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The North School


Subject Overview

Medicine, communication, space travel, power generation, material development, transport and pretty much every other aspect of our lives has been guided by science. Many of the things we take for granted have not been around for very long and the pace of change is now getting even faster. This is all down to science.

Science is all about possibilities and asking the right questions to lead us one step further down the road to progress.  Nothing is impossible. Given enough time and thoughts, answers to the most complex questions will reveal themselves.

The future is not set. All it takes is for one person to have what looks like a mad idea with the perseverance to see it through, and the future is brilliant. That person could be you.  An idea is all it takes!

“Science means constantly walking a tightrope between blind faith and curiosity; between expertise and creativity; between bias and openness; between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction - in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow” - Heinrich Rohrer


At The North School, we intend to provide the knowledge and skillset required to understand and investigate the processes of the world around us through the traditional disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. An understanding of scientific values and principles is fundamental for the future prosperity of both humans and the organisms around us.

We deliver a curriculum that provides learners with key knowledge and concepts, alongside the development of transferable scientific skills, and allows them to critically analyse both current scientific understanding and future global issues yet to be discovered.

Throughout the course students will continually build their understanding of core content, natural processes, and the accumulated knowledge generated by scientists throughout the years to enrich their own appreciation and enthusiasm for the planet we live on. We aim to encourage students to work collaboratively, understanding that Scientists at all levels learn to expect the unexpected, and rigorously examine the results of all they do and all others do; without that scrutiny there can be no progress.


Students in Year 7 and 8 follow the National Curriculum by completing the Exploring Science scheme of work. They will study a range of units from the three aspects of Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics):

Year 7

Year 8

Cell, Tissue and Organs and Organs System

Plants and their Reproduction & Plant Growth

Sexual Reproduction & Genetics

Muscles and Bones


Breathing and Respiration

Food and Nutrition

Unicellular Organisms

Mixtures and Separation


Acids and Alkalis


The Particle Model

Metals and their Uses

Atoms, Elements and Molecules


Energy and Energy Transfers


Current and Electricity



Earth and Space


Making Materials


Within these topics students will access a range of multisensory lessons. In these lessons they develop practical skills which can be transferred into other areas of the school curriculum and indeed their life outside of education.

Alongside the Exploring Science scheme of work Year 7 students have the opportunity to engage in a range of additional learning opportunities. These include completing tasks on our working farm and undertaking cross curricular or STEM projects. 

Assessment: students in Year 7 and 8 are assessed at the end of each topic by a formal written assessment. These assessments have been adapted to fit in with the new 9-1 GCSE grading system. Students will also sit Trust mocks and end of year reviews.


Year 7 students will complete three homework projects set throughout the year. The project will last two weeks and will contain a variety of tasks to suit all learners’ needs and ability.

Year 8 will have one piece of homework set per week. This will be based on the topic that they are studying.


Students in year 10 and 11 follow the AQA trilogy combined specification (download here) which accounts for two GCSEs and covers all three areas of science (biology, chemistry and physics). As well as scientific theory, an emphasis is placed on scientific investigation skills. Students are required to recall the physics equations and to be able to recall and use in unfamiliar contexts the required practicals done in class.

Students are expected to complete 1 to 2 pieces of homework a week, attend weekly OSL and revise independently. We will provide students with the opportunity of purchasing a revision guide early in their GCSE study.



Biology A’ level is an intense and stimulating study of various topics including Genetics, Cell structure and Ecosystems. This is a two year course. You can find all the course details and specification on the AQA website (download here).

The course includes various practical assessments. These are examined with the end of year final exams. A separate endorsement of practical skills will be issued as well as the A-level.  This is assessed by teachers and will be based on direct observation of student’s competency in a range of skills.

Students require a minimum of five 9-4 grades at GCSE, including English and Maths at level 6. Science entry is a level 7.

A ‘level Biology study can lead to careers such as a Doctor, Research Scientist, Teaching or Veterinary practices.


AS Biology :

1.Biological molecules


3.Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4.Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

A-level Biology:

5.Energy transfers in and between organisms

6.Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

7.Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

8.The control of gene expression


BTEC L3 National Diploma in APPLIED SCIENCE

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Applied Science (download specification here) ​is equivalent in size to 2 A level qualifications. It is an ideal qualification to take where applied science is the main interest of the student and in order to progress to a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma, or alternatively to a full degree, if taken with another level 3 qualification.

The applied science sector is diverse and wide-ranging, including, for example, biomedical, forensic, physical and chemical sciences. There are approximately 5.8 million people employed in science ­related occupations in the UK. This equates to approximately 20% of the workforce.

The applied science sector has a crucial role to play in delivering economic growth in the UK and allowing companies to compete in a rapidly enlarging global market.

The content of this qualification has been developed in consultation with academics to ensure that it supports progression to higher education. In addition, employers and professional bodies have been involved, in order to confirm that the content is also appropriate and consistent with current practice.

Everyone taking this qualification will study six mandatory units:

  • Principles and Application of Science I
  • Science Investigation Skills
  • Principles and Application of Science II
  • Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques
  • Laboratory Techniques and their Application
  • Investigative Project.

Students choose two option units from a group, which has been designed to support progression to the range of sector ­related courses in HE and to link with relevant occupational areas.  At present we have selected two units from:

  • Physiology of human body systems
  • Human regulation and reproduction.

It is expected that students will complete a lot of work independently as it cannot be expected to achieve 2 A level qualifications, in the time normally taken for 1, without complete dedication from our students. The course is comprised of externally set exams and internally set coursework.

How will you be assessed in Year 1?

  • Unit 1 –Externally set exam.
  • Unit 2 – Coursework
  • Unit 3 –External practical and exam
  • Unit 8- Coursework

How will you be assessed in Year 2?

  • Unit 5- Externally set exam
  • Unit 4- Coursework
  • Unit 6- Project
  • Unit 9- Coursework

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities

Good Science GCSEs are an essential stepping-stone to many college and university qualification. Whether or not you are planning to have a career in science, Studying Science teaches many skills that are transferrable to all sorts of degrees and careers.

From medicine to engineering, from farming to nanotechnology, from astrophysics to environmental studies, Science can open the doors to a wide range of exciting opportunities and careers.

Animal Care

Animal care is a vital sub-sector within the land-based industry and is integral to the development of the UK economy. These courses allow learners to study the fundamental knowledge and principles associated with the health and welfare needs of animals and livestock. Animal Care qualifications can lead to jobs in the animal care sector such as vet nursing, animal rescue, farm work, zoo work and many more.

Practical tasks are undertaken on our school farm where we have cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, poultry and a cat. All aspects of health, care and well-being are covered and students are able to join our Young Farmers Club to increase their practical skills further.


Animal Care is a choice for the wider curriculum in year 9, introducing topics such as animal welfare and animal handling. Theory work is completed alongside practical tasks. These tasks include learning how to correctly handle a range of animals, large and small, and how to use handling equipment. The work completed during these lessons underpins the knowledge required for the BTEC qualification that can be taken at KS4.


We offer the Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Animal Care, which consists of 4 units.

Unit 1 - Animal Health

This unit covers aspects of animal health and behaviour, including parasites, common diseases and signs of good and ill health. Animal health is an exam unit. The exam is generally sat in year 11.

Unit 2 – Animal Handling

This unit covers methods used to handle a range of animals and the handling equipment required for this. It also covers health and safety when working in an animal care environment.

Unit 3 – Animal Welfare

This unit covers the legislation around animal welfare and encourages responsible animal ownership. It also explores the roles and missions of animal charities and their place within the animal care industry.

Unit 4 – Animal Accommodation

This unit explores the suitability of housing and bedding for different animals. It looks at the considerations to be made when selecting an animal and its housing needs. Students get the opportunity to set up and maintain a range of accommodation on the farm.


We offer the Pearson Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Animal Management. This qualification is equivalent to 1 ½ A Levels when complete.

The units are

Unit 2 - Animal Biology

Unit 3 – Animal Welfare and Ethics

Unit 4 – Practical Animal husbandry

Unit 5 – Animal Behaviour

Unit 6 – Animal Health and Diseases

Unit 7 – Work Experience in the Animal Sector

Unit 19 – Farm Livestock Husbandry

Animal Biology is assessed by exam and Welfare and Ethics is assessed by a synoptic assessment, which is a timed scenario exercise that some research can be taken into.

150 hours of work experience is completed during the course and students will be supported to find a suitable placement in the animal care industry.

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities

Following completion of the Animal Care courses, there are opportunities in Higher Education in Animal Management, Conservation, Agriculture and other land based subjects. There are many apprenticeship opportunities in the industry and a wide range of careers such as within the RSPCA, vet practices, farms and animal welfare charities.