Head of Science: David Barker (d.barker@swr.gloucs.sch.uk)

Our intent:

  • To maintain and/or stimulate pupil curiosity, interest and enjoyment in science, and to enable pupils to see the implications of science (past and present) for the individual and the community.
  • To enable pupils to understand and use the scientific method, with safety being a major consideration.
  • To enable all pupils to learn and understand a body of scientific knowledge, principles and vocabulary.
  • To promote interest and enthusiasm for science so that pupils will become scientifically literate citizens and will be able to apply scientific skills and/or knowledge in further study or in careers that involve the explicit or implicit use of science, regardless of a student’s background, prior attainment, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.


The Science department offers the following extra-curricular activities:

  • A term of Science Club for each of Years 7 and 8
  • Year 9/10/11 extra-curricular dissection opportunities
  • Cheltenham Science Festival – Years 7 and 8
  • Cheltenham Science Festival – Years 9 and 10
  • Rotary Stem Challenge – Years 7, 8, 9 and 10
  • Year 10 Biology Field Day
  • Outside speakers – person and topic varies
  • Bristol Outreach Lectures – Cirencester College or Bristol University
  • Year 8 Water Race
  • Fairford Air Tattoo trip – year 10

The Big Picture


Years 7 and 8. During their time at SWR, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the Universe and how it works; and be introduced to ideas intended to stimulate an interest in the world around them. Much of our curriculum embeds practical and inquiry skills and encourages students to analyse information. During years 7 and 8 students follow the Activate scheme and study a wide range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics following the National Curriculum. This is taught in specialised laboratories over 7 hours per fortnight. Example of topics: Cells, Digestion, Photosynthesis, Periodic table, Acids and alkalis, Light, Sound and Space. Students will have opportunities to engage in a wide range of activities to develop their scientific knowledge, problem solving and “working scientifically” skills. Homework is set weekly to deepen students’ understanding of topics studied in class. All students will have a target pathway to guide their progress and regular topic tests will provide feedback to make sure that all students are making progress.

Unit Y7 Unit Y7
1 Particles 6 Elements, Atoms and Compounds
2 Cells 7 Reactions
3 Body Systems 8 Sound
4 Forces 9 Light
5 Reproduction 10 Acids and Alkalis
Unit Y8 Unit Y8
1 Electricity and Magnetism 6 Separation Techniques
2 Ecosystem Processes 7 Health and Lifestyle
3 Adaptations and Inheritance 8 Motion and Pressure
4 The Periodic table 9 Metals and Acids
5 Energy 10 The Earth

Year 9. To ensure that students are fully prepared for their GCSE work, key KS3 units are revisited and consolidated before a final KS3 exam. During February, students will begin to follow the KS4 AQA Trilogy Science specification. The additional time given to KS4 will allow for greater development of investigative skills and provide more time for preparation before their Science GCSE exams at the end of Year 11. Students have seven one-hour lessons over the two-week timetable which is divided between two teachers teaching different topics concurrently. Students are given specific targets and levelled objectives for every lesson to ensure they can take ownership of their own learning. This also means staff and students can easily monitor progression throughout the topic.

Unit Y9 Unit KS4
1 Potential Difference and Resistance 7 Cell Structure and Transport (part 1)
2 Respiration 8 Atomic Structure
3 Energy Transfer and Work 9 Non-Communicable Diseases
4 Types of Reaction 10 The Periodic Table
5 Heating and Cooling 11 Photosynthesis
6 Metals and Reactivity 12 Adaptations, Interdependence and Competition
13 The Earth’s Atmosphere


Combined Science (Trilogy). Most students work towards the AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) GCSE. This qualification results in the awarding of two GCSEs on the 9-1 grading scale. Combined Science is taught by two teachers, each teaching a different topic, in five lessons per fortnight. As there is no longer a controlled assessment the course will be assessed entirely in the written exams, all of which will be in the summer of Year 11. There are six exams, two each in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Each exam is 1 hour 15 minutes in duration and each paper contributes equally towards the final grade. The exam papers can be taken at either higher or foundation tier. Each exam assesses knowledge of the Scientific content and the Required Practical Activities covered during the course.

Year 10 Cell Structure and Transport (part 2) Cell Division Organisation and the Digestive System Organising Animals and Plants Communic-able Diseases Preventing and Treating Disease
Respiration Atomic Structure Chemical Calculations Chemical Changes Electrolysis Energy Changes
The Earth’s Resources Conservation and Dissipation of Energy Energy Transfer by Heating Energy Resources Electric Circuits Electricity in the Home
Molecules and Matter Radioactivity Forces in Balance
Year 11 Motion Forces and Motion Wave Properties Electro-magnetic Waves Electro-


Human Nervous System
Hormonal Coordination Reproduction Variation and Evolution Genetics and Evolution Organising an Ecosystem Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Rates and Equilibrium Crude Oils and Fuels Chemical Analysis

Triple Award Science. Some students opt to do Triple Award Science. This means that they study for three GCSEs – Biology, Chemistry and Physics which are graded on the 9-1 scale. Each is taught by a separate teacher in five lessons per fortnight. Again, there is no controlled assessment, so the courses are assessed by written exams at the end of Year 11. For each GCSE there are two exams, each of 1 hour 45 minutes duration and each contributes equally towards the final grade. The exam papers can be taken at either higher or foundation tier. Each exam assesses knowledge of the Scientific content and the Required Practical Activities covered during the course.




Entry Level Certificate. A few students are chosen to study the AQA Entry Level Certificate in Science. They will be taught a selection of the material from the AQA Trilogy course in ten lessons per fortnight. This is not a GCSE course but will result in a recognised qualification. Most of these students will also be offered the opportunity to sit the GCSE Trilogy exams at the end of Year 11 and, if successful, will gain both qualifications. We will, of course, ensure that they are suitably prepared for this. This will include giving all students experience of the GCSE required practical activities.

Year 10 The Human Body Elements, Mixtures and Compounds Energy, Forces and the Structure of Matter
Year 11 Environment, Evolution and Inheritance Chemistry in Our World Electricity, Magnetism and Waves