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 potential within the subject.

 Courses/Subjects on Offer

NOTE – The links at the bottom of this page provide detailed 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 national 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

The majority of students are now following Edexcel GCSE Combined Science (Grade 9-1).  The GCSE is assessed by 6 externally examined papers (two in each science subject) along with 18 mandatory practical tasks completed within lessons. Grades are awarded from a combination of the 6 papers taken to achieve 2 GCSE’s. Students taking the foundation tier will give access to GCSE Combined Science grades of 1-5.   Students taking the higher tier will give access to GCSE Combined Science grades of 4-9.

A smaller group of students are following Edexcel GCSE Separate Science (Grade 9-1) taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Each Science GCSE is assessed by 2 externally examined papers along with 8 mandatory practical tasks completed within lessons.  Students will achieve 3 separate GCSE’s.  Students taking the foundation tier will give access to GCSE grades of 1-5.   Students taking the higher tier will give access to GCSE grades of 4-9.

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

A review of the coursing of KS4 students will be conducted early in year 11. At this point it is likely that some students will be recourse onto combined science (in doing so obtaining 2 GCSE qualifications at grades 1-9). These decisions will be informed by a variety of sources and will always be driven by a desire to see every student make the maximum academic progress.

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

All of the A level science qualifications are examined at the end of year 13:

Exam Paper 1 (topic 1) – 2hours 15minutes, 37% of the qualification

Exam Paper 2 (topic 2) – 2hours 15minutes, 37% of the qualification

Exam Paper 3 (synoptic) – 1hours 20minutes, 26% of the qualification

 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 annually in September dependent on the interests of students) (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.

 Resources KS3:

Regular departmental homework will be set via show my homework

KS3 students will have termly knowledge tests

BBC Bitesize is a fantastic revision resource (details of topics in tests will be shared with students and via SMHW)

 Resources KS4:

Regular departmental homework will be set via show my homework

Students are studying Edexcel (grade 9-1) GCSE qualifications in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and combined Science.

Revision guides will be available for purchase throughout the academic year.

The following youtube channels provide an excellent review of key topics:

Past exam questions can be found at the following address:

 Resources KS5:

Students are studying OCR A qualifications in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

All students have been provided with a copy of the ‘[science] for you’ text book in the science subject(s) that they study – these are a fantastic resource and should facilitate the significant majority of their revision, additional reading and independent study.

Past exam questions can be found at the following address:


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 Subject Leaders:

Melanie Harts – Biology Lead

Matt Hadfield – Physics Lead

Andrew Yearsley – Chemistry Lead

Content updated September 2018