Aims of the Subject

Our principle aim in science is to equip students with an understanding of data analysis, conclusion and evaluation. We intend for students to ask questions and seek answers, we firmly believe that solid foundations in science will enable students to make informed decisions throughout the rest of their lives.

Many students of science from the academy have gone on to study science at University and/or enter into the scientific industry. It is our minimum expectation that students leave the college having been provided with the opportunity to reach or exceed their target grade within the subject.

Courses/Subjects on Offer

NOTE – The links at the bottom of this page provide information on the programs of study in science at the Ilfracombe Academy:

Key Stage 3

Students study a programme of topics developed by staff from the academy which is based upon (and covers in its entirety) the new KS3 curriculum in science which was  published during 2014. Students are generally taught science in years 7, 8 and 9 by one teacher and have 3 hours of timetabled science lessons per week.

Year 7 topics: Cells, Particles, Forces, Photosynthesis, Periodic Table, Energy, Reproduction, Acids & Alkalis, Space.

Year 8 topics: Life Support, Chemical Reactions, Forces in Action, Keeping Healthy, Earth Science, Waves, Changing Environments, Material Science, Electricity.

Year 9 topics: Genetics, Formula and Equations, Magnetism.

 Key Stage 4

A final cohort of year 11 students are following the old specification Edexcel programmes of either;

  • Core science (Year 10) and additional science (Year 11)
  • Triple sciences in biology, chemistry and physics (Years 10 and 11)

Students of science and additional science are taught by a team of teachers (with each teacher either solely or jointly responsible for the delivery of the biology, chemistry or physics examination content). Students of science and additional science obtain x2 GCSE qualifications graded A*-U.

Students of the separate science disciplines (optional) are taught by a team of three teachers (with each teacher responsible for the delivery of the biology, chemistry or physics GCSE in its entirety). Students of separate science obtain x3 GCSE qualifications in the separate disciplines graded A*-U.


From September 2016 all key stage 4 students (years 10 and 11) will follow the separate science programme of study. Students will follow the Edexcel specifications in biology, chemistry and physics and will subsequently obtain x3 GCSE qualifications in the separate disciplines graded 9-1.

Students are taught by three teachers (with each teacher responsible for the delivery of the biology, chemistry or physics GCSE in its entirety). Under the current delivery model student have either 2 or 3 hours per week in each science.

The students will sit x2 exam papers in each subject; each exam is 1 hour 45 minutes long and addresses the content identified below (note – there is no longer any coursework component to GCSE science)

Biology Paper 1:
Key concepts in biology, Cells and control, Genetics, Natural selection and genetic modification, Health, disease and the development of medicines

Biology Paper 2:
Key concepts in biology, Plant structures and their functions, Animal coordination, control and homeostasis, Exchange and transport in animals, Ecosystems and material cycles

 Chemistry Paper 1:
Key concepts in chemistry, States of matter and mixtures, Chemical changes, Extracting metals and equilibria, Separate chemistry 1

Chemistry Paper 2:
Key concepts in chemistry, Groups in the periodic table, Rates of reaction and energy changes, Fuels and Earth science, Separate chemistry 2

 Physics Paper 1:
Key concepts of physics, Motion and forces, Conservation of energy, Waves, Light and the electromagnetic spectrum, Radioactivity, Astronomy

Physics Paper 2:
Key concepts of physics, Energy – Forces doing work, Forces and their effects, Electricity and circuits, Static electricity, Magnetism and the motor effect, Electromagnetic induction, Particle model, Forces and matter

 Key Stage 5

Students of A level science follow the OCR A programmes (biology A, chemistry A and physics A). These linear courses are examined at the end of year 13 and are assessed by 100% external assessment.
In addition to their A level qualification, students that successfully complete the core practical’s within an A level subject will obtain ‘practical endorsement’ as a separate certificate.
Within each science subject students will be prepared for examinations by studying the following content:

A level biology content:
Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology
Module 2 – Foundations in biology
Module 3 – Exchange and transport
Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

A level chemistry content:
Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry
Module 2 – Foundations in chemistry
Module 3 – Periodic table and energy
Module 4 – Core organic chemistry
Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements
Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis

A level physics content:
Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics
Module 2 – Foundations of physics
Module 3 – Forces and motion
Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons
Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics
Module 6 – Particles

The Academy also offers the Edexcel BTEC Level 3 qualification in applied sciences. The extended certificate awarded at the end of year 13 is equivalent to a full A level qualification and recognized by universities as an established science subject.
This course was introduced to provide students with a more ‘hands-on’ approach to post-16 studies and provides an excellent alternative for students seeking to pursue careers within the scientific industry (or similar). This course is assessed by a combination of internally assessed assignments and externally assessed assignments and examinations.

Level 3 BTEC units of study:
Unit 1 Principles and Applications of Science (external exam)
Unit 2 Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques (internally moderated assignments)
Unit 3 Science Investigation Skills (externally moderated assignments)
Unit 4 Optional unit (tbc for September 2017) (internally moderated assignments)

All post-16 sciences are delivered by either a single teacher of by a team of two teachers.
Each A level subject is allocated 4 hours of curriculum time per week (students also have an identified study period within each subjects).

Styles of Teaching

Science content is delivered whenever possible within a practical setting and with a clear focus on the application of science within modern society.
The science department has adopted the school value of ‘responsibility’ and subsequently every opportunity is taken to promote responsibility within lessons and amongst students.
At Key Stage 3 student progress in the following key areas is constantly assessed and evaluated – these skills are seen as fundamental to success in both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5;

  • Writing in Science (describing and explaining)
  • Science in our world (decisions and opinions)
  • Results (tables and graphs)
  • Practical Science (variables and methods)
  • Conclusions and evaluations (conclusions and evaluations)

Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 build on the knowledge and skills introduced lower down the school, students are encouraged to develop a broader and deeper understanding within the subject.

Progression Routes
As a core subject all students study science during Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
The science options are amongst the most popular within the sixth form. Students of post-16 science at the Ilfracombe Academy regularly progress to University in the science(s) or a related field. The department has a good record of assisting students in successfully applying for some of the most competitive courses, including; medicine, engineering and scientific degrees at Russel Group University and both Oxford and Cambridge.


Biology 1 Revision Guide Year 10
Chemistry 1 Revision Guide Year 10
Physics 1 Revision Guide Year 10

Biology 2 Revision Guide Year 11
Chemistry 2 Revision Guide Year 11
Physics 2 Revision Guide Year 11

For further information please contact the Head of Department:
James Twomey


Content updated January 2017



The school will be closed to students on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th October and will reopen after half term in the new premises on Tuesday 31st October. Click here for full details and click here for floor plan of new school.