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Redland Green School

KS4 Separate Sciences


Exam board:


Number of exams:

6 in total (each is 1 hour, 45 minutes long)

  • 2 x Biology
  • 2 x Chemistry
  • 2 x Physics


What is the sequence of our curriculum?

Within each two term block there are a number of different topics. By the end of each two term block all classes will have covered all of these topics. 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

Biology: Respiration

Chemistry: Energy Changes

Biology: Communicable Diseases and Defences

Chemistry: Bonding

Biology: Digestive system

Physics: Energy stores and transfers

Chemistry: Quantitative chemistry 1

Biology: Circulatory system

Physics: Electrical circuits


Terms 3 & 4

Chemistry: Extracting metals

Physics: Energy Transfers by Heating

Biology: Photosynthesis

Biology: Prevention and Treatment of Disease

Chemistry: Neutralisation

Chemistry: The Atmosphere

Physics: Forces and their Interactions


Terms 5 & 6

Chemistry: Rate and extent of chemical reactions 

Biology: Interdependence

Chemistry: Extracting Metals

Chemistry: Using Resources

Biology: The Nervous System

Physics: Properties of Waves

Physics: Forces and Motion

Terms 1 & 2

Chemistry: Organic chemistry 1

Biology: Nervous system

Physics: Waves 2 - EM spectrum

Chemistry: Organic chemistry 2

Biology: Endocrine system

Physics: Forces 2 - speed and motion

Chemistry: Chemical analysis

Biology: Plant hormones

Physics: Space


Terms 3 & 4

Chemistry: Using resources

Biology: Inheritance

Physics: Forces 3

Chemistry: Ion spectroscopy

Biology: Evolution and classification

Physics: Magnetism and electromagnetism

Biology: Biodiversity


Terms 5 & 6

Revision in preparation for summer exams


Why is the curriculum sequenced this way?

  • The separate sciences at KS4 are taught by subject specialists who can provide challenge with links to the relevant A level subjects
  • Interleaving occurs within each separate subject so that topics are revisited on a regular basis
  • 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

Each of the separate sciences 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 Science guides for AQA are excellent (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