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 are encouraged to work both independently and in group work.

Winners of the People’s Choice Award for Go4SET project 2018

Assessments take place at the end of each unit and there is an end of year exam in May. The following resources will help students to prepare independently for these assessments:

click on the REMOTE tab at the top of the screen

This takes you to a menu for accessing various resources:

RM Portico, log on with network username and password, click on RMShared then click on the Science folder then click on KS3 revision for:

– end of unit revision summaries

– past paper questions and mark schemes


Students should have been given a login to use this:

Click on Science then resources then KS3 Science

– there a lots of activities to try on each unit

Students may also find BBC Bitesize KS3 Science useful

Skills and Knowledge Checklist

Key Stage 4

GCSE Sciences

It is important for students to engage with the scientific and technological aspects of the world around them, develop curiosity about the natural world, insight into how science works, and appreciation of its relevance to their everyday lives. Science is a compulsory GCSE subject and students will be inspired, motivated and challenged by the subject matter and its achievements. Courses will provide a firm foundation for further study or employment in STEM related subjects.

Students who particularly enjoy science, including those students who have already decided that they will want to study A-level Sciences, can opt for Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects, where each subject is graded separately at the end of year 11. All other students take Combined Science where they combine the results of the three subjects and will be awarded two GCSE grades at the end of year 11. The majority of subject content is common to both routes of study, so that pupils can continue with further study at A-level no matter which route they have followed. All students have Biology, Chemistry and Physics lessons delivered by specialist science teachers.

What you will study

The subject content features many of the major theories of science in a way that encourages students to appreciate their importance to everyday life. They explore how scientific information is obtained, how reliable it is, what its limitations are and how this information helps society to make important decisions. They will also explore scientific concepts and develop understanding of scientific ideas through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

How it is assessed

Assessments will all be at the end of the course through exams in the summer of Year 11. All students will sit six exam papers with a total assessment time of seven hours for Combined Science (Double Award) and three and a half hours for each of the separate sciences. Students will complete experiments specified by the exam board. The skills students gain from their practical work will be assessed in the written exam papers.

GCSE Biology

GCSE Chemistry

GCSE Physics

GCSE Combined Science

Key Stage 5

A-Level Physics

Studying Physics at A level allows students to develop their understanding of key Physics principles in a range of interesting contexts. Students will have already come across some of the concepts of physics at GCSE: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism. At A-level they develop their understanding of how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies.


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. Visits to workshops and lectures take place to give students the opportunity to see first-hand some of the applications of the physics they are studying and to hear about the latest discoveries from leading researchers in the field.


Assessment is by exams at the end of the first year to achieve an AS grade, or alternatively at the end of the second year to achieve the full A level. Students’ practical sessions during the course are assessed towards receiving the practical endorsement awarded at the end of the A level course.

A-level Physics specification:

Careers Information:

A Level Biology


Do you want to learn about the battle between bacteria and our bodies. Do you want to understand the science behind paternity tests on Jeremy Kyle. Would you like to know why you see stars when you rub your eyes. Then Biology is the subject for you.

Where Biology could lead students
Students with an A-level in Biology typically go on to work in a diverse variety of fields. As well as expected careers such as Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Veterinary science; Biology also allows for careers in the Environment (eg Marine Biology), Technology (Genetics), Sports (Physiotherapy) and Forensics.

Course content

Year 12 will cover:

  • Biological molecules;
  • Cells;
  • How organisms exchange substances with their environment;
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.

Year 13 will cover:

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms;
  • Organisms respond to changes in their environment;
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems;
  • The control of gene expression.

How is the course examined?

3 Terminal papers

Paper 1 – Primarily Year 12 work. 2 hours, 91 marks, 35% of A-Level.
Paper 2 – Primarily Year 13 work. 2 hours, 91 marks, 35% of A-Level.
Paper 3 – Contains content from Y12 & 13, and application of practical skills gained in Years 12 and 13. An essay is also part of the examination. 2 hours, 78 marks, 30% of A-Level.

12 Required Practicals –These practicals will give you the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way living things behave and work. It will also ensure that if you choose to study a Biology-based subject at university, you’ll have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments in your degree.

A-level Biology specification:

Further information regarding the course, including past papers and mark-schemes can be found at:

Who will teach you?

2 of the following:

Mr Strowbridge (Department leader) – Over 15 years experience teaching A-Level Biology, has examined for a number of Exam boards at GCSE and A-Level.
Mr Jankowski – 18 years experience in teaching A-Level Biology, and a passion for outdoor education and fieldwork.
Dr R Parkes – Degree in Zoology, Ph.D in behavioural physiology. Running practicals for university undergraduates. Animal Welfare officer. 8 years teaching A-level Biology.
Mrs S Warburton – Has taught A Level Biology for 23 years. Has a degree in Biology with specialist areas of molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Enrichment and extra-curricular activities

We run an annual Biology trip to Anglesey where students get to monitor environmental conditions, and how they affect the distribution of organisms. Students also get first hand experience of a variety of fieldwork techniques.

We run an after school session where practising scientists come into the school and discuss their work with the students.

Student comments

‘I stayed at Helsby because I know the school and the teachers and felt comfortable here. I like the smaller class sizes and support you get from teachers. I chose A Level Biology because it was one of my favourite GCSE subjects.’
Darcie W

‘I chose to stay at Helsby because I’ve built a relationship with the teachers over 5 years; they know me and my learning styles well, and I know I can approach them. They give so much support, and the smaller classes mean lessons are much more personal. I chose to study biology at A Level because it was my favourite subject at GCSE and I love the systematic processes and principles the subject covers.’
Niamh W

Typical class size

With class sizes typically around 12 students, staff get the opportunity to get to know students, and as a result offer a much more personalised in class experience. We can also provide tailored support to really support learning.

A-Level Chemistry

“If you enjoy GCSE Chemistry then you will enjoy A Level even more”

Do you want to learn about the relevance of Chemistry in everyday life?

You will complete a large number of practical activities to develop a wide range practical skills including analysis by titration, making aspirin and an anti-coagulant drug as well a designing experiments to investigate Kinetics and Thermodynamics. The theoretical aspects of the course allow you to study ideas and concepts in more depth from GCSE.

What will I be studying?

Year 12 will cover…

Physical Chemistry – eg atomic structure, bonding, kinetics, equilibria.

Inorganic Chemistry – eg. Group 2 & Group , periodicity

Organic Chemistry – eg alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, halogenoalkanes.

Year 13 will cover…

Physical Chemistry – eg thermodynamics, electrode potentials.

Inorganic Chemistry – eg. Period 3, transition metals

Organic Chemistry – eg Carbonyl group, biological molecules.

Practical Endorsement – ‘Chemistry is a practical subject’.                     

The theoretical aspects of the course are supplemented by a large number of practical activities 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 and explains why different materials behave in certain ways, for example why flubber has its unique properties.

Students complete 12 required practical activities to assess their practical skills and knowledge during the course. Students receive the practical endorsement certificate at the end of the 2 year A level course.


Paper 1, Paper 2 & Paper 3 will be taken at the end of Year 2 and will be the assessment for the A-level.

The exams will test content from both Year 1 & Year 2.

A2 Assessment

Typical Class Sizes.

Class sizes are 10-15 students, which allows for practical work to be carried out individually rather than in pairs or groups; this allows more in depth development of practical skills. Allows more individual support by the teacher in lessons. Smaller class sizes enable a positive environment where students feel comfortable enough to ask questions and make progress at a pace appropriate for them.

Extra-curricular activities…

• Chemistry in Action Seminars

  • Merseyside Young Analyst Competition
  • Chemistry Olympiad
  • Spectroscopy in a suitcase
  • Pharmaceutical Days at Universities

Where could Chemistry lead you?

Students with an A-level in Chemistry typically go on to study medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and engineering; as well as chemistry and natural sciences. Environmental science, materials science and geology have also been popular choices. Some students have gone onto apprenticeship schemes such as engineering, business management or accountancy.

Student comments.

Adam Year 3 – ‘In Chemistry we get to carry out practical activities individually or in pairs which allows us to really improve our skills.’
Emily Year 13 – ‘the individual feedback and support we get from our teachers allows us to constantly improve’
Rhoads Year 13 – ‘Helsby high has given me the chance to compete against other schools in Liverpool, where I got to apply my knowledge of chemistry to make interesting real life conclusions’

A-level Chemistry specification:

Support available.

  • Handbook and practical techniques booklets.
  • Drop in sessions at lunchtimes.
  • RM Portico resources to help with revision techniques / past paper questions.
  • SKIL and revision sessions.

Career Guidance.

Wider Reading 

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Online resources are available via the school website by clicking on the Remote tab of the menu bar on the home page. Doddle contains a range of tasks to support learning of the essential points. RM Portico, accessible via the school website, gives access to the school network drive and the RMShared / Science folder for lesson resources, revision material and past exam papers.

STEM opportunities

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 Chlor to see the links between science-based industries and the curriculum. They also have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork visits as part of their studies, e.g. to Daresbury laboratories and Anglesey.

Department Staff

Mr M Wise – Department Leader for Science,
Mrs K Brown
Mr A Strowbridge – Department Leader for Biology
Mrs E Dawson – Department Leader for Chemistry
Mrs A James
Mr S Jankowski
Dr R Parkes
Dr M Ravetz
Mrs J Robinson – Sixth Form Year Leader
Mr T Shipley – KS3 Science Co-ordinator
Mrs S Warburton – Deputy Head teacher
Mr R Whelan – Department Leader for Physics
Dr A Pritchard-Roberts – Assistant Head teacher