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We aim to give our KS3 students a solid foundation in the key concepts that are fundamental to a good knowledge of science. Our curriculum is built on the principle of mastery, so our students will revisit the big Science ideas every year but will build on their prior knowledge to help them deepen their understanding.

We want to encourage students to think, talk and write like scientists and to improve their engagement with and enthusiasm for the subject.

What is taught and how?

The Big Ideas

  • Ecosystems
  • Genes
  • Organisms
  • Matter
  • Energy
  • Forces

Each of these big ideas is broken down into specific content for Year 7 and Year 8.

Year 7

Ecosystems Respiration
Genes Evolution
Organisms Tissues & Organs
Matter Elements & Compounds, Reactants and Products, Earth Systems
Energy Electric Circuits, Energy Transfer
Forces Contact Forces, Gravity

Year 8

Ecosystems Interdependence
Genes  Reproduction
Organisms Cells
Matter Substances & Particles, Changing Substances
Energy Electrical Energy, Light
Forces Movement, Magnetism

Year 9, 10 and 11

Combined Science

This is the course taken by all of Year 9 and the overwhelming majority of year 10 and 11 students at Severn Vale School.

The AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) course is split into three components: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students study all three areas and are awarded two GCSE grades at the end of the course.

The course specification can be accessed via the AQA website - AQA | GCSE | Combined Science: Trilogy | Specification at a glance

Students will complete a series of ‘required practicals’ during their GCSE course.  Students will be assessed on their understanding of these practicals in the examination at the end of the course.  Good attendance is therefore vital to ensure students don’t miss the key ideas from each practical.

Students will sit six examination papers at the end of Year 11.  There are two 1 hour 15-minute papers for each component (Biology, Chemistry and Physics).

Separate Science

We also offer a Separate Science course for students who meet certain entry requirements. Students will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as entirely separate courses and will be awarded three separate GCSE grades at the end of the course.

Students who are accepted onto the course will begin this pathway in Year 10.

Students study the same content as the students taking the Combined Science route, but with the addition of extra content.  There is also a series of ‘required practicals’ for each subject area.

Students will sit six examination papers at the end of Year 11.  There are two 1 hour 45-minute papers for each component (Biology, Chemistry and Physics).


Students will complete regular knowledge tests at the discretion of their science teacher. KS3 and Year 9 students complete three whole cohort assessments per year (Order Tests), Year 10 complete two whole cohort assessments per year and Year 11 complete two formal mock exams per year.


In Science, our homework tasks are focused on improving students’ knowledge of keywords and definitions or developing exam technique. Students can expect homework on a weekly basis.