Astor website nov2017 shoot 137 of 162

Welcome to the Science Department.

Please find links to courses and content below.

For any enquiries please contact:

Director of Science: Mrs F Cator



In years 7 and 8, student follow the KS3 National Curriculum.  In year 9 they move over to the GCSE.

Please find cousre content below:










Learners will follow a Combined Science Trilogy Programme at KS4. The course consists of separate units of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and will be examined at the end of the course.

Biology units will give students the opportunity to gain a good understanding of human biology, organisms, evolution and the environment.

Chemistry units will give students a good understanding of the nature of substances and how they react together, how chemistry is used in business and industry and how our use of fuels affect the local and global environment.

Physics units will give students a good understanding of the use and transfer of energy, as well as an insight into the nature of waves, radiation and space. They'll also learn about the application of physics in the real world they live in.

Our aim is that learners will achieve at least two Science GCSE qualifications or equivalent at the end of the course. The course will give learners a good knowledge of science and provide them with a firm base should they wish to continue studying the subject at A level.

Course Content:

Cell Biology, Organisation, Infection & Response, Bioenergetics, Homeostasis & Response, Inheritance, Variation & Evolution and Ecology.

Atomic Structure & the Periodic Table, Bonding, Structure & the Properties of Matter, Quantitative Chemistry, Chemical Changes, Energy Changes, The Rate & Extent of Chemical Change, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Analysis, Chemistry of the Atmosphere and Using Resources.

Forces, Energy, Waves, Electricity, Magnetism & Electromagnetism, Particle Model of Matter and Atomic Structure.

Pupils who have successfully followed this course will be able to:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of Science.
  • Develop and learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry and problem solving skills.
  • Develop the ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

This specification is designed to be taken over two years. It is a linear qualification.

In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

The six papers at the top of the following page will need to be sat, either at higher or foundation level to achieve the award.

Although practical work will be at the heart of this specification, there is no ‘practical exam’. There will be questions in the written exams that will draw on the knowledge and understanding students have gained by carrying out a specific set of 16 practicals (provided by AQA). These questions will count for at least 15% of the overall marks for the qualification.



Raw Mark

% of GCSE

Biology Paper 1




Biology Paper 2




Chemistry Paper 1




Chemistry Paper 2




Physics Paper 1




Physics Paper 2







In Year 12, students will have the opportunity to study A Level Biology and Chemistry.

The course is suitable for those students who have met the entry requirements and have enjoyed Biology or Chemistry at GCSE.

Successful candidates are hardworking, well-motivated students who rapidly develop the independent learning skills that the course demands. They actively partake in lessons by contributing to discussion, openly seeking advice and working with each other to clarify understanding. They independently follow up class work using a variety of sources. Strong organisation skills and the ability to make extensive and detailed notes are desirable.

A Level Biology

Students will follow the AQA GCE Biology specification (7401 / 7402). The course is designed to build on concepts and skills developed at GCSE. It encourages careful observation, recording, analysis of data and application and promotes an ability to think logically and critically.

Subject Content:

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

Typical classroom activities include lectures, discussions, debates, group work, research, model making, presentations, experimental work, microscope work and topic tests. Homework assignments include research and note-taking, questions, writing up experiments and essays. The time spent on homework is approximately four to six hours per week.

Both AS and ‘A’ Level course will be linear qualifications, beginning from September 2015. The AS will now be a stand-alone qualification which does not contribute towards an ‘A’ Level grade.

The AS Biology qualification is assessed over two papers. Both papers assess content from topics 1-4 (see above) plus relevant practical skills.

‘A’ Level Biology is assessed over three separate papers:

Paper 1 covers topics 1-4 (see above) and any relevant practical skills.

Paper 2 covers topics 5-8 (see above) and any relevant practical skills.

Both paper 1 and 2 have equal weighting of 35% of the final ‘A’ Level grade.

Paper 3 assesses content from topics 1–8, including relevant practical skills. It is worth 30% of the final ‘A’ Level grade.

There is no longer a separate practical skills assessment that counts towards the Biology ‘A’ Level qualification. Instead there is a standalone certification that recognises practical skills. The exam board dictates a set list of practical techniques students will need to be able to demonstrate throughout the year in order to be awarded this additional certificate.

Biology ‘A’ Level combines well with Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Geography and P.E. Career opportunities exist in laboratory work, in industry, genetics, ecology, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, work with animals, health care, information science, e.g. in a museum or library, teaching, pharmacy, medicine and dentistry.

A Level Chemistry

The ‘A’ Level Chemistry course covers a wide variety of Physical, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry topics designed to build on work covered at GCSE and to form an excellent basis for further study. As well as enhancing students’ knowledge of Chemistry the course aims to develop analytical and problem solving skills as well as practical technique. The new specification from 2015 reflects the changing face of Chemistry in academia and in industry, the content of the course reflects new advances in analytical techniques as well as an increased focus on applications of Chemistry in medical and pharmaceutical contexts.

‘A’ Level Chemistry has strong links with the other Sciences and Mathematics and we recommend that students aim to take one or more of these complimentary subjects along with Chemistry.

Lessons are always varied, incorporating individual and group practicals. Theoretical work often includes discussions and students are expected to carry out individual research to further their understanding of the topics. At the end of each topic the students’ progress is assessed in a short test. Each week, students can expect to receive set tasks for homework or revision but in addition are expected to spend at least two hours of non-directed time performing their own independent note-making and study.

Both AS and ‘A’ Level courses are linear qualifications. The AS Chemistry qualification is assessed over two papers: one covering Inorganic and Physical Chemistry and one covering Organic and Physical Chemistry. Both papers are 90 minutes long and are equally weighted; both papers consist of a mixture of long answer, short answer and multiple choice questions.

‘A’ Level Chemistry is assessed over three separate papers:

Paper 1 covers topics in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.

Paper 2 covers topics in Organic and Physical Chemistry; these two papers are each worth 35% of the final A-level qualification and comprise of a mixture of long and short answer questions.

Paper 3 assesses practical skills, data handling and synoptic knowledge of the course; it is worth 30% of the total ‘A’ Level qualification. Each of the ‘A’ Level Chemistry exam papers will be two hours in length.

Practical skills no longer count towards the Chemistry ‘A’ Level qualification and instead form a standalone certification. The exam board dictates a set list of practical techniques students will need to be able to demonstrate throughout the year in order to be awarded this additional certificate.

An ‘A’ Level qualification in Chemistry is an indicator of a student’s higher level reasoning skills as well as their possessing an excellent grasp of abstract concepts. Higher qualifications in Chemistry are widely sought after and studying Chemistry is the basis for a variety of opportunities, including careers in Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Forensic Science, Agricultural and Environmental Science and Engineering. It also opens doors to careers in Finance, Law and Accountancy.

In Year 13, students complete a further 3 units giving them a broad knowledge and a greater in depth understanding of science covering core scientific ideas in Biology and Chemistry.

Entry Requirements

4 GCSEs (or equivalent) at C or above (including Science)


AQA Biology

AQA Chemistry