The Science Department at SFX


Our vision

“Science education is one of the keys to social mobility. Science qualifications open the doors to many rewarding and interesting careers, and scientific literacy is critically important to being an informed citizen. Science is the most powerful method humans have for understanding the world, and science teachers in secondary schools lay the foundations of that understanding.”

– Sir John Holman, University of York

The Science department at SFX strives to ensure that all students in our learning environments can become well-rounded individuals, able to discuss the issues in a scientific context facing the world, on a local, national and global scale.

The Science department currently offers the following qualifications:

GCSE

Post-16

For more information on qualifications and further information about the KS3 curriculum, please see subject-specific pages in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry or click on the specification links above.

Curriculum Intent

At St Francis Xavier’s College, the Science curriculum is designed to put the pupils first in both our teaching and learning. We ensure quality-first teaching throughout the department, so that our pupils can become well rounded individuals that can debate and engage with current contextual issues from all parts of life, may it be current events happening in the news or discussions with friends. We aim to ensure that all pupils that come to St Francis Xavier’s College’s Science department leave being able to express their scientific viewpoints and theories coherently and consistently.

Curriculum Implementation

The Science department is split up into three strands, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. There are dedicated specialist teachers for each strand from Year 7 onwards. All teachers are experts in their field, with more than enough knowledge in all of the three Sciences. Science teachers ensure that students are consistently and constantly given feedback throughout lessons, work is peer and self assessed effectively and students hit a high standard through all written, practical and evaluative work. Students complete practicals or experiments in Science in line with the curriculum maps that are detailed below. Assessments on said practicals are included as a part of our suite of assessments, via the use of formative end of topic tests to ensure progress and close any gaps upon reflection, and summative assessments that test on their whole domain of knowledge to date, since their time with us.

Curriculum Impact

The impact of our curriculum is that we help our students become the next generation of science-based practitioners, as well as ensuring that those who do not wish to continue with their scientific studies have enough knowledge to make informed decisions in society.

Department Staff

Click on a teacher’s name to send an e-mail to them.

Chemistry

Mr J Lal – Curriculum Leader of Science
Dr R Carvell – Curriculum Leader of Chemistry
Mr A Daniels – Teacher i/c Careers and IAG / Teacher of Chemistry

Biology

Mr S Irwin – Teacher of Biology (P/T)
Mr E Robertson – Teacher of Biology
Dr L Descallar – Teacher of Biology

Physics

Mr S Collins – Curriculum Leader of Physics
Ms K McCullough – Teacher of Physics / BTEC
Mr J McMillan – Teacher of Physics

Ms L Walters – Science Technician
Ms L Seasman – Science Technician

KS3 – KS5 Curriculum Information

Key Stage 3

As detailed previously, students are given specialists teachers in each of their Science strands, completing three lessons of each strand per fortnight. We use the KS2 curriculum to inform our teaching and learning to ensure that any gaps from KS2 are covered and developed on further. By the end of Key Stage 3, students have a base understanding of all scientific strands, covering and evaluating ideas such as stem cells, chemical reactions and the universe and space.

Key Stage 4

Students continue to develop their understanding and make links between the three science strands throughout their time in Key Stage 4, starting to further develop their ideas and looking at cutting edge science across the curriculum. Students will be able to apply their scientific knowledge to all areas of their curriculum, able to make links between different subjects such as Geography and the Structure of the Earth, or History and the ideas of medicine and drug synthesis.

Learning Journey Y7-11

Key Stage 5

Biology

The AQA Biology Curriculum at A Level moves through a wide range of topics, many that are already familiar from the GCSE course, but in most cases going into further detail and adding layers of complexity. For Year 12 we study Units 1-4, and complete the remaining Units 5-8 in Year 13. Throughout the whole course the students will be regularly assessed on their practical skills, namely through carrying out the AQA ‘Required Practicals’, but other practical opportunities will also present themselves for the students to show us what they are capable of.

The first unit looks at Biological Molecules, which sets the scene for the rest of the course with common compounds that come up throughout. Some of these will then be looked at in further detail during Units 2, 3 and 4 which are about Cells (including the Immune System) Exchange and Transport Systems in organisms and DNA/Diversity/Classification, respectively. During this time, students will build skills with mathematics and statistics, as they relate to Biology, such as statistical analysis of data.

Throughout Year 13 the students will be frequently revisiting the core knowledge from the previous year, as well as beginning to work on essay technique for their final assessments. The Remaining four units studied this year are on Photosynthesis/Respiration/Energy Transfers, Nervous Coordination/Homeostasis, Genetics/Populations and the final unit which continues Genetics with a more medical and experimental focus.

Chemistry

The new AQA Chemistry specification allows students to access the upper echelons of the subject of Chemistry. The specification is linear and reformed – this means there are no examinations at the end of Year 12 and all examinations occur at the end of Year 13. Moreover, there is no coursework element much alike the GCSE, but there is a requirement to complete certain ‘required practicals’ throughout the year that are assessed in the final exams.

The subject is co-taught meaning students will have access to two teachers throughout the year, with an allocation of 18 hours per fortnight provided for the students. This allows for dramatic and outstanding progress with our students as well as additional support for the students who need it the most. As a ‘facilitating subject,’ Chemistry is renowned for it’s academic vigour and requires the utmost concentration and a brilliant work ethic to succeed. All notes that are available in class will be uploaded to the Virtual Learning Environment in order for students who have missed work to catch up with what they have missed.

The specification allows students to:

  • Gain hands-on practical and data analysis skills
  • Appreciate How Science Works and its relevance beyond the laboratory
  • Develop an enthusiasm for chemistry
  • Demonstrate a synoptic understanding

Whilst studying this course, each student will come to understand how scientists investigate scientific phenomena in order to explain the world around us. Students will improve their scientific problem-solving skills by developing an understanding of the procedures associated with the testing of ideas and the interpretation and validation of evidence. Students will ultimately have an understanding of science’s place in the wider world.

Physics

Please see link for Physics context: Physics KS5

KS3 – KS5 Curriculum Maps (updated for 2021-22)

Home-Learning

Click above to log onto Seneca (KS3-KS5)

Trilogy Biology

Chemistry

Paper 1 Practice Booklets

Topic 1 Answers
Topic 1
Topic 2 Answers
Topic 2
Topic 3 Foundation
Topic 3 Higher Answers
Topic 3 Higher
Topic 3 Separate Answers
Topic 3 Separate
Topic 4 (+ answers)
Topic 5 Answers
Topic 5 Foundation
Topic 5 Higher