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Science is a core subject within the school curriculum. The aim of the Department is to provide pupils with some insight into the workings of Science and how it impacts on their life. The curriculum is designed to provide a logical progression in understanding scientific principles and how they can be applied in society.


Science is taught in the three specialist disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics throughout the Senior School although it is known as ‘Science’ within Years 7-9 and at GCSE. This reflects the language used by Examination Boards. At A level, the language of ‘Science’ is replaced by the individual disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Within this context in addition to looking at this page you should also look at the discrete links for Biology, Chemistry and Physics for full details of the courses that we deliver from Year 7 through to the Sixth Form.


As well as the theoretical aspects of each of the three sciences, there is a accompanying programme of practical activity designed to encourage a spirit of enquiry within the pupil.


In Years 7 and 8, the pupils are taught in mixed ability classes. They follow the KS3 National Curriculum which we embellish to suit the needs of the pupils at Rishworth. From Year 9 onwards pupils are studying towards their Science GCSE and are taught in sets. We aim to provide each pupil with a depth and pace of learning that is matched to their ability. We are aware that young minds can develop rapidly and so sets are reviewed periodically.


Year 9 pupils have an extra Science lesson per fortnight dedicated to enhancing practical skills.  These lessons have been specifically designed by the Department for the pupils at Rishworth.  It is usual for pupils to begin their Science examinations in Year 10 and complete them in Year 11.  Those in the top set are entered for Further Additional Science and the higher level papers.  The remaining pupils are usually entered for Additional and Core Science papers at a level which matched their ability.


Due to the flexibility provided by this teaching approach, the Science Department is able to offer a course which is tailored to the needs of individual pupils. This approach to teaching will alter from 2017 as the GCSE Science course has changed. Pupils in Years 9 and 10 are already following the new GCSE Combined Science course or GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  These can only be examined at the end of Year 11.


There is an annual trip for the Year 10 and 11 pupils to Science Live.  Here they get to listen to prominent scientists talking about their work.  These include Professor Robert Winston, a medical doctor distinguished in the area of human fertility and Dr. Maggie Aderin-Peacock, a space scientist and star of Blue Peter.


Biology, Chemistry and Physics are offered at both AS and A2 Levels.  All three disciplines adhere to the new and up to date AQA specifications.  Teachers use modern and advanced methods to prepare pupils for their A Level examinations and beyond.


Those studying Biology visit Cranedale to enhance their A2 studies in Ecology.  Chemistry students have the opportunity to visit local universities to carry out modern experimental techniques in the laboratories.  The Physicists visit Jodrell Bank to explore the wonders of the universe.

GCSE Combined Science


Pupils entering Year 10 will continue to study a balanced Science course which can lead to a number of different Science GCSEs by the end of Year 11.  These are GCSE Combined Science and GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics.  We always ensure that the most appropriate course is matched to the pupil.  All pupils have to study all three Science disciplines for GCSE.  Rishworth School teaches the AQA Science course as three separate Sciences but emphasis is placed on the linking of ideas between the three Science disciplines.  Pupils are taught by specialist Science teachers across the three subjects, with nine hours of Science teaching over a two-week period.  This allows three hours to be dedicated to each Science over two weeks.


Course Content:

Summary of content for the courses:



  • Cell Biology.
  • Organisation.
  • Infection and response.
  • Bioenergetics.
  • Homeostasis and response.
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution.
  • Ecology.



  • Atomic structure and the periodic table.
  • Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter.
  • Quantitative chemistry.
  • Chemical changes.
  • Energy changes.
  • The rate and extent of chemical change.
  • Organic chemistry.
  • Chemical analysis.
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere.
  • Using resources.



  • Forces.
  • Energy.
  • Waves.
  • Electricity.
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism.
  • Particle model of matter.
  • Atomic structure.


Examination Board

AQA GCSE Combined Science (double award)


Mode of Assessment

  • 16 practicals that teachers must deliver during lessons.
  • Six exam papers: two Biology, two Chemistry and two Physics papers.
  • Each exam is 1 hour and 15 minutes (70 marks).
  • Each paper will cover different subject content and include questions about the required practicals.

Outside the Classroom

At lunchtime Science Club is open to pupils giving them an opportunity to carry out extra science projects and investigations.  The aim of the club is to explore the nature of science and make it fun and accessible to all.  The activities last year ranged from using our telescope to making hydrogen rockets, ice cream, investigating crime scenes and entering science competitions.  There will be many more exciting experiments to get involved with this year.

Other Information

Many pupils who have studied Science at Rishworth now fill key positions in engineering, nuclear research, chemistry, veterinary science, medicine and information sciences as well as many other science related occupations.