Andrew Russell MPhil - Subject Leader - Physics

Richard Bilton BSc - Teacher - Chemistry

Rosie Lewney BSc - Teacher - Biology

Belinda Hayes PhD - Teacher - Physics

Paul Williams PhD - Teacher – Chemistry

Jean Bell PhD - Teacher

Emma Vickers - Laboratory Technician

About the Course

The following gives a guide to the topics studied in each of the school years:

Year 7

Autumn term up to February half term

February half term until the end of summer term






Acids and alkalis


Chemical reactions

The solar system

Energy resources


Electrical circuits

Year 8

Autumn term up to February half term

February half term until the end of summer term

Food & Digestion

Microbes and Disease


Ecological relationships

Atoms and Elements

Rocks and weathering

Compounds & Mixtures

The rock cycle

Heating & Cooling


Magnets & Electromagnets

Sound & Hearing

Year 9

Autumn term

Spring term

Summer term

Inheritance & Selection

Plants & Photosynthesis

Microbes and Disease

Fit & Healthy

Plants for Food

Ecological relationships

Reactions of Metals

Environmental Chemistry

Rocks and weathering

Patterns of Reactivity

Using Chemistry

The rock cycle

Energy & Electricity

Speeding Up


Gravity & Space

Pressure & Movements

Sound & Hearing

Year 10 + 11

The following topics are currently taught as well as controlled assessment and revision for the year 11 GCSE examinations. From June 2016, a revised Science curriculum will be offered in line with new specifications.




You & your genes

Air quality

The Earth in the Universe

Keeping healthy

Material choices

Radiation & life

Life on Earth

Chemicals in our lives

Sustainable energy


Chemical patterns

Explaining motion

Growth and development

Chemicals of the natural environment

Electric circuits

Brain and mind

Chemical synthesis

The wave model of radiation

Further Biology

Chemistry for a sustainable world

Studying the Universe


Currently, pupils at Cartmel Priory School, study the Twenty First Century Science courses, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, offered by the Oxford and Cambridge Regional Exam Board (OCR). However from June 2016, a revised Science curriculum will be offered in line with new specifications leading to GCSEs awarded by the AQA Exam Board.

The courses studied place a greater emphasis on scientific literacy, giving students the knowledge and understanding to make sense of the science that they will meet in their everyday lives.

Students will be able to:

  • Recognise the impact of science and technology on everyday life
  • Take informed personal decisions about issues that involve science
  • Understand the key points of media reports and reflect on the information included (or omitted) from these reports and other sources of information.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of scientific ideas and relate these to their applications by focussing on scientific explanations and models, giving students an insight into how scientists help to develop our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.

Students choosing the Triple Science option will study the three sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and will be awarded three GCSEs in these three subjects at the end of Year 11. Students not choosing the extra science option will choose two out of the three sciences and be awarded two GCSEs in the two sciences that they study. For example, if they choose not to opt for the extra science in the option lines, pupils could then choose to study Biology and Chemistry or any other combination of the sciences (assuming sufficient numbers opt for a particular science) and be awarded these two GCSEs at the end of Year 11. 

 All these courses provide distinctive, relevant experience and are suitable for those pupils planning to progress to level 3 qualifications (re AS and A2 level) and those considering pursuing science at further education followed by a science based career.

Currently, assessment is in the form of three unit exams accounting for 75% of the GCSE and a skills assessment made up of a practical investigation, accounting for 25% of the GCSE. Exams will be taken in May/June of the academic year. For students starting their science courses in June 2016, Assessment will be in the form of unit exams, accounting for 100% of the final GCSE, and because of revisions to the curriculum there will no longer be controlled assessment units (course work). Exams will still be taken in May/June of Year 11.

Setting Arrangements

So that all students are given work and support appropriate to their ability, the science department place all students in ability groups in Key Stag3 (Years 7 to 9). The decision over which group a student goes into is largely based on their performance in end of topic tests that students do throughout the year. At various times in the academic year there is the opportunity for students to change sets should their performance compared to other students change. Students whose achievement has been higher than average will find themselves in slightly larger groups, whilst students who struggle with science will be placed in smaller groups where the teacher is able to provide more support to enable these students to achieve their best. At Key Stage 4, (years 10 and 11), students study in mixed ability groups, the group size depending upon the number of students opting for that particular Science.

Marking and Monitoring of the Students' Work

The following attempts to explain the marking and monitoring of work in the science department. The idea behind our policy is that student/parent/carer and science department staff will be able to follow a student's progress in science.

Students are assessed at the end of each unit or topic by an end of unit test. This provides a level or grade which gives a good indication of a student's performance in that unit. Within each students exercise book there is a student progress chart on which students record their level so that both students and parents can monitor progress throughout the year. It is a student's responsibility to complete this chart. A copy is held within the science department. This chart also includes a student’s previous exam data and targets for the years to come. This chart is often discussed at parents' evenings.

In line with current thinking on marking and assessment - called Assessment for Learning - class and homework will often be marked in lessons by student's themselves. This gives student's instant feedback on their work and provides the opportunity for misconceptions to be addressed immediately and not several days later when the opportunity will be lost. There will be exceptions to this - e.g. research projects, which will be marked by the teacher. No grade or mark will be given for this work, although it is expected that student's correct mistakes. This is the responsibility of the student and enhances learning. Student's exercise books will be collected in at the end of each unit so that the table (described above) can be filled in and the student's work reviewed.

A teachers marking of a student’s work will often consist of a task or question, based on previously studied work, targeting areas of work where improvements can be made. Students are then given time in lessons to reflect on and answer these questions, encouraging them to review their work and consider their own progress within the subject.

Homework will on average be set once per week in years 7, 8 and 9 and twice per week in years 10 and 11 in line with the schools homework timetable. It is envisaged that in general, in years 7, 8 and 9 a piece of homework should take no more than about thirty minutes and in years 10 and 11 no longer than one hour. Should students (or parents) be struggling with a piece of work they should not hesitate to seek help from a member of the science department.

Trips and Outings

As a Specialist Science College, Cartmel Priory School endeavours to enhance the learning of all pupils across the curriculum by using science as a theme. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 take part in a Science Curriculum Day at the end of the summer term where all curriculum areas contribute to activities and visits relating to science. Recent activities included a visit to the school by the ‘Zoolab' organisation as part of a Rainforest project, visits to Leighton Moss Wildlife Reserve, The Wildlife Oasis at Milnthorpe, and the South Lakes Wildlife Park at Dalton, all as part of projects to study animals and their adaptations to their habitats. Conservation projects were also undertaken with Forestry Commission rangers in Grizedale Forest. Other events that the school hosts include a ‘Roadshow’ from BAE Systems, where engineers from BAE systems illustrate careers and opportunities in engineering. The ‘Starlab' planetarium has visited the school to give primary and secondary students a tour of the solar system. Students have attended the ‘Girls in Engineering' and ‘Rotary Technology Challenge' events which aim to enhance the perception of science and engineering as a potential career as well entering students into a variety of competitions such as ‘Top of the Form’ organised by BAE Systems and challenging project based competitions organised by Glaxo and Siemens.