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Science at KS3

The science department at The Ripley Academy has a wide range of enthusiastic teachers from a variety of backgrounds, some of whom have experience working in other professions before entering teaching, all with lots of experiences to make science really come alive in lessons. 


We have great resources with all our 8 labs equipped with data projectors and the latest technology. Trips are offered to different groups in all Key Stages and we have after school Science clubs for students that wish to learn about the world around them and how it works.


Our ethos is to work smart. We aim to provide the best possible structures to help our students succeed and support them in their learning journey.  We offer various revision events before and after school and during the holidays for students who need that extra boost and we are proactive in tracking students’ progress closely to allow us to highlight and help students that require extra support to achieve their potential.


We expect all our students to try their best and follow the code of conduct in lessons and around school. Good science can only take place when everyone respects each other and themselves.


The General Aims of Science Education at The Ripley Academy are:

  • Students regard Science as an exciting and interesting subject.
  • Students recognise its relevance to their everyday experiences.
  • Students are successful in Science and gain qualifications which are important for their future.
  • The Science teaching inspires a healthy number of students to study science further at college and university.
  • Students develop scientific skills which help to solve problems and enable them to make informed judgements in their lives.
  • Science complements and supports other subjects and enables students to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.


Key Stage 3

In Years 7, 8 and 9 students follow the KS3 Science programme of study. The programmes of study cover the National Curriculum areas of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Working Scientifically. There is a specific focus on investigative skills and the development of the scientific method.

Years 7- 9 "Ox Box Science"

In Years 7 8 and 9, students follow a content based course with additional “How Science Works” based activities.


How is it assessed?

Assessments are made every term by internal methods and the pupils are set accordingly. 

In the last term of Year 9 students then move on to more challenging key stage 4 topics and get a chance to develop their scientific skills needed for GCSE.


Year 7 - Ox Box Science

Term 1 – Cells, Particles, Classification and Energy

Term 2 - Acid Reactions, Forces, Elements & Compounds and Electricity & Magnetism

Term 3 - Chemical Reactions, Variation, Reproduction and Space   


Year 8 - Ox Box Science

Term 1 - Life Support, Periodic Table, Using Elements and Heating and Cooling

Term 2 – Light, Keeping Healthy, Metal Reactions and People & Environment

Term 3 - What is in rock?, Sound, Moving Around and Shaping Life

Once a fortnight students in Years 7 and 8 have a Lets Think session. The classroom teaching approach of Let’s Think has its roots in Cognitive Acceleration, first developed in the 1980′s at King’s College, London by Michael Shayer and Philip Adey.

The Let’s Think approach raises the intelligence of pupils by improving their thinking processes. It is a Piagetian programme that draws on the research of Vygotsky and focuses on questioning, collaborative work, problem solving, independent learning, metacognition and challenge. Extensive research in many countries has proved that it raises attainment and progress for pupils of all abilities. Evidence from Ofsted shows Lets Think can help schools achieve outstanding teaching and learning.



Key Stage 4

In Year 11 students follow a programme of study to prepare for two AQA GCSEs: Core Science A and Additional Science. Students currently in Year 10 are following the new AQA Trilogy Science (1-9) GCSE course, which will be first examined in June 2017. 


Key Stage 5

In Years 12 and 13 we offer a range of subjects that students can study depending on entry requirements. Students that achieve a B grade or higher in Core and Additional Science GCSE can study:


GCE Biology OCR Specification A.

Course summary

AS – Module 1 Development of practical skills in biology, Module 2 Foundations in biology, Module 3 Exchange and transport, Module 4 Biodiversity, evolution and disease.

A Level –Module 5 Communication, homeostasis and energy, Module 6 Genetics, evolution and ecosystems. 

How is it assessed?

Assessment of the AS is via two written papers in June and is a qualification in itself. 

The A level is assessed via three written papers in June that cover modules 1-6, there is also an non-exam assessment of practical skills throughout the course.


GCE Chemistry OCR Specification A.

Course summary

AS – Module 1 Development of Practical Skills, Module 2 Foundations in Chemistry, Module 3 Periodic Table and Energy, Module 4 Core Organic Chemistry

A Level – All the AS modules listed above plus Module 5 Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements and Module 6 Organic Chemistry and Analysis.


How is it assessed?

Assessment of the OCR AS Chemistry course is by two examinations in May/June. 

Assessment of the OCR Chemistry A Level course is by 3 papers in the May/June of Year 13 plus a non-examined practical assessment. Please note that the A level exams will cover content from AS plus content delivered in Year 13. 

Students that achieve a B grade or higher in Core or Additional Science GCSE and mathematics GCSE can study:


GCE Physics OCR Specification A.

Course summary

AS – Module 1 Development of practical skills in physics; Module 2 Foundations of physics; Module 3 Forces and motion; and Module 4 Electrons, waves and photons.

A Level – Includes the four modules from AS in addition to Module 5 Newtonian world and astrophysics; and Module 6 Particles and medical physics. 


How is it assessed?

Assessment of AS Physics, a stand-alone qualification, takes place in June as two one and a half hour written examinations.

Assessment of A level Physics takes place at the end of the final year, with two two and a quarter hour exams and a single one and a half exam. The A level also includes a practical endorsement.

Students that achieve a C grade or higher in Core and Additional Science GCSE or are awarded a merit level in any level 2 BTEC qualification can study:


BTEC Level 3 Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma in Applied Science (Forensics) Edexcel

Course summary

Level 3 Certificate (Year 12) – Three units studied: Fundamentals of Science, Working in the Science Industry and Scientific Practical Techniques.

Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (Year 13) - Three further units: Chemical Laboratory Techniques, Genetics and Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis.


How is it assessed?

There are no examinations; the qualification is entirely assessed via the completion of a number of assignments which can be graded at a Pass, Merit or Distinction.