“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated” – Rosalind Franklin


Department vision:

A curriculum that strives to inform, enthuse and equip pupils with a wealth of knowledge that will inspire a life-long learning of science.

Intent: The Big Ideas in Science at AHS

At Atherton we aim to foster an enquiring mind and provide students with the skills needed to understand the world around them. We cannot predict what the future will bring for our pupils, but the curriculum is designed to teach pupils to evaluate evidence, form reasoned opinions based on evidence and make informed ethical decisions that are becoming ever more prevalent in today’s technological world. Whatever the future dictates in the lifetime of our pupils, whether it be climate change, genetic technologies, immunology, artificial intelligence, or some, as yet, unknown scientific concern, the skills and understanding developed through our science curriculum will provide a solid base for our pupils to evaluate evidence and provide solutions.

The design of the science curriculum follows the National Curriculum for KS3 and KS4. It is taught through the development of 5 Big Ideas:

  1. Cells – to know the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs, and how they work together in an organ system.
  2. Interdependence – to know how the distribution and abundance of organisms can affected in an ecosystem.
  3. Matter – to understand how the properties of a substance are affected by the structure and arrangement of the atoms that make up the elements and compounds, and how they interact during reactions.
  4. Energy – to understand how energy flows through a system and how energy can be quantified and calculated.
  5. Forces – to know how forces can affect the shape, speed and direction of an object and relate these to Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion.


At GCSE students follow the AQA Combined Science Trilogy specification. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught in distinct units, that are interwoven to allow pupils to make links between the disciplines. Pupils study 7 Biology, 10 Chemistry and 7 Physics units across Year 10 and 11 and will sit 6 exams at the end of Year 11.

Biology Paper 1:

  • Cell Biology
  • Organisation
  • Infection and Response
  • Bioenergetics

Biology Paper 2:

  • Homeostasis
  • Variation, Inheritance and Evolution
  • Ecology

Chemistry Paper 1

  • Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
  • Structure, Bonding and Properties of Materials
  • Quantitative Chemistry
  • Chemical Changes
  • Energy Changes

Chemistry Paper 2

  • Rates and Extent of Chemical Reactions
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Chemical Analysis
  • Chemistry of the Atmosphere
  • Using Resources

Physics Paper 1:

  • Energy
  • Electricity
  • Particle Models of Matter
  • Atomic Structure

Physics Paper 2:

  • Forces
  • Waves
  • Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Pupils will also study 21 required practicals across all three disciplines that will make up 15% of the overall grade in the terminal assessments.

STEM Club:

Pupils of all year groups can attend the STEM club as part of the school’s enrichment offer. The club provides pupils an opportunity to nurture their inquisitive and scientific mind, to consider how scientists develop new ideas and to ask questions. Pupils that attend the STEM are also provided the opportunity to explore the links between the STEM subjects and develop problem solving and teamwork skills.

Knowledge Organisers – Autumn Term

Learning Journeys 2022 – 2023

“Science is not just a subject in our school, science is life. It’s the understanding and observation everything, from the smallest bacteria to the biggest black hole. Anytime you have been curious about anything in the world around us, that’s science”

Mr Brown