For students who excel in their GCSE Sciences and which to continue their journey of exploration and discovery of science have the opportunity to study a number of Level 3 courses in Science. We offer all 3 subjects at AS and A-Level, as well as BTEC Level 3 Applied Science. All our post 16 Science courses are well attended and are delivered by subject specialist teachers who are passionate about their subject area. Achieving an A-Level in any of the Sciences is an advantage moving forwards into further education and have been named ‘facilitating subjects’ by the Russell Group of universities. They are useful for a wide range of university course as well as careers, including medicine, dentistry, engineering, biomedical sciences, computer science, maths, material science, nanotechnology, Earth science, teaching and many more.
“Biology is the science. Evolution is the concept that makes Biology unique”. Jared Diamond
The study of Biology connects us to the world we are living in and reminds us of our interconnections with all other life forms. A-Level Biology is a fascinating subject in its own right but, more importantly, it can open many doors to further academic study and the world of work. Studying Biology at advanced level will give you a blend of the traditional, popular topics and the exciting ‘frontier’ developments. In addition, you will develop good practical and investigative skills. Lessons take place in modern, well-equipped laboratories. Biology is a fundamental subject for many different degree courses. Typical degrees such as medicine, dentistry and nursing require Biology as a subject. However, subject such as biochemistry, dietetics, geology, orthoptics, physiotherapy and psychology will also require biology as an essential A level. Biology opens the door to many careers choice in the science and health sectors but there are many other routes you can take with this subject. Some subjects include; microbiology, pharmacology, zoology, general medicine, midwifery and dentistry, physiotherapy and teacher training.
Biology at St Mary’s follows on from the GCSE specification with AQA and covers the following content:
Chapter 1- Biological molecules – the chemistry of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.
Chapter 2- Cells – the structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, transport and the study of cells.
Chapter 3- Organisms exchange substances with their environment – gas exchange, digestion and mass transport.
Chapter 4- Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms – DNA, protein synthesis and genetic diversity.
Chapter 5- Energy transfers in and between organisms – photosynthesis, respiration and nutrient cycles.
Chapter 6- Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments - control of heart rate, nerve impulses and muscle contraction.
Chapter 7 – Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems – inheritance, evolution and populations.
Chapter 8 – The control of gene expression – regulation of transcription and translation, cancer and DNA technology.
For AS Biology, the content (chapters 1-4) is assessed by 2 exams, each worth 50% of the AS grade. Paper 1 consists of a mixture of short answer questions and a 10 mark comprehension question. Paper 2 consists of a mixture of short answer questions and a 10 mark extended response. The AS qualification does not count towards the full GCE A-Level but can be taken as a separate qualification.
For A-Level Biology, the content is assessed by 3 exams of different weightings. These exams are taken at the end of Year 13. Paper 1 covers AS content, Paper 2 consists of A2 content and paper 3 consists of all GCE content and a 25 mark essay. For AS and A-Level Biology there is no coursework. However, there is a practical endorsement which must be completed separately.
Chemistry opens up many higher education and career options. There are many careers in chemistry such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, forensic science, environmental science, biological sciences, law and chemical engineering, but even if you're looking for a job in another field, the analytical skills you gained in chemistry are helpful. Chemistry applies to the food industry, retail sales, transportation, art, any type of work you can name.
Chemistry is an important science which is essential in our everyday lives and can make for a rewarding career. Because of this, many students choose this challenging, interesting and stimulating subject. If you are interested in working in the NHS, pharmaceutical or other science-based industries, Chemistry should be seriously considered. The course provides a flexible approach where the specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of chemistry. Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics and they’re assessed both through written papers and, for A-level only, the Practical Endorsement.
Chemistry at St Mary’s follows the OCR specification and covers the following content:
Module 1 – Development of practical skills in chemistry. Practical skills assessed in a written examination, practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement.
Module 2 – Foundations in chemistry. Atoms, compounds, molecules and equations, amount of substance, acid–base and redox reactions, electrons, bonding and structure.
Module 3 – Periodic table and energy. The periodic table and periodicity, group 2 and the halogens, qualitative analysis, enthalpy changes, reaction rates and equilibrium.
Module 4 – Core organic chemistry. Basic concepts, hydrocarbons, alcohols and haloalkanes, organic synthesis, analytical techniques
Module 5 – Physical chemistry and transition elements. Reaction rates and equilibrium, pH and buffers, enthalpy, entropy and free energy, redox and electrode potentials, transition elements.
Module 6 – Organic chemistry and analysis. Aromatic compounds, carbonyl compounds, carboxylic acids and esters, nitrogen compounds, polymers, organic synthesis, chromatography and spectroscopy
For AS Chemistry, the content is assessed by 2 exams of modules 1-4, each worth 50% of the AS Chemistry grade. The AS qualification does not count towards the full GCE A-Level but can be taken as a separate qualification. For A-Level Chemistry, the content is assessed by 3 exams of different weightings. These exams are taken at the end of Year 13 and cover all 6 modules. For AS and A-Level Chemistry there is no coursework. However, there is a practical endorsement which must be completed separately.
“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” Werner Heisenberg.
Physicists are the greediest scientists around as they have chosen to study the entire universe. Physicists look for all the hidden laws that explain why all matter (that’s every physical thing) and energy in the known universe exists, where it comes from and how it behaves the way it does. So if you are wondering how forces of nature, like gravity, work or how aircraft stay up in the air, you will need to go to a physicist like Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein for an explanation.
Physics will help you to build up your problem solving, research, and analytical skills. With these skills you will be able to test out new ideas plus question and investigate other people’s theories, which is useful for any kind of job that involves research or debate. From space exploration to video game design, studying physics can lead to many exciting careers. You will find physicists everywhere, in industry, transport, government, universities, the armed forces, secret service, games companies, research labs and more.
Physics at St Mary’s follows the OCR specification and covers the following content:
Module 1- Development of practical skills in Physics: skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.
Module 2- Foundations of Physics: physical quantities and units, scalars and vectors.
Module 3- Forces and motion: motion, forces, work, energy and power, materials, Newton’s laws of motion and momentum.
Module 4- Electrons, waves and photons: charge and current, energy, power and resistance, electrical circuits, waves and quantum physics.
Module 5- Newtonian World and Astrophysics: thermal physics, circular motion, oscillations, gravitational fields, astrophysics.
Module 6- Particles and medical physics: capacitors, electric fields, electromagnetism, nuclear and particle physics, medical imaging
For AS Physics, the content is assessed by 2 exams of modules 1-4, each worth 50% of the AS Physics grade. The AS qualification does not count towards the full GCE A-Level but can be taken as a separate qualification. For A-Level Physics, the content is assessed by 3 exams of different weightings. These exams are taken at the end of Year 13 and cover all modules 1-6. For AS and A-Level Physics there is no coursework. However, there is a practical endorsement which must be completed separately.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” Albert Einstein.
For students who wish to continue on a Science route but different to the more formal structure of examination based assessments, the BTEC Level 3 Applied Science can be a fantastic route. BTECs embody a fundamentally learner-centred approach to the curriculum, with a flexible, unit based structure and knowledge applied to project-based assessments. They focus on the holistic development of the practical, interpersonal and thinking skills required to be able to succeed in employment and higher education.
BTECs are an established and highly successful alternative to general qualifications, suitable for a wide range of learners. As work-related qualifications, they are designed to accommodate the needs of employers as well as allowing progression to university. By nature BTECs provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a theoretical background, giving learners the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for employment.
At St Mary’s we offer the BTEC National Extended certificate in Applied Science which is equivalent to one A-Level qualification. This included the following units:
The assignment based units are based within an interesting vocational scenario so that learning can be applied to the real world of work. Students are required to combine their knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in lessons and apply them to the assignments. The evidence for the assessments within the assignments can include a variety of formats: recorded discussions; log books and diaries; presentations; brochures, leaflets, posters and promotional materials, and written investigations etc.