam

2 Hours

78 marks

 

38 marks: structured questions, including practical techniques

15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data

25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles

Entry Requirements

iGCSE Biology  Grade B (minimum requirement)

Students that have attained grade A in Additional Science GCSE are not barred from the AS level but will be considered independently.  There will be more learning required by these students.

Teaching Approaches

The course is generally taught by two teachers.

The teachers will expect the students to:

  • interpret and analyse data;
  • problem solve;
  • communicate information effectively;
  • apply knowledge to a situation that is drawn from a wide range of contexts;
  • evaluate the value of information and data;
  • carry out practical work individually and in groups; 
  • learn and use numerical skills;
  • learn and use ICT skills when appropriate; 
  • be capable of independent learning;
  • take responsibility for their own learning.

Chemistry

Board:  OCR CHEMISTRY B (SALTERS)

The OCR Salters course is probably the most applied of the A level Chemistry courses currently offered and seeks to teach chemistry through an innovative approach whereby all the chemical principles which are applicable to a particular subject of current interest and relevance are taught at the same time.  This enables pupils to understand both the “big picture” and the underlying fundamentals. The ‘drip-feed’ approach to teaching and learning chemical principles allows candidates to revisit a particular area several times during the course, each time taking their knowledge and understanding a step further.  As such thinking and analytical skills are strongly developed and the course is highly regarded by both Higher Education establishments and employers. In particular the course supports and interacts well with the Biology course which is currently offered at the Marist and is particularly enjoyed by pupils wishing to pursue future careers in medicine, the veterinary sciences and engineering due to the many relevant topics which are encountered.  The course is fully supported by a dedicated support package written and developed by the University of York Science Education Group.

Aims

The course takes students on a journey through ten Storylines which engage students in learning in a contemporary context and range from concerns about the ozone layer to the development of new medicines.  Students have many opportunities to develop and practise their investigational and problem-solving skills.  Practical skills are assessed in a specially designed written paper at the end of the A level course and within the other written examinations. 

Course Details

  • The ten Storylines are;
  • Elements of Life
  • Developing fuels
  • Elements from the sea
  • The ozone story
  • What’s in a medicine
  • The chemical industry
  • Polymers and life
  • Oceans
  • Developing metals
  • Colour by design

Colour by design

Level

Unit of Assessment

Mode of Assessment

Weighting

AS %

Weighting

A2 %

AS

Foundations of chemistry

Written examination

20 marks multiple choice

50 marks structured questions covering theory and practical

 

50

-

AS

Chemistry in depth

Written examination

70 marks structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical

50

-

A2

Fundamentals of chemistry

Written examination

30 marks multiple choice

80 marks structured questions on theory and practical

 

 

-

 

 

41

 

A2

Scientific literacy in chemistry

Written examination

100 marks structured questions and extended questions covering theory, practical and chemical literacy

-

37

A2

Practical skills in chemistry

Written examination

60 marks structured questions and extended response questions with a focus on the assessment of practical skills

-

22

 

In addition there will be a non-exam assessment reported separately based on practical skills demonstrated in the laboratory.  This will be teacher-assessed and will be a pass/fail.

Changes to Course

All exams for the full A2 course will now be at the end of Year 13.  The AS qualification will remain available and exams may be taken at the end of Year 12 but no marks from these exams will count towards the A2. 

Entry Requirements

iGCSE Chemistry at B grade is essential but A grades are preferred.  A minimum B grade for GCSE Mathematics is also needed.

Teaching approaches

The course is taught by two teachers offering different Storylines in parallel.

The course provides a stimulating and worthwhile range of experiences which aims to encourage pupils to:

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of modern chemistry
  • sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in chemistry
  • develop intellectual and practical skills that will be of value to their future life and in the study of chemistry
  • develop the ability to study both independently and co-operatively
  • develop positive attitudes of mind, including interest, initiative, open-mindedness and a positive attitude towards the study and applications of chemistry
  • become aware of the nature of scientific and technological endeavour and of the various contexts in which the work of chemists is important to society

Careers and combinations at A Level

Chemistry is a basic requirement for courses in medicine, dentistry, chemical engineering, veterinary medicine and some biological science courses and most universities will not contemplate making an offer to candidates on these courses unless a good A level grade in Chemistry is obtained.  The course can also provide those taking other scientific disciplines with a good background and in many cases an advantage when studying any science at a higher level. Along with other science ‘A’ levels, Chemistry gives a good training in thinking skills, which will be invaluable in any chosen career.

Chemistry is also an A Level that can be suitably combined with languages and arts subjects to broaden other AS options. Science/arts combinations are acceptable for many areas of study including Law, Philosophy, Psychology and Social and Political Sciences. 

 

Physics

Board:  AQA Syllabus A

Course Aims

To encourage the student to:

  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding in physics and, where appropriate, the application of physics, and the skills needed for the use of this in new and changing situations;
  • Develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment;
  • Appreciate how physics has developed and is used in present day society;
  • Show the importance of physics as a human endeavour which interacts with social, philosophical, economic and industrial matters;
  • Sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, physics;
  • Recognise the quantitative nature of physics and understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles;
  • Bring together knowledge of ways in which different areas of physics relate to each other;
  • Study how scientific models develop.

Entry requirements

IGCSE Physics                                                    Grade B

                                                                                Or

IGCSE Science (Double Award)                       Grade A

                                                                                +

GCSE Mathematics                                           Grade A

Students considering a university course in Physical Sciences would benefit from A2 Pure Mathematics with Mechanics.

1

Particles, quantum phenomena and electricity

AS

2

Mechanics, materials and waves

AS

3

Fields and further mechanics

A2

4

Nuclear and Thermal Physics + an optional  Physics topic

A2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are linear exams

Linear means that students will sit all their AS exams at the end of their AS course and all their A-level exams at the end of their A-level course.

What we're doing

To help prepare the students for linear exams, we'll be providing practice papers and other useful exam resources.

AS and A Level will be 'decoupled'

This means that the AS will be a stand-alone qualification and AS marks won't contribute to the A-level. A-level grades will only be made up of the exam results your students receive at the end of their A-level course.

What we're doing

To make teaching these separate courses easie , we've made sure that we can teach them together. This means that the content for AS and the first year of the A-level is identical.

Examination times

There is a total minimum exam time of 6 hours for the A-level and 3 hours for the AS.

A new approach to the assessment of practical skills

Knowledge and understanding of practical work will be assessed in written exams. About 15% of total marks in our AS and A-level exams will be based on practical questions.

What we're doing to help – we've put most of the practical questions in paper 3 of the A-level. We'll also provide practice papers, exemplars and commentaries so that students are prepared for exams.

Endorsement for practical skills

Students will be awarded a separate endorsement of practical skills, which will be assessed by teachers. This will not be graded. If students pass, it will be reported on their certificate. Otherwise it will not be reported.

Mathematical skills

About 40% of the total marks in our AS and A-level Physics exams will require the use of Level 2 (Higher tier GCSE) mathematical skills or above.

What we're doing – our exams have been testing mathematical skills for some time, so there will be little change. Students will be able to use past papers to practise their mathematical skills for upcoming exams.

A-level will prepare students for a wide range of possible university destinations including medicine, engineering and electronics.