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What is Science?

The Latin word scīre, meaning “to know” or “to understand,” gives us the root sci. Words from the Latin scīre have something to do with knowing or understanding. Science is the understanding of the world and how everything in it works. A person’s conscience is the knowledge of right and wrong and the feeling that he or she should do right.

The Science team at DESC love to inspire young adults to find out how everything in the world works! We aim to share our love of the subject across all three Key Stages and open as many doorways into Science fields as possible for our students.

Key Stage 3

Year Subjects covered
7Students study 9 key sections of Science broken into 6 topics during the course of the year.

• ER – Organisms, Ecosystems and Genes
• Skywalker – Forces and Space
• Spark – Electricity and Magnetism
• Forensics – Matter and Reactions
• Fire and Ice – Energy and Matter
• Extinct – Earth and Ecosystems

All topics are delivered through real life applications and are context driven. Students have a wide range of opportunities to develop their analysis and investigation skills during each topic.
8Building on what they have learnt during Year 7, students study 10 key sections of Science broken into 5 topics during the course of the year. Students will also complete a STEAM project that is based around F1 in Schools.

• Live and Kicking – Organisms and Ecosystems
• Rocks Rock – Earth
• Pyrotechnics – Matter and Reactions
• NviZ – Earth and Energy
• Studio Magic - Waves

F1 in schools is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) project taught over seven weeks in Science. It is an amazing opportunity to build life skills such as team leadership, management, reflection and evaluation skills. Students are introduced to subjects they would not normally encounter until GCSE or A Level such as Business and Economics. These supporting departments have designed lessons on budgeting, interview skills and application writing. There are a wide range of literacy skills developed through presenting a portfolio, public speaking and other presentations.

The science taught through the unit includes aerodynamics, forces, speed, resistance, investigation planning and evaluation, data collection and analysis. Technology lessons introduce all of the students to Computer Aided Design; students experience Engineering and Maths whilst designing the cars, testing them through simulations and altering the specifications, all whilst remaining within manufacturing guidelines. Students decide on roles within their teams; helped by a mini careers morning when local universities come in and share information on each of the job specifications and requirements. There are project managers, graphic designers, manufacturing engineers, resource managers and design engineers. The teams work in specialist groups and then come together each week to share their progress and collaborate. Students prepare presentations, complete car designs, test them, design pit displays, uniforms, budgets, portfolios and logos. Winning teams will be selected to move forward and develop their ideas further in an ECA and hopefully make it to the regional, and maybe even, international competitions.

All topics are delivered through real life applications and are context driven. Students have a wide range of opportunities to develop their analysis and investigation skills during each topic.
9Continuing to build on the content covered in Years 7 and Year 8, students will study 3 topics:

• Biology – Genes
• Chemistry – Reactions and Earth
• Physics – Forces and Energy

Students will continue to develop their analysis and investigation skills during each topic.

In term 2 students will prepare for the start of the GCSE course by completing a topic called Bridge the Gap through which they will cover:

• Maths in Science
• Maths and SWEATY in Science
• Practical Skills in Science

At the end of January, Year 9 will start the AQA GCSE Science Biology course covering specification Points - and -

In term 3, the Year 9 students will complete two further GCSE topics. One in Chemistry covering specification points 4.1.1 – and another in Physics covering specification points -

Assessment Information

At the end of each topic in KS3, students sit a 30-45 minute assessment developed using SATs-style questions. At an appropriate point during each topic, they will complete a skills based assessment.

Key Stage 4 AQA Science

TermYear 10Year 11
1Cell biology
Atomic structure and the periodic table
Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
The rate and extent of chemical change
Organic chemistry
2Infection and response
Atomic structure and nuclear physics
Particle model of matter
Quantitative chemistry
Chemical changes
Variation and evolution
Chemical analysis
Space Physics
3Homeostasis and response
Energy changes
Using resources
Chemistry of the atmosphere
Forces and Motion

Assessment Information

Students are given the option of following the Separate Science route, or the Combined Trilogy course. This decision is made in Term 2 of Year 10. This qualification is linear which means that students will sit all their examinations at the end of the course in Year 11.

Details of the specification for each option can be found below: 

Key Stage 5 Biology

TermYear 12Year 13
1• Biological Molecules- including Carbohydrates, proteins, enzymes
• Organisms exchange substances with their environment
• Cells - including the structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes
• Energy transfers in and between organisms- photosynthesis, respiration, energy transfer and nutrient cycles
• Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments –responding to stimulus, the nervous system, muscles and homeostasis
2Cells - cell recognition and the immune system

• Genetic information and variation - DNA and protein synthesis
Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

• The control of gene expression– including transcription, translation
3Relationships between organisms - genetic diversity and adaptation

• Exam preparation
The control of gene expression–genetic technology

• Exam Preparation

Assessment Information

NameAssessment TypeWeightingNameAssessment TypeWeighting
Paper 1
Topics 1-4
(1 hr 30 min)
50% ASPaper 1
Topics 1-4
Exam (2hr)35% A2
Paper 2
Topics 1-4
(1 hr 30 min)
50% ASPaper 2
Topics 5-8
Exam (2hr)35% A2
Paper 3
Topics 1-8
Exam30% A2

Useful Links

Key Stage 5 Chemistry

TermYear 12Year 13
1Physical Chemistry:

• Atomic structure
• Amount of substance
• Bonding
• Energetics
• Kinetics
• Chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc
• Oxidation, reduction and redox equations
Physical Chemistry:

• Thermodynamics
• Rate equations
• Equilibrium constant Kp for homogeneous systems
• Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells
• Acids and bases
2Inorganic Chemistry:

• Periodicity
• Group 2, the alkaline earth metals
• Group 7(17), the halogens
Inorganic Chemistry:

• Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides
• Transition metals
• Reactions of ions in aqueous solution
3Organic Chemistry:

• Introduction to organic chemistry
• Alkanes
• Halogenoalkanes
• Alkenes
• Alcohols
• Organic analysis
Organic Chemistry:

• Optical isomerism
• Aldehydes and ketones
• Carboxylic acids and derivatives
• Aromatic chemistry
• Amines
• Polymers
• Amino acids, proteins and DNA
• Organic synthesis
• Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
• Chromatography

Assessment Information

In AS Chemistry there is 2 papers each worth 50%. Each paper has 65 marks on long answer questions and 15 marks on multiple choice questions.

In A2 Chemistry, there is 3 papers (35%, 35% and 30%). They are made up of long answer questions and multiple choice questions.

At least 20% of the marks in assessments for Chemistry will require the use of mathematical skills. These skills will be applied in the context of Chemistry and will be at least the standard of higher tier GCSE Mathematics.

15% of the marks in the papers will relate to practical work. There are 6 required practicals in each year and attendance of each practical is compulsory to gain the practical endorsement for the course.

Useful Links

Key Stage 5 Physics

TermYear 12Year 13
1Measurements and their errors
Waves and Electricity
Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics
Nuclear Physics
2Mechanics and MaterialsField and their Consequences
3Particles and RadiationAstrophysics

Assessment Information

NameAssessment TypeWeightingNameAssessment TypeWeightingExam Length
AS Paper 1
50% ASA2 Paper 1
Exam34% A22 hrs
AS Paper 2

50% ASA2 Paper 2Exam34% A22 hrs
A2 Paper 3Exam33% A22 hrs

Useful Links