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

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.” Job 14:7

The Department of Science is made up of an experienced team of staff who are highly dedicated and specialised to their subject area.  Qualifications are offered up to GCSE Level including Core Science, Additional Science and individual GCSE’s in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  Students are encouraged to be innovative and think about how Science affects everything we do – from how we function to the science behind our cameras and the components of the food we eat.  The faculty provides lessons that are active and engaging, maximising the interest and enthusiasm of our students, so that lessons are thoroughly enjoyed and understood.

Please use the link below for the Science Department Curriculum Guide

Departmental Curriculum Handbook Science

We have a Curriculum Area Leader for Science who is supported by a team of 7 Teaching Staff. Their teaching is complemented by 3 laboratory technicians who work in our laboratory preparation rooms to ensure that all of the practical Science lessons go ahead smoothly.  We have six science laboratories and endeavour to promote lessons that are imaginative, creative and involving current affairs.

Science stimulates and excites students’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It also satisfies this curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage students at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling.  Through science, students understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life. Students recognise the cultural significance of science and trace its worldwide development. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.

5 Year Curriculum

How to support my child in Science


Miss L Miller                         Head of Science

Mrs S Bhikha                       Assistant Head of Science

Miss S Dawber                     Teacher of Science (maternity leave)

Mr D Gorse                            Teacher of Science (temporary)

Miss N Hall                            Teacher of Science

Mrs H Horridge                     Assistant Head Teacher and Teacher of Science

Mr R Mau                              Teacher of Science

Mr O Palmer                         Teacher of Science

Miss S Rushton                    Teacher of Science

Miss S Weatherall                Teacher of Science

Mrs Yorke-Robinson           Deputy Head Teacher and Teacher of Science

Mr M Theckston                   Senior Laboratory Technician

Mrs J Rainford                      Laboratory Technician

Mrs H Langley                      Laboratory Technician


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

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).

“How can I help my child make progress”

How can I support my child to make progress in Science?

There are a lot of resources that can help you and your child to consolidate their understanding of the Science curriculum.  You can also contact Miss Miller (Head of Science) or your child’s teacher(s) for additional guidance and suggestions.

One of the biggest factors in determining exam success for students in Science is the ability to recall information, and as such regular revision is imperative.  Revision should be an active process; some of the links below are useful to help students begin their revision.


Science teachers use Epraise to record homework, but there are also many links and resources that have been uploaded to support your child.

Seneca learning

Seneca learning is an online platform for revision. The Science element is fantastic, and linked to the KS3 programme of study and the GCSE specifications that we follow.  Your child’s teacher will also have included a link in Epraise for them to follow to join an online class.  Regular rewards and awards are presented to students that use Seneca constructively outside of school.

BBC Bitesize

Bitesize was updated recently to ensure that it follows the 2014 National Curriculum for KS3, and each of the exam board specifications.  There is a guide to each unit of study, videos and mini-quizzes for KS3, and for KS4 there are also interactive exam-style questions.

The links below are correct for AQA exam board.

KS3 Science

GCSE Combined Science

GCSE Biology

GCSE Chemistry

GCSE Physics


There is an increasingly impressive bank of videos on youtube that align to our specifications, including videos of the Required Practical Activities students must understand at GCSE. Please make sure that they are based on AQA when using them.