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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School


The Science facilities at the School are well equipped and maintained in 11 purpose-built laboratories with interactive technology. Experienced staff within the department have a wide range of individual specialisms that enhance teaching and learning.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8) students sit a programme of study that encompasses all three areas of Science in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements. The course is topic based, which are assessed by topic tests and end of year exams and is designed to prepare them for the rigours of GCSE Science.

At Key Stage 4 we offer ‘Combined Science’ (two GCSEs) and ‘Single Sciences’ (three GCSEs) with the AQA exam board. 

Combined Science is assessed with two linear (end of course) exams per specialism, split between the three areas of Science. The Single Sciences are offered to the top performing pupils in the year and the three science specialisms are taught independently.

At Key Stage 5 we offer A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics with the AQA exam board. Students are provided with a course text book to support them with pre-reading and homework. As well as examinations in Year 13, students also complete the Practical endorsement. A separate, non-examined qualification where teachers assess student competence at carrying out practical work.

Year 7 Curriculum

Year 7 students will study nine topics of about 12 lessons each, with an end of topic test. The topics are:

  • Cells, tissues & systems.
  • Reproduction & inheritance.
  • Plants and photosynthesis.
  • Particle  model & separations.
  • Acids and alkalis.
  • Elements and compounds.
  • Energy and heat.
  • Light and Sound.
  • Space.

Year 8 Curriculum

As in Year 7, students will study nine topics of 12 lessons each, with an end of topic test. The topics are:

  • Nutrition and respiration.
  • Human processes.
  • Ecosystems.
  • Metals and their uses.
  • Combustion.
  • Rocks.
  • Electricity and magnetism.
  • Forces and motion.
  • Fluids.

Year 9 Curriculum

Students start to study for their Science GCSEs.  At the end of Year 9, students will be assessed in three separate exams covering all areas of content studied that year. Topics covered in Year 9 are:

Biology: Cells, Organisation, Infection and response, Bioenergetics.

Chemistry: Purity & formulations, The atmosphere, Reactivity of metals, Energy in reactions, Rates of reaction.

Physics: Waves, Particles, Pressure, Energy, Energy resources.

Year 10 Curriculum

End of Year 9 exam results decide which students will follow the Single Sciences and which students will follow the GCSE Combined Science route. Topics covered in Year 10 are:

Biology: Bioenergetics, Homeostasis, Variation & inheritance.

Chemistry: Atom structure & the periodic table, Bonding, Chemical changes & electrolysis.

Physics: Forces & motion, Waves.

Year 11 Curriculum

Topics covered in Year 11 are:

Biology: Ecology.

Chemistry: Quantitative calculations, Using resources and Analysis (Chemistry only).

Physics: Magnets and electromagnets.

Once the topics are completed students will follow specific revision topics in preparation for the summer exams.

Year 12 and Year 13 Curriculum

A level Biology

Topics covered:

  1. Biological molecules.
  2. Cells.
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment.
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.
  5. Energy transfers in and between organisms.
  6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments.
  7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems.
  8. The control of gene expression.

 Assessment: Three exams in total, two hours each, covering topics 1-8 and practical skills.

A-level Chemistry

Topics covered:

       Physical Chemistry

Atomic structure, Amount of substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Chemical equilibria, Redox reactions, Thermodynamics, Rate equations, Equilibrium constant, Electrode potentials and Acids and bases.

Inorganic Chemistry

Periodicity, Group 2 elements, Group 7 elements, Properties of Period 3 elements, Transition metals, Reactions of ions in aqueous solution.

Organic Chemistry

       Alkanes, Halogenalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, Organic Analysis, Optical isomerism,             Aldehydes and Ketones, Carboxylic acids, Aromatic Chemistry, Amines, Polymers,               Amino acids, proteins and DNA, Organic synthesis, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance,               Spectroscopy and  Chromatography.

Assessment: Three exams in total, two hours each, covering specific topics and practical skills.

A-level Physics

Topics covered:

  1. Measurements and errors: Use of SI units and their prefixes, Limitations of physical measurements, Estimation of physical quantities.
  2. Particles and Radiation: Particles, Electromagnetic radiation, Quantum phenomena.
  3. Waves: Progressive and stationary waves, Refraction, diffraction and interference.
  4. Mechanics and materials: Forces, Energy, Momentum.
  5. Electricity: Current electricity, Resistivity.
  6. Further Mechanics and thermal Physics: Periodic motion, Thermal physics.
  7. Fields and their consequences: Fields, Gravitational fields, Electric fields, Capacitance, Magnetic fields.
  8. Nuclear Physics: Radioactivity.
  9. Optional topics: Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Engineering Physics, Turning points in Physics, Electronics.

Assessment: Three exams in total, two hours each, covering specific topics and practical skills.

Extra-curricular Activities

The department offers a range of extra-curricular activities, including a Science club and trips, which in the past have included visits to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum in London, the National Space Centre, Middleton Lakes and visits to local universities.

EMMA HUXLEY, Subject Leader for Science