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Redland Green School

KS4 Combined Science: Trilogy


Exam board:

AQA GCSE Combined Science

Number of exams:

6 in total

  • 2 x biology
  • 2 x chemistry
  • 2 x physics


What is the sequence of our curriculum?

Within each two term block there are six or seven topics. By the end of each two term block all classes will have covered all of these units. However, the actual order of the units will vary for each class to ensure we can run the relevant practicals with enough resources.

Year 10 Year 11

Terms 1 & 2

Chemistry: Bonding

Biology: Respiration

Biology: Photosynthesis

Physics: Energy stores and transfers

Chemistry: Quantitative chemistry 1

Biology: Digestive system

Physics: Electrical circuits


Terms 3 & 4

Chemistry: Neutralisation

Biology: Circulatory system

Chemistry: Energy changes

Physics: Mains Electricity


Terms 5 & 6

Chemistry: Atmosphere

Chemistry: Extracting metals

Biology: Infection and response

Biology: Interdependence

Physics: Energy Transfer through Heating

Terms 1 & 2

Chemistry: Organic chemistry

Biology: Biodiversity

Physics: Forces 1

Chemistry: Rates

Biology: Inheritance

Physics: Forces 2

Chemistry: Atmosphere


Terms 3 & 4

Chemistry: Using resources

Biology: Endocrine system

Physics: Forces 3

Chemistry: Chemical analysis

Biology: Evolution

Physics: Waves

Biology: Nervous system


Terms 5 & 6

Revision in preparation for summer exams


Why is the curriculum sequenced this way?

  • All teachers teach all subjects (biology, chemistry and physics).  This allows teachers to form the links between topics and allow students to apply ideas to different concepts.  Also allows better stretch and challenge in all KS3 topics
  • Interleaving: biology, chemistry and physics topics are taught close together when they contain similar/overlapping content and ideas
  • Spaced learning: splitting larger biology, chemistry and physics topics into smaller mini-topics allows students to revisit previous learning in new contexts.  This allows ‘time to forget’ and then recall the content
  • Later part of year 9 bridges the gap between KS3 and GCSE by building on the threshold concepts taught earlier.  They are familiar topics from prior teaching in years 7 to 9, allowing students to build on this learning.  This knowledge is revisited regularly throughout the following topics in different contexts
  • Year 10 topics: the earlier topics are built upon in the later topics and throughout Year 11.


How are practical skills developed across the curriculum?

The practical skills of science are taught over the entirety of KS3 and KS4 with standardised assessment criteria.  This allows us to:

  • Provide more opportunities for students to experience and learn from experimental work
  • Increase consistency of student experience
  • Develop and share materials e.g. results, support, feedback etc.
  • Support the cumulative, in-depth development of skills over the 5 years
  • Each key practical is given a theory lesson which is used to deepen understanding of the importance of each practical


Higher and Foundation tiers

Combined science GCSE has two tiers - Higher (Grades 4-9) and Foundation (Grades 1-5). In Year 10 all students are taught the Higher tier pathway to ensure we are not capping their success. Decisions about which tier the students will sit are made by January of Year 11.


How is the subject assessed?

  • Exam board end of topic tests with tailored feedback tasks
  • Regular formative exit questions with differentiated feedback
  • Explicit assessment of practical and investigative skills against standardised criteria


Recommended revision:

  • Oxford University Press (OUP) GCSE Combined Science for AQA (Grade 9-1) Higher or Foundation tier: Revision guide, Exam practice workbook, Revision question cards. See the OUP website for more details.
  • We use Seneca to provide students with active home learning.  The site analyses students' answers and provides feedback specific to each student.  Parents can also sign up for a free account to help support their child