Key Stage 4 Science

GCSE Biology

Pupils studying Biology will develop and extend their understanding in the following areas:

Cell Biology
Students will extend their previous knowledge of cells, describing the growth and development of cells, the importance of cell differentiation and they will discuss potential benefits and risks associated with the use of stem cells in medicine

Transport Systems
Students will describe the human circulatory system, including the relationship with the gaseous exchange system, and explain how the structure of the heart and the blood vessels are adapted to their functions. Students will also observe transport systems in plants and explain the effect of a variety of environmental factors on the rate of water uptake by a plant, to include light intensity, air movement and temperature.

Health, disease and the development of medicines
Students will describe the relationship between health and disease, explain the use of vaccines and medicines in the prevention and treatment of disease. Students will also study and explain the effect of lifestyle factors, including exercise, diet, alcohol and smoking, on the incidence of non-communicable diseases at local, national and global levels

Co-ordination and control
Students will describe common defects of the eye and explain how some of these problems may be overcome. Students will explore the roles of hormones in human reproduction, including the menstrual cycle and IVF. Comparisons of type 1 and type 2 diabetes will be completed and explanations detailing how they can be treated

Students will describe the process of photosynthesis and explain the effect of temperature, light intensity and carbon dioxide concentration on the rate of photosynthesis

Students will describe different levels of organisation in an ecosystem from individual organisms to the whole ecosystem and evaluate the importance of interdependence and competition in a community.

Inheritance, variation and evolution
Students will be able to develop their understanding of genetics including the work of Mendel. They will be also be able to explain evolution as a change in the inherited characteristics of a population over time through a process of natural selection which may result in the formation of new species 

GCSE Physics

Pupils studying Physics will develop and extend their understanding in the following areas:

Students will describe all the changes involved in the way energy is stored when a system changes, for common situations: a moving object hitting an obstacle, an object being accelerated by a constant force, a vehicle slowing down, bringing water to a boil in an electric kettle. Students will also be able to describe the main energy sources available for use on Earth (including fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, bio-fuel, wind, hydro-electricity, the tides and the Sun). They will also compare the ways in which energy sources are used and be able to distinguish between renewable and non renewable sources.

Forces and their interactions
Students will explore the differences between forces, use relationships between force and distance to describe the energy transfers involved. Investigate levers and moments. Students will also use Newton’s Laws to explain motion of objects and the subsequent calculations involved.

Students will describe wave motion in terms of amplitude, wavelength, frequency and period, defining wavelength and frequency.

Electromagnetic Spectrum
Students will describe main groupings of the spectrum, detailing the wavelengths and frequencies. Students will also investigate the practical uses of the electromagnetic waves and also describe how certain parts of the spectrum can have hazardous effects upon the human body.

Students will explore the differences between series and parallel circuits, calculate the currents in the circuits. The national grid and how electrical power is transferred will also be investigated. Students will be expected to describe the production of static electricity, detailing its uses and hazards.

Magnets and Magnetism
Students will describe permanent and induced magnetism, magnetic forces and fields. They will also investigate induced potential, transformers and the national grid.

Atomic Structure
Students will study nuclear atoms and isotopes, being able to relate differences between isotopes. They will also explain the concept of halflife and its relation to radioactive decay. Students will also investigate alpha, beta and gamma radiation, discussing difference in usage and hazards.

Solar Physics
Students will discover how the solar system was formed and explain how the concept of red shift of light from receding galaxies provides evidence to support the Big-Bang Theory

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Combined Science
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GCSE Chemistry


Pupils studying Chemistry will develop and extend their understanding in the following areas:

Atomic structure and the Periodic Table
Students will extend their previous knowledge of atoms and elements. They will discuss how the periodic table has evolved over time, taking into consideration the importance of the work carried out by Newlands and Mendeleev.

Structure, bonding and the properties of matter
Students will use ideas about energy transfers and the relative strength of chemical bonds and intermolecular forces to explain the different temperatures at which changes of state occur. They will also compare the nature and arrangement of chemical bonds in ionic compounds, simple molecules, giant covalent structures, polymers and metals

Chemical changes
Students will be required to use the names and symbols of common elements and compounds and the principle of conservation of mass to write formulae and balanced chemical equations and half equations. Students will also observe the reactions between acids and alkalis, determining the products formed.

Energy changes in chemistry
Students will explain how modern life is crucially dependent upon hydrocarbons and recognise that crude oil is a finite resource. They will also evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen/oxygen and other fuel cells.

The rate and extent of chemical change
Students investigate the factors that influence the rate of reaction. They will also be expected to explain the effects on rates of reaction of changes in temperature, concentration and pressure in terms of frequency and energy of collision between particles.

Organic chemistry
Students will predict the formulae and structures of products of reactions (combustion, addition across a double bond and oxidation of alcohols to carboxylic acids) of the homologous series. They will also explore Synthetic and naturally occurring polymers, including DNA.

Chemical analysis
Students will describe, explain and exemplify the processes of filtration, crystallisation, simple distillation, and fractional distillation. They will be expected to assess purity and separate mixtures

Earth and atmospheric science
Students will be able to describe the potential effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate and how these effects may be mitigated, including consideration of scale, risk and environmental implications.