Why do we study science?

At Sexey’s, the study of science aims to enable students to understand the world around them and to make informed decisions about how they lead their lives. Science at Sexey’s helps students build opinions of career opportunities that they may aspire towards, as well as supporting our Christian ethos such that students can experience life in all its fullness. In achieving these goals, we have a track record of preparing students robustly for public exams.

The science department at Sexey’s comprises seven experienced teaching staff and three technicians. With many years of experience in academia, teaching and industry, we are superbly equipped to help students reach their potential. There are five specialist laboratories designed to enable a wealth of practical investigation work to be conducted.

There is naturally an emphasis on practical work and we take time to develop skills that pupils will require later in life. Students gain confidence in conducting investigations to solve problems and work methodically to reach conclusions to their questions.

Key Stage 3 curriculum plan

Our KS3 plan follows the national curriculum, using the AQA syllabus. We have organised the syllabus such that the foundations of each of the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics are introduced and then used to help students understand ‘big ideas’. The big ideas that we aim to bring to life through this structured approach are:

  • Forces
  • Electromagnets
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Matter
  • Reactions
  • Earth
  • Organisms
  • Ecosystems
  • Earth

Students will study KS3 through Year 7 and 8, and some of Year 9. Part of the way into Year 9, students will have their ‘End of Key Stage 3’ Exam, and then start on the Key Stage 4 syllabus, which will take them through to their GCSEs.

We structure each year by breaking the year into Cycles A-E. In each cycle, students will work through topics in tandem (usually with two teachers). Students at KS3 will have 7 lessons per fortnight in science.

Year 7 – Students build on their work at Key Stage 2.
(Numbers before each topic indicate the chapter in the ‘Activate Books’, and section in the AQA KS3 specification that are relevant to this topic)

Introduction cycle:
– Safety in a science laboratory
– Using laboratory equipment
– Conducting investigations

Cycle A:
1.1 – Speed
5.1 – Particle model
8.1 – Movement
Cycle B:
2.3 – Electromagnets
2.4 – Magnetism
8.3 – Breathing
10.3 – Evolution
Cycle C:
2.1 & 2.2 Potential Difference and Current (Electricity)
10.1 – Variation
10.2 – Human reproduction
Cycle D:
6.2 – Acids and Alkalis
3.1 – Energy costs
3.2 – Energy transfer
Cycle E
5.2 – Separating mixtures
7.1 – Earth structure
9.1 – Interdependence

Year 8 – Students build on their work in Year 7.
(Numbers before each topic indicate the chapter in the ‘Activate Books’, and section in the AQA KS3 specification that are relevant to this topic)

Cycle A:
1.3 – Contact forces
7.2 – Universe
9.3 – Respiration
Cycle B:
2.3 – Electromagnets
2.4 – Magnetism
8.3 – Breathing
10.3 – Evolution
Cycle C
3.4 – Heating and Cooling
5.4 – Elements
9.4 – Photosynthesis
Cycle D
4.2 – Light
6.3 – Chemical Energy
8.4 – Digestion
Cycle E
6.4 – Types of reaction
7.4 – Earth resources
10.1 – Variation
10.4 – Inheritance

Year 9 – Students build on their work in Year 8.

Cycle A:
Students will consolidate KS3 knowledge prior to their End of KS3 Exam near Autumn half term.

Cycle B:
GCSE Biology Intro Pt 1
GCSE Chemistry Intro Pt 1

Cycle C:
GCSE Biology Intro Pt 2
GCSE Physics Intro Pt 1

Cycle D:
GCSE Physics Intro Pt 2
GCSE Chemistry Intro Pt 2
Cycle E:
GCSE – ‘How science works’ – a focus on practical skills.


Details of assessment criteria for Key Stage 3 can be found here.

KS4 – Years 10 and 11

Science is a core National Curriculum subject, so all students must study elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics through to the end of Year 11.

On starting year 10, students will choose whether they want to study the ‘Trilogy’ course (Double science), or ‘Triple’ science courses.
By May in the summer term or Year 10, students will have covered all of the ‘Paper 1’ material in each science. By March in Year 11, students will have completed the ‘Paper 2’ material. This plan leaves plenty of time to revise the entire syllabus prior to their GCSE exams in the summer of Year 11.

Triple Science:
– Students get a whole GCSE in each of Biology, Chemistry, Physics – 3 separate GCSEs.
– Students have 14 lessons per fortnight in the three sciences, taught by specialist teachers
– Students take two papers in each science at the end of year 11.

Trilogy (Double science) :
– Students get two GCSEs that reflect performance from across their science studies (Biology, Chemistry and Physics.)
– Students have 9 lessons per fortnight in the three sciences, taught by specialist teachers
– Students take two papers in each science at the end of year 11.
Students will conduct numerous practical activities throughout the course they choose. Additionally as part of the course there are a number of ‘Required Practicals’ that need to be completed as part of the syllabus.
The year is divided into 5 cycles (A-E), with an ‘end of cycle test’ at the end of each cycle.
The topics covered include:
• Cell biology • Organisation • Infection and response • Bioenergetics • Homeostasis and response • Inheritance, variation and evolution • Ecology
• Atomic structure and the periodic table • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter • Quantitative chemistry • Chemical changes • Energy changes • The rate and extent of chemical change • Organic chemistry • Chemical analysis • Chemistry of the atmosphere • Using resources
• Forces • Energy • Waves • Electricity • Magnetism and electromagnetism • Particle model of matter • Atomic structure

Spiritual, Moral, Social or Cultural Opportunities

As a Church of England school, with our ethos rooted in Christian values, our approach to science examines numerous aspects that enable pupils to explore their faith and values, whilst making sense of the world around them. We encourage students to examine evidence and identify how their beliefs are developed based on observations vs those based on faith.

There are a wide range of topics that involve consideration of the ethics associated with the ideas being studied. Furthermore, there are ideas that open up questions relating to our existence and how we are able to explain our place in the universe.

Weaving our understanding of our ‘Sexey’s Seven’ values, we encourage students to demonstrate courage, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, respect, empathy and resilience in how students work both independently and with others.

Most Able Opportunities/Support

We are active in engaging with activities run by a number of organisations and scientific bodies. We routinely enter (and perform highly) in inter-school science competitions.

For the most able at KS5, students are helped prepare for Oxbridge (or equivalent) interviews.

Staff list

Biology Specialists:

  • Mr S Aylward
  • Miss F Dickson, BSc (Exeter)
  • Mrs K McCarthy, MSc (University of East Anglia), PGCE

Physics Specialists

  • Mr A King, BSc (Oxford Brookes), PGCE
  • Dr A Harrison
  • Miss J King, MSc (London Southbank)

Chemistry Specialists

  • Mr L Francis, MSci (Bristol University), PGCE – Chemistry Lead
  • Mrs E Radford James, MChem (Bath University), PGCE – Head of Science and Technology Faculty

Useful website links

Updated Sept 2019