Science at Sir Thomas Rich's

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
-- Carl Sagan
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
-- Albert Einstein

Studying Science is learning how the physical world works and trying to improve our understanding of it. The fundamental skills are observation, measuring and making hypotheses. At STRS an emphasis is placed on practical work, which is essential for both understanding the content of Science and how to work scientifically.

In Year 7, pupils follow a general Science course. In subsequent years, separate sciences are studied, unless students specifically opt for Double Science in Year 10. (See Key Stage 4)

Key Stage 3 - Year 7

Teaching Arrangements: 4 periods per week in Year 7, usually one double period and two single periods
Homework Guidance: One homework is set per week in accordance with the Y7 homework timetable.
Typical examples of homework in Year 7 include: writing up an experiment, plotting a graph, researching ideas partly explored in class, or answering questions set.
Pupils are expected to spend approximately ½ hour each week completing homework at home.
Assessment Arrangements: A formal test is taken at the end of each topic in Year 7 Science. One homework is normally allocated to allow students to revise for this test. Students are awarded an STRS level, ranging from 1 to 5, based on this test.
An alternative test format, called a ‘Level Assessed Task’ is sometimes used to assess a particular small area of knowledge, for example the adaptations of living things to their environment. This is always a one-off task.
In addition, pupils are assessed informally during every lesson by their teacher based on informal conversation, practical work and written work.
Topics Covered:
Year 7
  • Introduction to Science – safety and measurement
  • Moving particles
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Variety of life and cells
  • Energy
  • Dissolving and separating mixtures
  • Forces and density
  • Classification, feeding relationships and ecology

In Year 7, all pupils at STRS follow a general Science course, consisting of roughly equal amounts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The course provides a solid foundation for the study of Science, equipping pupils with the skills and knowledge to develop the subject further in their separate Science lessons in Years 8 and 9. There is an emphasis on practical laboratory-based work, as this is fundamental to understanding the way Science works.
In Years 8 and 9, all pupils study Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately.

Teaching Arrangements: Year 10 – 5 periods a week with two teachers
Year 11 – 8 periods a week with two teachers
Homework Guidance: Two pieces of homework are set each week, one from each teacher
Assessment Arrangements: COURSEWORK
There is no coursework in the AQA Science specification.
Practical assessment – there are 21 required practical experiments, which all students must take. These are tested by written questions in the final examination, although it is not necessary to treat each practical as a competency test that must be passed.
2 Biology papers each of 1 hr 15 minutes, testing topics 1-4 and 5-7
2 Chemistry papers each of 1 hr 15 minutes, testing topics 8-12 and 13-17
2 Physics papers each of 1 hr 15 minutes, testing topics 18-21 and 22-24

Candidates will receive two GCSE grades as a result of this course. Candidates’ grades are either two GCSE grades of the same level (e.g. 8/8 or 7/7) or two consecutive levels (e.g. 8/7 or 7/6).
Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • Biology:
    • Cell biology
    • Organisation
    • Infection and response
    • Bioenergetics
  • Chemistry:
    • Atomic structure and the periodic table
    • Bonding, structure and the properties of matter
    • Quantitative chemistry
    • Chemical changes
    • Energy changes
  • Physics:
    • Energy
    • Electricity
    • Particle model of matter
    • Atomic structure
Year 11
N/A till 2018

At Key Stage 4, students are given the choice between continuing to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects (Triple Science) and taking a reduced course in all three sciences, leading to two GCSE grades in Science (Double Science). At STRS, the overwhelming majority of our students opt for separate sciences.
However, we recognise that a number of students wish to develop their talents and interests in many other subjects. Therefore, we offer Double Science as a means of increasing the number of other options available at GCSE from four to five subjects. Currently, about 10 students take Double Science in Year 10 and none in Year 11. Academically, this course is as demanding as separate sciences, although it covers a narrower range of topics. Therefore, we advise anyone considering pursuing A level sciences to choose separate sciences at GCSE, as these courses provide a broader and more secure knowledge base, from which to tackle A level sciences.