The Science curriculum at Hele’s aims to establish an interest and better understanding of the world in which we live, through interactive learning.

Students across all year groups participate in a large number of practical activities to enable them to further their understanding of “How Science Works”. We have a team of specialist staff that enable learners to access many different aspects of Science. At Key Stage 3 Students experience a wide breadth of Science, building up their knowledge in preparation for the next Key Stage. Key Stage 4 students follow either the Triple Science pathway (AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics), AQA Core Science (Year 10) and Additional Science (Year 11) or Core Science over a two year period. In the Sixth Form, students can study either: Biology (OCR), Chemistry (OCR Salters) or Physics (Edexcel).

Science is very popular at Hele’s School. The skills and knowledge learnt in KS3 provide a smooth transition and an excellent foundation for studying Science at GCSE level and beyond. Our aim is to help students develop intellectual independence and critical scientific literacy to enable them to make informed decisions about economic and social needs, environmental degradation, health issues, careers, ultimately improving the quality of life and environment.

Plenty of opportunities are provided to minimise/eliminate the biased view of science being abstract and boring without any currency outside the context of School, and students learn to appreciate that Science does have a specific bearing on their lives. Teachers create a safe but stimulating and exciting learning environment with high expectations, where students are actively involved, engaged and appropriately challenged. Students are encouraged to develop an enquiring mind, and communicate and apply their knowledge and skills in real life context infused with human and environmental issues.

Year 7

Students in year 7 are taught in mixed-ability groups.

Year 7 students are following the new National Curriculum programme of study. The main areas studied are as follows:

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  • Science Skills
  • Cells, tissues, organs and systems
  • Sexual reproduction in animals
  • Muscles and bones
  • Ecosystems
  • Mixtures and separation
  • Acids and alkalis
  • The particle model
  • Atoms, elements and compounds
  • Energy
  • Current electricity
  • Forces
  • Sound
  • Space

During year 7, much emphasis is placed on establishing safe practice and developing positive learning habits: striving for accuracy; applying past knowledge to new situations; persisting; creating, imagining and innovating; and questioning and problem solving. Students will also acquire knowledge of important scientific principles, and practical science skills through enquiry-based learning, experiments and exploration.

Year 8

Students in year 8 are set based on their performance in year 7.

Year 8 students are following the old National Curriculum programme of study, supplemented by elements from the new curriculum. The main areas studied are as follows:

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  • Nutrition and digestion
  • Respiration
  • Microbes
  • Ecological relationships
  • Pure and impure substances
  • Rocks and weathering
  • Heating and cooling
  • Magnets and electromagnets
  • Light
  • Sound

Year 8 students will further develop learning habits established in year 7, as well as advancing their independent learning skills such as researching and presenting ideas to the whole class, data processing and analysis.

Year 9

Students in year 9 are set based on their performance in year 8.

Year 9 students are following the old National Curriculum programme of study, supplemented by elements from the new curriculum. The main areas studied are as follows:

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  • Plants and photosynthesis
  • Fit and healthy
  • Inheritance and selection
  • Metals and metal reactions
  • Gravity and space
  • Energy and electricity
  • Forces

Skills and knowledge attained makes year 9 an ideal preparation for Science at GCSE level. A very strong emphasis is placed on making sure students have acquired efficient and smart revision techniques, and established a positive learning disposition suitable for lifelong learning. Students will also further their practical investigative, data processing and analysis skills. Opportunities are provided to ensure students advance and expand their literacy skills, particularly question comprehension, techniques to tackle extended-answer questions, research projects and writing scientific reports.


Students’ progress is monitored and assessed regularly using end-of-topic assessments, internal exams in January and in the summer, as well as continuous formative assessment during lessons. Formative assessments may include presentations, models, practical, scientific reports, leaflets, debates etc. The January and summer internal exams are designed to prepare students for exam conditions experienced during GCSEs. Students in year 8 and 9 are re-set in February based on their end-of-topic results in the autumn term and their January exam result. Assessment data is regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure that activities are aligned with learning needs, students are set challenging targets, and attainment gaps are bridged at an early stage through appropriate intervention.

Extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities:

  • Year 7 trip to Paignton Zoo
  • Big Bang South West Fair
  • R.I.S.E. to the Challenge Club for Able, Gifted and Talented students
  • STEM Club
  • Animal Club
  • Gardening Club

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)

Opportunities are regularly provided to evaluate the everyday applications and implications of Science from a social, moral, cultural and spiritual perspective. KS3 topics such as cloning, genetic engineering, drugs, renewable energy, global warming, and evolution offer a good platform to explore and discuss beliefs, values, recognise right and wrong, investigate moral and ethical issues, consider and appreciate different viewpoints and cultural influences in Science.

Functional Skills

Functional skills are strongly embedded into day-to-day Science lessons at Hele’s School. Year 7 and 8 students are involved in the whole School initiative ‘DEAR’ (drop everything and read). DEAR aims to develop and further students’ literacy skills, including spelling, reading and comprehension. Scientific literacy, numeracy and ICT skills are strongly embedded into our KS3 curriculum, and are intrinsic part of day-to-day science lessons.

What is involved?

Hele’s School Science Department offers a suite of GCSE qualifications, all of which have a considerable emphasis on “How Science Works”. Students learn about how the underlying principles of each discipline relate to the world in which we live. Decisions regarding the most appropriate route students should take are made during the options consultation period and will be dependent upon commitment to learning, ability, intended Post 16 choices and preferred learning styles.

AQA Triple Science

This leads to three separate GCSE grades in each of the three Sciences; Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This pathway will consist of one ‘Option Choice’ as there are more lessons taught over the two years. All examinations are at the end of year 11. These courses offer students the opportunity to study all three Science subjects in depth and are excellent preparation for further study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics at A Level.

AQA Science – Core and Additional

This leads to two GCSE grades made up of CORE Science in year 10 and ADDITIONAL Science in year 11. A good pass (Grade B) would provide an excellent basis for further study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics at A Level. Some students may study Core Science over two years. This pathway is offered to some youngsters under the guidance of their teachers.

Ability, aptitude and Post 16 progression routes will all be carefully considered throughout year 10 (in consultation with staff, parents and students) so as to ensure that students are on the appropriate course to continue into year 11. Further information on each of the year 11 pathways will be published for parents at the appropriate time in year 10.

For more information please talk to a member of the Science Department

The Biology Course at Hele’s is the one offered by OCR and was selected as the most appropriate for our students.

To begin with you will take the Cells, Exchange and Transport module .This module is specifically designed to bridge the gap between GCSE’s and AS level. It is also shortened to allow students to take the Exam in January building marks towards their AS grade and reducing the Exam burden in the Summer.

The other AS module is Molecules, Biodiversity, Food and Health. This is a larger module and will be examined in June.

The work in Year 12 builds on GCSE work and generally focuses on the Human aspects that are the most popular with students. The OCR A level also gives a high profile to the applications of the subject.

The final module in Year 12 is the Coursework Component which is similar to the GCSE ‘ISA’ Coursework you are used to. In Year 12 we organise this as a three week block directly before the February holiday.

Year 13 has a very similar three module structure to the AS course although most students sit both exams in the summer. The topics covered include the traditional ones such as Photosynthesis and Respiration but also Communication, Ecology and Genetics. The papers in A2, however, are more synoptic in nature and rely on the application of the skills you have learnt throughout the course. Coursework is similar to AS i.e. similar to ISA’s but takes place throughout the year when appropriate.

A lot of thought has been put into making the course relevant and interesting to students. The trips we do every year are a fieldtrip to Wembury beach, a visit to the Electron Microscope Department at Plymouth University and the opportunity to watch an expert horse dissection at Dartmoor Zoo. In addition in the past we have visited Derriford Hospital, Paignton Zoo and the NM Aquarium Plymouth.

Staff involved in A level Biology are

Mr P Blake Coordinator of Biology
Ms K Nimmo Biology Teacher
Dr A Parker Biology Teacher
Mrs J Finlay Biology Technician



Provides all the information, specifications, access to past papers and some coursework guidance for the course. Some of the content is locked to students but you can still find out everything you need to know and lots of resources.

Other sites. Here are some other sites you might find useful. They all have further links as well.……0.0…1ac. (alternatively search The Khan Academy biology on youtube)

Chemistry in Hele’s is taught following a context-led approach that not only covers conceptually challenging ideas, but also emphasises their significance in the real world. This approach simultaneously enables students to learn the theories, laws and models of Chemistry, while underpinning their application in particular contexts. The course offered at Hele’s School is currently based on the OCR Salters A Level Chemistry course. Further details of the specification can be found on the OCR website using the links below.

Students planning to undertake the AS or A2 course will be provided with a ‘Head start to A-Level Chemistry’ book before the course begins. The course is supported by two textbooks, one covering the concepts required in the AS and A2 courses; the other focussing on the context. Both textbooks provide students with a detailed knowledge of the topics, and contain a range of questions for students to attempt at the end of each section. Students are also provided with a revision guide.


Provides all the information, specifications, access to past papers and some coursework guidance for the course. Much of the content is locked to students but you can still find out everything you need to know.

Royal Society of Chemistry
The RSC is the professional body for Chemistry, and this website offers resources, news, and information of upcoming events to stay in touch with the latest developments in the chemical sciences.

Chemistry Degree Courses
There are hundreds of Chemistry and related degree courses to choose from. This website gives insight into the different types of accredited courses on offer in the UK to help you make an informed decision.

ChemNet Membership for under 18s
Students studying Chemistry are eligible to apply for FREE membership of ChemNet – an invaluable resource for students beginning their career in Chemistry.

Join ChemNet for free and receive:

  • Support with homework and study
  • Advice with your next steps
  • Free student magazine

A useful revision website to support students in understanding complex ideas in Chemistry.

This website enables students to look up information for a given substance by name, formula or structure.

HD Video Version


  • Changes to Key Stage 5 Physics assessment will be introduced in September 2015. The coursework element will be removed.
  • AS level becomes a “stand alone” qualification.
  • Revised AS level is the same standard as current AS.
  • Students can still take AS level then go on to A level.
  • If students take AS level examinations, these marks DO NOT form part of overall A Level grade.
  • The A level grade is awarded for performance on A level papers only – these papers will integrate AS material.
  • Content of the courses will be similar to what is outlined below (with coursework removed).
  • At AS level students will sit two exams.
  • At A2 there will be three exams.
  • During the course students will carry out a number of compulsory practicals. Questions about these will be in one of the written exams.
  • Separate from their A2 or AS grade students will be awarded a pass or fail for their practical skills.

As a department we are currently looking closely at the new specifications from each exam board in order to make a decision as to which course our students should follow. Whatever our final decision, you can be assured that we will choose an exciting, challenging and rewarding option that gives our students the best opportunity to show what they are capable of.

Student Testimony:

“Physics at A level can be rather challenging at times, but equally as rewarding. The course allows many fundamental principles to be investigated both theoretically and practically, as well as establishing the link between these ideas and real world applications. Last year our class had the opportunity to visit CERN in Geneva which was one of the most valuable, unforgettable experiences of my life so far. “

Other opportunities:

CERN Visit: This visit to the particle accelerator (including the Large Hadron Collider) facility on the French-Swiss border takes place at the end of Year 12. As well as touring CERN, students also have the opportunity to visit the United Nations. Students who have been on the visit previously have returned brimming with enthusiasm and with an even greater desire to further their Physics studies.

Career Paths and Degree Courses:

As well as learning about how the universe works, you’ll get a broad training in skills that all employers value – an ability to grasp concepts quickly, a determination to find coherent answers, not to mention problem-solving, analytical, mathematical and IT skills.

Even if you don’t end up working in a physics-related industry, these skills are still highly regarded. Studying Physics is a good way of keeping your options open and earning a good salary.


Provides all the information, specifications, access to past papers and some coursework guidance for the course. Much of the content is locked to students but you can still find out everything you need to know.
Your guide to Physics on the web.

There are hundreds of physics and related degree courses in the UK and Ireland to choose from. Finding the right one for you can be daunting. This website gives detailed listings of the available courses to help you make an informed decision.

Aged between 16-19 and studying physics?

Join the Institute of Physics for free and receive:

  • Regular updates on what’s new in physics.
  • Exam and university guidance.
  • Information about careers from physics.
  • The chance to interact with other young physicists.

isaac physics
Isaac is a site designed to offer support and activities in physics problem solving to teachers and students transitioning from GCSE (Y11), through to Sixth Form (Y12 & 13), through to university, by combining an online study tool with face-to-face events at partner schools and institutions across the UK. Isaac was created by the Rutherford Physics Partnership.

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