The vision we have for our students underpins all that the dedicated and committed staff of the department do to support the development of the future citizens of our society.
We believe that students should have a well-rounded knowledge of a broad Science curriculum that will enable them to progress to the next phase of their development.
The enabling curriculum allows opportunities for students to prepare to progress regardless of whether to the very highest levels of Science education, into a Science based career or as informed and considerate members of society.
We want all our students to have a balanced and considered view of some of the greatest challenges society will face. These are well known and include issues such as the impacts on the delicate environment and climate by the use of fossil fuels and plastics and the viability of alternatives, lifestyle choices and medical developments and their impacts on health and disease or the variety of methods of transport and the underlying safety implications they carry.
As well as allowing students opportunities to develop informed decisions on these matters, we also aim to develop the critical skills that these decision- making processes depend on. These will include the ability to solve problems and plan to gather reliable evidence, an ability to process evidence and interrogate data to reveal patterns and trends, a critical analysis and evaluation of data and evidence, all of which are based on numeracy and literacy skills.
We aim to inspire all our students, challenge them to improve and develop and empower them to make informed decisions and act independently with confidence. We want to encourage them all to show respect, be resilient and take responsibility.
As many of you are aware there has been some pre-release exam information from the exam boards. The PDFs attached below contain all of the information from the exam boards along with links to appropriate videos and websites for the relevant section of the subject.
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/past-papers/a-level-biology/ – Past papers
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/biology-revision/a-level-aqa/ – Revision
- https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/biology/specifications/AQA-7401-7402-SP-2015.PDF – Specification
Why study Biology?
Biology is the study of all living things. Studying biology at A Level provides not only an understanding of how your own body works but also explores the way humans interact with the rest of the natural world – for good or ill. It is full of fascination, from the chemical reactions that occur in every cell through the intricate workings of the brain and nervous system to the amazing way our heart pumps blood and our muscles contract. It will explain how the incredible structure of DNA allows it to control our whole development and how the great natural cycles of the earth have maintained equilibrium for so long.
What skills will I learn?
This course will require you to carry out practical work to find out the answers to various problems. You will need to analyse the data to spot the patterns they show. You will learn the skills needed to measure environmental changes, hopefully on a residential field course. You will learn teamwork as well as how to take responsibility for your own learning.
What will I study?
Topic 1 Biological molecules
Topic 2 Cells
Topic 3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment
Topic 4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
Topic 5 Energy transfers in and between organisms
Topic 6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
Topic 7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
Topic 8 The control of gene expression
How will I be assessed?
The new specification requires that A2 exams be assessed at the end of Year 13. There are three exams, each are two hours long.
Paper 1 to assess topics 1-4 (35%)
Paper 2 to assess topics 5-8 (35%)
Paper 3 to assess topics 1-8 (including a 25 mark essay question) (30%)
There will also be twelve practical tasks that you will be assessed on.
What goes well with Biology?
Biology complements a great number of other subjects. The traditional ‘three science approach’ is very popular but it also fits well with PE, geography and maths.
Where can Biology lead?
Biology is a stepping stone to a variety of careers, including: medicine, medical research, dentistry, veterinary science, forestry, agriculture and farming, environmental and conservation work, environmental health, brewing, the food industry, as well as teaching.
Grade 7 or higher in Biology or Combined Double Award Science.
The utmost commitment to hard work, self supported study outside of lesson time and using text books to back up work in lessons to further develop your understanding.
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/past-papers/a-level-chemistry/ – Past papers
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/chemistry-revision/a-level-aqa/ – Revision
- https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/chemistry – simulations
- https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/chemistry/specifications/AQA-7404-7405-SP-2015.PDF – specification
- https://www.chemguide.co.uk/ – Additional reading and revision
Why study Chemistry?
Chemistry is a fantastic subject where you fully use your brain to understand the ideas and make the required links. It is a subject for the committed student – put a lot of effort in and you get a lot out of it. A Level Chemistry develops and takes further the ideas introduced at GCSE as well as introducing totally new areas and concepts. You study the chemistry of the Periodic Table and also go on from the alkanes and alkenes at GCSE to learn about alcohols, esters, amines and many more organic chemicals. There is every day relevance to our work as we consider the chemistry of drugs, dyes, designer polymers, the ozone layer, steels and much more.
What skills will I gain from studying Chemistry?
Studying Chemistry will develop your thinking and analytical skills. The subject involves building up knowledge and key ideas and so will develop your ability as a learner and your individual study skills. Chemistry is fundamentally an experimental subject and there are numerous links to use practical experiences to link theory to reality.
What will I study?
Year 1 covers three themes of Chemistry.
- Physical Chemistry including atomic structure, bonding, energy and equilibrium.
- Organic Chemistry including alkanes, alkenes, alcohols and organic analysis.
- Inorganic Chemistry including group 2 alkaline earth metals and group 7 halogens plus trends in the periodic table.
Year 2 develops these three themes of Chemistry.
- Physical Chemistry including reaction rates, thermodynamics, acids and bases and electrochemical reactions.
- Organic Chemistry including polymers, DNA and molecules of life, medicines and organic synthesis.
- Inorganic Chemistry including transition metals, colour chemistry and period 3 elements and their compounds.
How will I be assessed?
For AS/Year 1: There are two 90 minute exams. Paper 1 covers content from the Inorganic and some Physical themes plus relevant practical skills. Paper 2 covers the Organic and remaining Physical content plus relevant practical skills. Both papers have multiple choice questions and structured questions covering theory and practical skills. All questions are drawn from year 1 of the course. AS does not count as part of the overall A Level.
For A Level: There are three 120 minute exams. Paper 1 covers Inorganic and some Physical content with relevant practical skills. Paper 2 covers the Organic and remaining Physical Chemistry plus relevant practical skills. Paper 3 covers Any Content and Any Practical Skills and Any data Analysis. Paper 1 and 2 both comprise long and short answer questions. Paper 3 comprises a variety of long and short answer as well as multiple choice questions. Content for the three exams is drawn from any part of the two year course. In addition to the three exams there is also a course of practical activities in which you can demonstrate practical competence. This is the Practical Endorsement for Chemistry and your performance in this is reported separately to the A Level grade.
What goes well with Chemistry?
Chemistry goes well with many subjects at A Level. It is often combined with other sciences and also with maths. Two or three sciences are very commonly taken. However, some students take chemistry as their only science. Chemistry is also often combined with history and geography and indeed can go alongside every other subject.
Where can Chemistry lead?
Chemistry can lead in many directions in terms of Higher Education. It is essential for students going on to study chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, veterinary courses, natural sciences, pharmacology and pharmacy as well as being often essential for forensic science. It is useful and sometimes essential for students going on to study biology related courses. In addition to all of the above courses, The Lakes School’s chemistry students have gone on to study physiotherapy, history, accountancy, environmental sciences, chemical engineering, genetics, and many other subjects.
Grade 7 or above for Chemistry GCSE or grade 7 or above for Combined Double Award GCSEs.
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/past-papers/a-level-physics/ – Past papers
- https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/physics-revision/a-level-aqa/ – Revision
- https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/physics – Simulations
- https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/physics/specifications/AQA-7407-7408-SP-2015.PDF – Specification
Why study Physics?
Physics is the study of how the world works. Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered where it all comes from, or how your mobile phone works, or how did we actually manage to put a man on the moon before calculators were even invented?
From being woken up in the morning by your clock radio to snuggling down at night under the duvet, all modern life depends on physics.
What skills will I gain from studying Physics?
At times you will need to work independently to solve problems, both practical and mathematical. At other times you will need to work collaboratively as part of a team to make a presentation or deliver a talk. Mostly, you will develop your abilities to think logically and laterally.
What will I study?
1 Measurements and their errors 2 Particles and radiation
3 Waves 4 Mechanics and materials
5 Electricity 6 Further mechanics and thermal physics
7 Fields and their consequences 8 Nuclear physics
9 Astrophysics 10 Medical physics
11 Engineering physics 12 Turning points in physics
How will I be assessed?
The new specification requires that A2 exams be assessed at the end of Year 13. There are three exams, each of two hours, at the end of Year 13. There will also be twelve practical tasks that you will be assessed on.
What goes well with Physics?
Nearly all subjects will go with physics – it depends where your career aspirations are.
Obviously, if you are interested in the sciences or engineering then physics will go well with maths, chemistry, biology, technology and ICT. Equally, many students in the past have also studied art, business studies, geography and history, and have been interested in careers such as surveying or architecture.
Where can Physics lead?
Anywhere is the simplest answer. Universities tend to regard physics very highly as a traditional subject with high academic rigour. It is, of course, ideal for all careers in science or engineering, from aerospace to computing. Many past students have gone on to a wide range of careers, from management to working for NASA.
Normally the expectation would be grade 7 or higher in Physics or Combined Double Award Science and grade 7 or above in mathematics.