Science

Science

Staff

  • Since 2010 Mr F Ahmed, B.Sc., M.Ed. (B’ham), A.M.S.B., P.G.C.E.: Head of Biology and Enrichment, Staff Governor
  • Since 2013 Mr S Alishah: Senior Laboratory Technician (Physics)
  • Since 2012 Mr D Bansal, B.Sc. (De Montfort), P.G.C.E.: Chemistry
  • Since 2005 Mr I Bedi, B.Sc. (Huddersfield), P.G.C.E.: Head of Chemistry
  • Since 2009 Mrs N Begum, B.Sc. (Wolverhampton), P.G.C.E.: Assistant Headteacher: Learning and Specialism/Chemistry
  • Since 2013 Ms M Bilkhu, B.Sc.(Aston), P.G.C.E.(B’ham): Chemistry
  • Since 2000 Miss M Hurley, B.Sc., M.Sc. (B’ham), P.G.C.E.: Assistant Head of Sixth Form/Biology
  • Since 2015 Mr J Hussain, B.Sc. (Aston), P.G.Dip.Ed. (B’ham): Biology
  • Since 1986 Mr P Jones, B.Sc. (B’ham), P.G.C.E. (Nott’ham), C.Phys., M.Inst.P., M.I.E.A: Head of Science and Physics
  • Since 2005 Mr D McCarron, B.Sc. (Salford), P.G.C.E.: Head of Year/Physics
  • Since 2011 Mr M Mohsin, B.Sc. (Aston), P.G.C.E.: Head of Year 7/Chemistry/Physics
  • Since 2015 Miss T Saleem, B.Sc. (Aston), P.G.C.E.: Biology
  • Since 2015 Mrs V Waring, B.Sc., Laboratory Technician

Aims

The Science Faculty’s vision is to provide every student with a science education that stimulates their curiosity and develops their self-belief and self-confidence.

The Science Faculty’s aims are to

  • provide a supportive and caring environment which fosters in our students a desire to learn, enjoy and challenge themselves to achieve across all disciplines of science.
  • enthuse our students through teaching science in an interesting, informative and interactive manner, providing our students with opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, in line with the ‘Building Learning Habits’ agenda.
  • deliver effectively the National Curriculum and the requirements of Post-16 specifications, and, through support and challenge, enable each student to realise his or her full potential.
  • encourage our students to become informed and aware members of society, able to formulate and communicate their own opinions and judgements about developments in science, and evaluate critically scientific claims.
  • develop our students’ application of observational, practical, enquiry and problem-solving skills and understanding within the laboratory and other learning environments.
  • develop our students’ ability to assess potential risk.

curriculum

For details about teaching orders of topics and assessments for all year groups (subject to change), please follow this link.

Science 6

KEY STAGE 3

The Key Stage 3 course is covered during Years 7 and 8, with Biology, Chemistry and Physics being taught under the umbrella of ‘Science’, following National Curriculum guidelines. Students have an average of about three hours per week in Science lessons and are taught in their Tutor groups. Topics covered are:

Year 7

Biology

  • Cells
  • Structure and function of body systems
  • Reproduction

Chemistry

  • Particles and their behaviour
  • Elements, atoms and compounds
  • Reactions
  • Acids and alkalis

Physics

  • Forces
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Space

Year 8

Biology

  • Health and lifestyle
  • Ecosystem processes
  • Adaptation and inheritance

Chemistry

  • The periodic table
  • Separation techniques
  • Metals and acids
  • The Earth

Physics

  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Energy
  • Motion and pressure

Formal assessment is by means of end-of-topic tests, APP (Assessing Pupils’ Progress) exercises and an end-of-year 8 examination. Assessment data is used to put students into broad ability bands for their Science sets in Year 9.

Further information can be found from the following link:

Key Stage 3 Science

Key stage 4

Extra Key Stage 4 course information for the current Years 9, 10 and 11 can be found from the following links:

Year 9
Year 10
Year 11

All students embark upon the study of their GCSEs in Science subjects at the start of Year 9.  They have 2 periods in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics per week.

Year 9 and Year 10 students

Year 9 and Year 10 students are following the new AQA specifications and final assessments will be by means of a series of terminal question papers which contain a variety of question styles. As part of the course, students will perform a number of ‘required practicals’ (in addition to usual practical work); some examination questions will be related to these. There is no coursework component in any Science GCSE.

Subject content is as follows:

Biology

  • Cell Biology
  • Organisation
  • Infection and response
  • Bioenergetics
  • Homeostasis and response
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution
  • Ecology

Chemistry

  • Atomic structure and the periodic table
  • Bonding, structure and the properties of matter
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • Chemical changes
  • Energy changes
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Using resources

Physics

  • Forces
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Particle model of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Space Physics (not for Combined Science)

Assessment schedule

Towards the end of their Year 9, students sit internal ‘mock’ papers in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This is in addition to the shorter Assessment Tests which take place during the year. The Science programme followed by students in Years 10 and 11 will depend upon their overall performances in all of these assessments.

Separate Science route

Those students who perform well in the Year 9 assessments follow a programme leading to the award of GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They will sit two 1 hour 45 minute papers in each Science subject, each paper being worth 100 marks and consisting of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open-response questions.

Combined Science route

Some students’ performances in Year 9 may indicate that it is in their interests for them to be prepared for entry into GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy. This is a double award qualification; it is worth two GCSEs. Students will sit two 1 hour 15 minute papers in each Science subject, each paper being worth 70 marks and consisting of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open-response questions.

NB We will also have the flexibility to shift students who have embarked upon the separate Sciences to examination entry in both GCSE Combined Science at the end of Year 11 if it becomes apparent that they would benefit from this. This shift can take place at the end of Year 10, when Year 10 internal examination results are known, or in January of Year 11, after the ‘mock’ examinations.

Support materials

Students have access to bespoke electronic textbooks for their Science courses on www.kerboodle.com, together with other resources. We hope that students will have the opportunity to purchase ‘hard’ copies of these textbooks at a discounted rate through the school should they wish; they are also available in the shops – look for Oxford separate GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics books, or the GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy books. Students can view and download the specification(s) and information about the courses from the website www.aqa.org.uk Specimen examination and controlled assessment papers are also available on the AQA website.

Year  11 students

Year 11 students are following the legacy specifications, in which final assessments are by means of a series of one-hour question papers (which contain a variety of question styles) together with controlled assessment (practical) activities (worth 25% of any qualification).  Units studied are:

Biology

  • Unit 1   Animals and Plants
  • Unit 2   Cells and Organisms
  • Unit 3   Transportation and Environment

Chemistry

  • Unit 1   Rocks, Metals, Fuels
  • Unit 2   Atomic structure, Rates of reaction
  • Unit 3   Periodic table, Substances

Physics

  • Unit 1   Energy, Waves, Electromagnetic radiation
  • Unit 2   Forces and Motion, Electricity, Radioactivity
  • Unit 3   Physics in Medicine, Stability, Electromagnetism

Science 1

Assessment schedule

Towards the end of their Year 9, students sat internal ‘mock’ Unit 1 papers in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  This is in addition to the shorter Assessment Tests that took place during the year.  The Science programme followed by students in Years 10 and 11 depended upon their overall performances in all of these assessments.

Separate Science route

Those students who performed well in the Year 9 assessments are following a programme leading to the award of GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  They sit all of their external GCSE examinations (9 hours in total) at the end of Year 11, in addition to being assessed internally by at least one Controlled Assessment activity in each Science subject.

Science and Additional Science route

Some students’ performances in Year 9 indicated that it is in their interests for them to be prepared for entry into GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science instead of the separate Sciences. At the end of Year 11, they will sit their Unit 1 GCSE papers (3 hours in total), leading to the award of GCSE Science, and their Unit 2 papers (also 3 hours in total), leading to the award of GCSE Additional Science. Controlled Assessment activities form part of the assessment.

NB We also have the flexibility to shift students who have embarked upon the separate Sciences to examination entry in both GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science at the end of Year 11 if it becomes apparent that they would benefit from this.

Controlled Assessment: The Centre-Assessed Unit (worth 25%)

Usually, these start with a brief class discussion about a particular topic and related investigation. Students then research and identify independently a method for carrying-out a particular investigation, including a risk assessment.  They can make one A4 side of research notes on a form provided.  Under test conditions, they then produce a suitable blank results table and sit Section 1 of an ISA (Investigative Skills Assignment) paper, lasting 45 minutes and worth 20 marks; they can use their own research notes during this.  After carrying-out the practical work either individually or in groups, they then draw a graph or bar chart of their results and sit the 50 minute Section 2 of the ISA (worth 30 marks); this includes questions about conclusions and evaluation.  Students have opportunities to practise what is involved before the first actual assessments.

Support materials

Students have access to bespoke electronic textbooks for their Science courses on www.kerboodle.com, together with other resources.  Many choose to purchase ‘hard’ copies of the texts themselves.  Students can view and download the specification(s) and information about the courses from the website www.aqa.org.uk  Specimen examination and controlled assessment papers are also available on the AQA website.

Sci-Biology Heart Dissection

Key stage 5

Biology

Science 2

Why study Biology?

Biology is the study of living things. It is a multi-disciplinary subject that includes such varied topics as Human Physiology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Ecology and Disease.

Biology is a popular choice at ‘AS’ and ‘A-level′ with there usually being four sets in Year 12 and three in year 13. The courses are based on the NEW AQA Specification. These specifications, together with past papers and mark-schemes, are available on the AQA website (www.aqa.org.uk) and on Moodle (VLE).

Possible degree options:

According to bestcourse4me.com, the top seven degree courses taken by students who have an A-level in Biology are:

  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sport and exercise science
  • Medicine
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology and Pathology Pharmacology
  • Toxicology and Pharmacy Chemistry.

Information on the NEW AS & A-level qualifications in Biology:

For a summary on the NEW AQA qualifications, click here to download the information flyer.

Qualifications needed to study AS/A2 Biology

Students must have achieved at least a grade A in GCSE Biology, or a grade A* in GCSE Science and at least an A grade in Additional Science, or acceptable alternatives, in addition to meeting the general entry requirements for the Sixth Form.

Science 3

AS COURSE STRUCTURE – New Course, Year 12

Subject content:

  • Biological molecules
  • Nucleic acids
  • Cell structure
  • Transport across cell membranes
  • Cell recognition and the immune system
  • Organisms exchanging substances with their environment
  • Mass Transport
  • DNA, genes and protein synthesis
  • Genetic diversity
  • Biodiversity
  • Mathematical skills
  • Practical skills

Practicals:

Biology, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course students will carry out practical activities including:

  1. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of an enzyme-controlled reaction
  2. Preparation of stained squashes of cells from plant root tips; set-up and use of an optical microscope to identify the stages of mitosis in these stained squashes and calculation of a mitotic index
  3. Production of a dilution series of a solute to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the water potential of plant tissue
  4. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the permeability of cell-surface membranes
  5. Dissection of animal or plant gas exchange or mass transport system or of organ within such a system
  6. Use of aseptic techniques to investigate the effect of antimicrobial substances on microbial growth

These practicals will give students the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way living things behave and work. It will also ensure that if a student decides to study a Biology-based subject at university, they will have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments at degree level.

Assessment:

There is no coursework on this course. However, students’ performance during practicals will be assessed by means of two 1 ½ hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 12.

In addition, teachers will formally assess students against a set of five practical competencies to determine if students have carried out the practical activities correctly and safely.

More details about course content can be found from the following link:

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

 Science 7

 

A2 COURSE STRUCTURE – New COURSE, YEAR 13

Subject content:

  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Energy and ecosystems
  • Response to stimuli
  • Nervous coordination and muscles
  • Homeostasis
  • Inherited change
  • Populations and evolution
  • Populations and ecosystems
  • Gene expression
  • Recombinant DNA technology
  • Mathematical skills
  • Practical skills

Practicals:

Biology, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course students will carry out practical activities including:

  1. Use of chromatography to investigate the pigments isolated from leaves of different plants g. leaves from shade-tolerant and shade- intolerant plants or leaves of different colours
  2. Investigation into the effect of a named factor on the rate of dehydrogenase activity in extracts of chloroplasts
  3. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of respiration of cultures of single-celled organisms
  4. Investigation into the effect of an environmental variable on the movement of an animal using either a choice chamber or a maze
  5. Production of a dilution series of a glucose solution and use of colorimetric techniques to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the concentration of glucose in an unknown ‘urine’ sample
  6. Investigation into the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species

These practicals will give students the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way living things behave and work. It will also ensure that if a student decides to study a Biology-based subject at university, they will have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments at degree level.

Assessment:

There is no coursework on this course. However, students’ performance during practicals will be assessed by means of three 2 hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 12.

In addition, teachers will formally assess students against a set of five practical competencies to determine if students have carried out the practical activities correctly and safely.

More details about course content can be found from the following link:

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

 

How is the course delivered?

Study of Biology in the Sixth Form involves a variety of learning experiences including teacher and student presentation, interactive computer programmes, internet research, class discussion, teacher demonstration and class practical work. Question sheets and Biofactsheets to consolidate knowledge and understanding are provided on a regular basis and student progress is monitored through regular assessment tests. Students benefit from access to a variety of on-line tools such as ‘Kerboodle’, ‘Doddle’ and ‘Moodle’ for consolidation and extension.

A wider interest in Science is also encouraged; students should aim to keep abreast of current developments through reading relevant articles on the internet or in the press or scientific magazines e.g. New Scientist, Nature and the Biological Sciences Review which are available in both in the Science Department and in the School Library. Students are encouraged to take out a subscription for the Biological Sciences Review, a quarterly journal published to support the A level Biology curriculum. Ecology field work has always been an important part of the curriculum.

Sci-Biology Field Work 1 Sci-Biology Field Work 2

Chemistry

Why study Chemistry?

Chemistry is a very popular choice at ‘AS’ and ‘A2′ levels with their usually being 4/5 sets in Years 12 and 3 sets in yr13. The courses are based on the AQA Specifications and these, together with past papers and mark schemes, are available on the AQA website.

The course builds upon the knowledge and understanding of the GCSE course. It helps to develop many skills including thinking and practical and is recognised as a valuable subject by employers in all fields.

Qualifications needed to study AS/A2 Chemistry

Students must have achieved at least a grade A in GCSE Chemistry, or a grade A* in GCSE Science and at least an A grade in Additional Science, or acceptable alternatives, in addition to meeting the general entry requirements for the Sixth Form.

AS Course Structure – New Course, Year 12

Subject content:

  • Atomic structure
  • Amount of substance
  • Bonding
  • Energetics
  • Kinetics
  • Equilibria
  • Oxidation, reduction and redox reactions
  • Periodicity
  • Group 2 Alkaline Earth Metals
  • Group 7, the Halogens
  • Introduction to organic chemistry
  • Alkanes
  • Halogenalkanes
  • Alkenes
  • Alcohols
  • Organic Analysis
  • Mathematical skills
  • Practical skills

Practicals:

Chemistry, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out practical activities including:

  • Making up a volumetric solution and carrying out a titration.
  • Measuring an enthalpy change.
  • Investigation of how the rate of reaction changes with temperature.
  • Carrying out test-tube reactions to identify cations and anions in aqueous solutions
  • Distillation of a product from a reaction.
  • Tests for an alcohol, aldehyde, alkene, and a carboxylic acid.

Assessment:

There is no coursework on this course. However, your performance during practicals will be assessed. Assessment is by means of two 1 ½ hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 12.

As well as this your teacher will assess you and give you a pass if you have carried out the practical correctly and safely.

More details about course content can be found from the following link:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/chemistry-7404-7405

Science 5

A2 Course Structure – New Course, Year 13

Subject content:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Kinetics
  • The equilibrium constant Kp
  • Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells
  • Acids, bases and buffers
  • Periodicity
  • The transition metals
  • Reactions of inorganic compounds in aqueous solutions
  • Nomenclature and isomerism
  • Compounds containing and carbonyl group
  • Aromatic chemistry
  • Amines
  • Polymerisation
  • Amino acids, proteins, and DNA
  • Organic synthesis and analysis
  • Structure determination
  • Chromatography
  • Mathematical skills
  • Practical skills

Practicals:

Chemistry, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course students will carry out practical activities including:

  1. Measuring the rate of reaction
    1. By an initial rate method
    2. By a continuous monitoring method
  2. Measuring the EMF of an electrochemical cell
  3. Investigate how pH changes when a weak acid reacts with a strong base and when a strong acid reacts with a weak base
  4. Preparation of:
    1. A pure organic solid and test its purity
    2. A pure organic liquid
  5. Carry out simple test-tube reactions to identify transition metal ions in aqueous solution
  6. Separation of species by thin-layer chromatography

Assessment:

There is no coursework on this course. However, students’ performance during practicals will be assessed by means of three 2 hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 12.

In addition, teachers will formally assess students against a set of five practical competencies to determine if students have carried out the practical activities correctly and safely.

More details about course content can be found from the following link:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/chemistry-7404-7405

How is the course delivered?

Study of Chemistry in the Sixth Form involves a variety of learning experiences including teacher and student presentations, power points, simulations, video clips, class discussion, teacher demonstration and class practical work. Question sheets to consolidate knowledge and understanding are set on a regular basis and student progress is monitored through regular assessment tests. Students benefit from access to the on-line tool ‘Kerboodle’ for consolidation and extension.

A wider interest in Science is also encouraged; students should aim to keep abreast of current developments through reading relevant articles on the internet or in the press or scientific magazines e.g. Chemistry Review, which is available for perusal both in the Chemistry Department and in the School Library. A wealth of informative and interesting television programmes is also screened nowadays.

Physics

Why study Physics?

A study of Physics is concerned with exploring and justifying what we observe happening around us. It involves not only linking the (macroscopic) properties of an object or substance as a whole to the (microscopic) properties of its constituents, but also trying to explain the interaction between samples of matter. Physicists have inquiring minds, and the answer to one question often leads to the generation of another.

Because of its direct and indirect relevance to so many areas, a study of AS and A2 Physics will assist access to a wide range of degree courses and careers ranging from Engineering to Optometry and from Computer Science to Medicine. Progress in Physics in the Sixth Form will be aided by a decent level of competence in Mathematics, the physicist’s tool, and you must be prepared to work hard.

Qualifications needed to study AS/A2 Physics: Students must have achieved at least a grade A in GCSE Physics, or a grade A* in GCSE Science and at least an A grade in Additional Science, or acceptable alternatives, in addition to meeting the general entry requirements for the Sixth Form.

AS Course Structure – Year 12

Subject content

  • Measurement and their errors
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Electricity

Practicals:

Physics, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will           carry out practical activities including:

  • Investigation into stationary waves
  • Investigation into interference and diffraction effects
  • Determination of the acceleration due to gravity
  • Determination into the Young Modulus
  • Determination of the resistivity of a wire
  • Investigation of the electromotive force and internal resistance of electric cells

Assessment

Assessment is by means of two 1 ½ hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 12.  There is no coursework component.

Full A Level Course Structure – Additional Year 13 Course Content

Subject content:

  • Further mechanics and thermal physics
  • Fields and their consequences
  • Nuclear physics
  • Turning points in physics

Practicals, to include:

  • Investigation into simple harmonic motion using a mass-spring system and a simple pendulum
  • Investigation of Boyle’s law and Charles’s law
  • Investigation of the charge and discharge of capacitors
  • Investigation of how the force on a wire varies with flux density, current and length of wire
  • Investigation, using a search coil and oscilloscope, of the effect on flux linkage of varying the angle between the search coil and the magnetic field direction
  • Investigation of the inverse square law for gamma radiation

Assessment

Assesment is by means of three 2 hour written examinations taken in May/June of Year 13.  These assess the AS content in addition to the extra content required for the full A level.  There is no coursework component.

More details about the course content can be found from the following link:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/physics-7407-7408

How is the course delivered?

Study of Physics in the Sixth Form involves a variety of learning experiences including teacher and student presentation, class discussion, teacher demonstration and class practical work. Question sheets to consolidate knowledge and understanding are set on a regular basis and student progress is monitored through regular assessment tests. Students benefit from access to the on-line tool ‘Kerboodle’ for consolidation and extension. A wider interest in Science is also encouraged; students should aim to keep abreast of current developments through reading relevant articles on the internet or in the press or scientific magazines e.g. New Scientist, which is available for perusal both in the Physics Department and in the School Library. A wealth of informative and interesting television programmes is also screened nowadays.

Extra-Curricular

The Science Faculty provides a wealth of enrichment activities and students are encouraged to take wide interest in all aspects of science, not just the topics covered in the laboratory.

Recent activities include:

  • Science themed trip to Paris and Berlin
  • Year 7 Science Club activities
  • Year 8 ‘CSI Day’ in school
  • Year 8 ‘Supercapacitor Car Challenge’ in school
  • Year 9 Wind Turbine Workshops, including presenting at the House of Commons
  • Participation in the CREST (Creativity in Science and Technology) Award Scheme
  • Field work for A level Biology students
  • Science ‘Big Quizzes’ at Birmingham University
  • KS4 and KS5 ‘Physics Challenge’ and ‘Olympiad’ competitions
  • KS3 students have attended residential ‘Smallpeice Trust’ Science and Engineering Courses
  • Institute of Physics lectures e.g. ‘Exploring the Universe’
  • Year 12 attendance at residential ‘Medlink’ and ‘MedSix’ conferences at Nottingham University

Visits to:

  • The Royal Society Summer Expedition
  • The National Space Centre, Leicester
  • The Eden Project, Cornwall
  • ‘Explore at Bristol’ Centre
  • ‘Thinktank’ at Millennium Point
  • The ‘Big Bang’ Fair
  • Nuclear and hydro-electric power stations
  • Jodrell Bank telescope
  • Manchester and Birmingham Universities