St Joseph's R.C. High School
& Sports College

St Joseph's RC High School

St Joseph's RC High School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
and young people and, expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment

“5 year curriculum”

Students follow a 5 year, spiral curriculum and topics are interleaved to enable students to continually build their knowledge and skill5s. 

In Year 7 and 8, students have 5 hours of Science per fortnight.  Studies are aligned to the National Curriculum for Science 2014, and is underpinned by AQAs Big Ideas in Science.  Our scheme of learning aims to stimulate students’ curiosity in the world around them and enable to develop investigative and evaluative skills in preparation for GCSE.

The topics covered are outlined below.  Each unit of work is built around the development of a particular investigative skill alongside the improvement in knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts.

Year 7:

  • Unit 1 – Skills for Science
  • Unit 2 – Forces
  • Unit 3 – Particle model of matter
  • Unit 4 – Cells
  • Unit 5 – Electricity
  • Unit 6 – Metals, acids & alkalis
  • Unit 7 – Interdependence
  • Unit 8 – Waves
  • Unit 9 – Space & Earth
  • Unit 10 – Reproduction & variation
  • Unit 11 – Energy transfers

Year 8:

  • Unit 1 – Skills for Science
  • Unit 2 – Forces
  • Unit 3 – Periodic Table & materials
  • Unit 4 – Bioenergetics
  • Unit 5 – Waves
  • Unit 6 – Climate & Earth
  • Unit 7 – Systems
  • Unit 8 – Magnets & Electromagnets
  • Unit 9 – Reactions
  • Unit 10 – Inheritance & Evolution

Homework will be set once or twice per week

In year 9-11, the number of sessions is increased to 10 per fortnight.  Science is one of the core subjects of the National Curriculum and therefore it is compulsory in Years 9, 10 and 11.  We study science from the AQA suite of GCSE qualifications. Students will either follow the programme of study towards:

  • GCSE Combined Science – Trilogy
  • Or GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics

A small number of students each some year groups will work towards an Entry Level Certificate in Science prior to beginning their formal GCSE studies, to ensure they are well-equipped with the skills needed to succeed.

An overview of the topics in the GCSE courses is shown below:


1. Cell biology

2. Organisation

3. Infection and response

4. Bioenergetics

5. Homeostasis and response

6. Inheritance, variation and evolution

7. Ecology






8. Atomic structure and the periodic table

9. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter

10. Quantitative chemistry

11. Chemical changes

12. Energy changes

13. The rate and extent of chemical change

14. Organic chemistry

15. Chemical analysis

16. Chemistry of the atmosphere

17. Using resources




18. Energy

19. Electricity

20. Particle model of matter

21. Atomic structure

22. Forces

23. Waves

24. Magnetism and electromagnetism

Students that are sitting GCSE Physics will also study 25. Space



There are 6 papers sat at the end of the course in Y11 – 2 Biology, 2 Chemistry and 2 Physics papers; the length of the paper varies, dependent on the specification being followed.   The student will sit either Foundation or Higher tier papers.

15% of the marks available on the papers are related to Required Practical Activities, so there is an emphasis placed on experiments and investigative skills throughout the course.

Lessons feature regular opportunities to develop and practise exam technique to prepare to independently answer the more challenging AO2 Application and AO3 Evaluation questions.

Links to specifications:

GSCE Combined Science – Trilogy

GCSE Biology

GCSE Chemistry

GCSE Physics

Career Possibilities….

Your (options with Science) are unlimited

Using science as a grounding to follow a career, options are numerous and involve both research and hands-on roles. For instance….

Health & Medicine, teaching, research, forensics, psychology, sports science, conservation, pharmacology, veterinary surgeon, design, biotechnology, dentistry, agriculture geology, archaeology, astronomy, energy supply and technology engineering (computer, aerospace, electronic, communications).

5 Year Curriculum