What is Science at GCSE?
Science at GCSE level builds on the knowledge and skills that have developed during Key Stage 3. GCSE aims to further develop students’ knowledge and understanding of scientific theories, but also their ability to apply that knowledge, analyse and evaluate information, in practical and everyday scenarios. It gives students good life skills, regardless of the path they follow.
The GCSE qualifications are assessed through external examinations that take place in May/June of Year 11. There are no coursework units in Science. Practical work is still a very important part of the Science GCSEs, not only to consolidate learning, but also, to develop skills in planning, analysing and evaluating. These skills will be assessed as part of the written examinations at the end of the course.
Routes through Science
For the majority of students there are two main routes to Science GCSEs, either a two-GCSE Combined Science, or a three-GCSE Separate Science route (consisting of Biology, Chemistry and Physics). A small number of students may follow the Level 1 Entry Level Science qualification coupled, where appropriate, with dual entry to either GCSE in Biology or combined Science.
This is a two-GCSE sized (double award) qualification covering the three science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students are awarded a grade based on their combined performance across these three disciplines. Combined Science students will sit six exams at the end of the course. All exams are 1 hour 10 minutes, and each exam will cover half of the content for that discipline. There will be Standard tier and Higher tier papers available.
Separate (Triple) Sciences
Students in the top group in each year half will be taught the three separate Science GCSE specifications. Triple Science will not be in the option blocking. Students will be selected for this course based on their previous achievement, aptitude and attitude to Science. The teaching staff will make a professional judgement as to the suitability of students who wish to complete the more demanding Triple Science course. Students undertaking Triple Science will be expected to complete at least one Science A Level at Post 16. Separate Science students will sit six, 1hr 45 minutes exams at the end of their course.
Entry Level Science
Entry Level Science is a foundation course allowing students to build their skills and understanding through a more informal internal assessment route. There are no terminal exam for this course and the students will sit internal tests throughout the course to demonstrate their understanding. In year 11 the students, where possible, will complete a single GCSE in Biology or be entered for combined Science (worth 2 GCSEs) alongside their Entry Level studies. Suitability of students for the Entry Level course will be made by the professional judgement of the teaching staff.
Progression to Post 16
The Science faculty currently offers AS and A Level qualifications in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.