Key Stage 3
The Key stage 3 Science course is designed to encourage pupils to be enthusiastic about Science by engaging them in a great deal of practical work. Pupils learn to be confident at handling scientific equipment e.g. the Bunsen burner in Year 7 and to evaluate any investigative work they complete. The pupils cover all the core elements of science needed to underpin their GCSE courses. Pupils are taught to think scientifically and make their own models to explain how science works e.g. modelling of how enzymes work in digestion in Year 8.
Learning to draw graphs and analyse data is a key skill that is developed and pupils learn to look at data critically for any misrepresentation or bias. Pupils carry out mini-research projects and are asked to communicate their findings to the rest of the class e.g. the importance of the space shuttle to scientific research in Year 9. Pupils are encouraged to work both independently and in group work e.g. ‘Murder in the Jungle’ takes part during activity week in the summer. This task encourages Year 8 pupils to solve a murder by looking at different forensic techniques while working as part of a team.
Key Stage 4
Where students have already decided that they wish to study A-level Sciences they can study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects. If they wish to keep their options open but may still wish to study A-level Sciences in the future, they can choose Double Science where they combine the results of the three subjects.
Students studying Double Science will be awarded a single GCSE grade at the end of year 10 – GCSE Science, and a second GCSE grade at the end of year 11 – GCSE Additional Science. Because the courses are independent, these two grades may be different. Students taking GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics will be graded separately for each subject at the end of year 11.
There is content that is common to both routes of study so that pupils are prepared for further study at A-level no matter which route they have followed. All students will attend Biology, Chemistry and Physics lessons delivered by specialist teachers.
GCSE Sciences specifications:
Key Stage 5
The AS and A2 Physics courses allow students to study key Physics principles in interesting contexts. For example, in Year 12 students learn about the mechanics of bungee jumping, the viscosity and flow of fluids in the context of chocolate manufacture and about waves in the context of music.
In year 13 they study the science of the stars, learn about how buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes and how motors and electromagnetic braking systems are used on Eurostar trains and on theme park rides like Nemesis at Alton Towers. The lessons involve a lot of practical work, students use mathematical skills to solve problems and develop written and oral communication skills as they explain how the Universe works.
A-level Physics specification:
Biology A-level enthuses and challenges students by expanding their knowledge of a wide range of cutting edge and more traditional biological topics. The AS year aims to give students a deep understanding of a range of topics including how disease affects human systems and investigating the variety of life.
The A2 year begins with our annual residential visit to Anglesey in which we apply fieldwork and statistical techniques whilst studying the terrestrial and marine life there.
The A2 course studies human populations; interactions between the environment and living things; co-ordination and control in the body. Assessment throughout the course is by modular exams on each topic as well as an individual practical skills assessment in each year.
A-level Biology specification:
‘The ‘Careers in Biology – Live the dream’ information point can be found in C23 for guidance on post 16 courses, universities, work experience and careers. This will be updated at regular intervals so please drop-in. C23 will be open every Tuesday lunchtime when a member of the Biology team will be present to discuss options.’
“If you enjoy GCSE Chemistry then you will enjoy A Level even more”
This is a quote from one of our current A Level students. The theoretical aspects of the course are supplemented by a large number of practicals which develop a wide range of practical skills. There is an emphasis on the relevance of Chemistry to everyday life and practical work includes making, soap, nylon, food flavourings, aspirin and an anti-coagulant drug.
The AS course really gets to grips with the basics of Chemistry and explains why different materials behave in certain ways, for example why flubber has its unique properties. The periodic table is examined in more detail and its logical structure becomes beautifully clear. There is an introduction to organic chemistry and environmental issues are considered from an understanding of the chemistry involved, for example, the destroying of the ozone layer and problems associated with the extraction of metals.
The A2 course develops organic chemistry further and includes the chemistry involved in making dyes, explosives, plastics and man-made fibres. Rates of reactions and pH is approached from a mathematical point of view together with the reasons for why chemical reactions actually happen. Transition metal chemistry provides the opportunity for lots of very colourful experiments.
A-level Chemistry specification:
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
The school Moodle VLE, which students can access using their user name and password, contains resources from lessons, homework sheets, revision materials, and links to websites. All science courses can be found on the VLE and these resources are continually updated.
Helsby High School is a Specialist Science Collegeand we offer a wide range of project work, competitions and enrichment activities. There are opportunities for students to participate in a national schemes such as CREST Awards, the Young Analyst competition, Science Olympiads, Nuffield Bursaries, GO4SET and the Engineering Education Scheme.
Sixth form students visit workplaces such as INEOS Fluor, Shell and Ball packaging to see the links between science-based industries and the curriculum. They also have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork visits to Chester Zoo, Alton Towers and Anglesey.
- Extra-Curricular Opportunities in A-Level Sciences (Adobe PDF Document)
Head of Department:
- Mr M Wise (Head of Science)
- Mrs E Cullen (Head of Chemistry)
- Mrs K Brown (Head of Physics)
- Mrs H Darlington (acting Head of Biology)
- Mrs J Morris
- Mr S Jankowski
- Mrs A James
- Mr T Shipley
- Dr M Ravetz
- Dr R Parkes
- Mrs J Robinson
- Miss E Waite
- Mrs L Crimp
- Mr J Dowler
- Dr G Clarke