Science at Oakgrove

Science teaches you how to think, problem-solve and work together. Science allows you to understand the world and your place in it.
Everybody does Science at Oakgrove. The Science programme is broad and balanced, covering topics from Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as ample opportunity for practicals and independent work.

Key Stage 3
In Year 8, pupils study measurement and the equipment in the Science laboratory as well as safety. They research a famous scientist. Then, it’s forces, living things, materials, survival and biodiversity.
Each Unit is assessed during the year, targets set and reviewed and learning monitored to get the most out of the Science course for each pupil.
The summer assessment is 80% exam, 10% based on homework and 10% on a Practical test, a series of experiments done under exam conditions

In Year 9, the topics are life processes, energy, sound, changing materials, the universe and life and the environment.

Year 10 is a very important year for deciding what course of Science will be taken at GCSE. Mostly, this is decided on the Christmas exam but the summer exam tests all three years of Key Stage 3 as well as marks for homework and the Practical test. Topics in Year 10 include heat, light, chemical reactions, electricity, reproduction and genetics.

Key Stage 4
There are two paths at GCSE, Single Award and Double Award. Both cover all three sciences.
Oakgrove offers four Science courses at A’level – BB at Double Award is required for straight A’levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and a C grade for the vocational Double Award course, Life and Health Sciences.


GCSE Science – Single and Double Award

Students study a balanced Science course during Key Stage 4. In Oakgrove College, there are two routes for this:

Double Award Science (2 GCSE grades)
Single Award Science (1 GCSE grade)

The choice of Single or Double Award depends on your progress in Years 8 to 10 and also, to an extent, your progress in other subjects, especially English and Maths.
Primarily, the decision is made on the basis of your Year 10 Christmas exam though a strong Summer exam performance will also be taken into account.
Double Award Science
Double Award is the standard option for Science. The course is suitable for students who wish to keep their options open for the future, such as for studying Biology, Chemistry or Physics at AS/A2 Level.  It covers a balanced Science programme with elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, both in terms of subject and Practical (experiment) content. The final two GCSE grades are obtained from three Year 11 module examinations (33%) and two Practical papers (25%) and three terminal papers (42%) taken in Year 12.

Single Award Science
This again is a balanced Science programme, offering elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and having a vocational emphasis. Single Award Science is the option for pupils who find Science difficult or, in exceptional circumstances, need to have the extra time for another subject. Assessment is through three module examinations worth 25% each (75% in total) in Years 11 and 12 and two Practical papers (25%) taken in Year 12.
In all cases, pupils should talk through the options available to them with their family and Science teacher, who will advise which course is the most suitable for them.

Careers in Science
Space research, meteorology, renewable energy, oil and gas exploration, telecommunications, computing, mechanical, electrical, civil, aeronautical and nuclear engineering, nursing, midwifery, medicine, health care, speech, occupational and physiotherapy, dentistry, laboratory work, metrology, metallurgy, research science, pharmacy, opticians, buildings, roads, bridges, equipment, machinery, new materials, new drugs – This list is not exhaustive!

AS/A2 Life and Health Sciences, Double Award
Part of the vocational suite offered by Oakgrove at A’level, Life and Health Sciences is an exciting, hands-on course aimed at Technician-grade Science.
L & H Science is suited to any pupil, including those with Single Award grade C or above, who wants a broader, more skills-based experience than that currently offered by the traditional single subject Science A’levels. 
Applied Science is a two A’level course which accrues the same UCAS points for each grade (A*A* to EE) as any other A’level.

Often, vocational subjects are taken in conjunction with other A’levels and are used to access the modern, vocational under-graduate courses at university or as an entry to employment with identifiable employer-directed skills.
L&HS is taken as six modules for AS and another six for A2. In each course, three of the modules are assessed by an externally set and marked exam lasting 1¾ hours. The other three modules are assessed by portfolio.

There is an emphasis on acquiring the Science skills which are actually used in industry, forensics, Research & Development, metrology etc. Hence, learning approaches rely a good deal on practical work, field-work, industrial visits and workshops given by people working in a Science environment as well as the wide use of ICT for measurement and research and the promotion of skills of self-starting, independent work.
The portfolios generated serve not only as the means to assessment but also as an impressive log evidencing the magnitude and high standard of good Science practice undertaken.
The course covers health, body systems, medical-imaging, testing techniques, telecommunication, brain science, environmental issues, health & safety and a range of experimental reports as well as its requirement that students independently investigate uses of Science in industry.

AS/A2 Biology
Students should have minimum GCSE grade BB in Double Award Science provided there is evidence of a good track record in the Biology component in the GCSE.

The AS (Advanced Subsidiary) may be used 
⦁    as a final qualification;
⦁    to further their studies by progressing to A2 in Upper Sixth.

This course allows the development of the Key Skills in Information Technology, Application of Number, working with others, Improving Own Learning and Problem Solving, and provides a qualification which allows access to a wide range of courses at third level education.


Module 1: Molecules and Cells (37.5% of AS and 15% of A level).  This studies the ultrastructure of cells and viruses, cell physiology, structure and function of macromolecules including nucleic acids, enzymes, cell division and the cell cycle.  The unit also looks at the structure of the ileum and the mesophytic leaf in detail with respect to their functions.
Module 2: Organisms and Biodiversity (37.5% of AS and 15% of A level).  Transport of substances in plants and the circulatory system in mammals, together with an in depth study of adaptations, biodiversity and the impact of human activity on biodiversity make up the main components of this unit.  A two-day field trip to Magilligan complements this.
Module 3:  Assessment of Practical Skills (25% of AS and 10% of A level).  This consists of seven investigations which are internally assessed, including assessment of practical skills and the appropriate analysis of results as well as written examination assessing practical skills.
Module 4: Physiology, Co-ordination and Control, and Ecosystems (24%).  This unit deals with homeostasis, immunity, co-ordination and control in plants and animals.  Populations, communities and ecological energetics are also studied.
Module 5:  Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends (24%).  The biochemistry of Respiration and Photosynthesis are studied in detail in this unit.  Further work is carried out with regard to the genetic code, genetics, population genetics and gene technology.  An introduction to the plant and animal kingdoms is also included.
Module 6:  Assessment of Practical Skills (12%).  This consists of five investigations which are internally assessed, including assessment of practical skills and the appropriate analysis of results as well as written examination assessing practical skills. knowledge or research.


AS/A2 Chemistry
Pupils should have obtained at least grade BB in Double Award Science.

Pupils will also require good mathematical skills.

Students take three modules for an AS level at the end of Year 13 and a further three for a full A’level in Year 14.

The AS grades contribute 40% of the A’level.

Unit AS1:  Basic Concepts in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
This module contains units on atomic structure and bonding as well as the shapes adopted by molecules and ions and the intermolecular forces existing between them.  There is a general introduction to the Periodic Table with an in-depth study of Group VII.  Redox reactions are introduced while analytical chemistry consists of acid-base titrations.  Basic calculations and equations are an integral unit of this module (40%).


Unit AS2: Further Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and Introduction to Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry forms a major part of this unit with work on the chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, haloalkanes and alcohols.  There is a qualitative introduction to equilibrium and kinetics while thermochemistry is covered in some depth.  The analytical chemistry aspects are covered by infra-red spectroscopy and qualitative analysis.  There is also further work on basic calculation (40%).


Unit AS3: Basic Practical Chemistry
Section A consists of two practical tasks, carried out in the laboratory with emphasis on observation.
Section B is independent from Section A, and has theoretical questions on practical situations (20%).


Unit A2 1: Further Physical and Organic Chemistry
Further development of organic chemistry, including the study of optical isomerism, along with the study of rates of reaction, equilibria, enthalpy and entropy.  Acid, bases and buffer solutions are also considered (40%).

Unit A2 2: Analytical, Transition Metals, Electrochemistry and Organic Nitrogen Chemistry
Analytical chemistry is developed through units on mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, volumetric analysis, colorimetry and chromatography. Redox and complex ion formation with transition metals, as well as organic nitrogen compounds form the backbone of the work on organic chemistry with a final unit on polymer chemistry (40%).

Unit A2 3:  Further Practical Chemistry
This is a practical examination carried out in the laboratory, which test observational skills and presentation of data. Section B is independent from Section A, and has theoretical questions on listed in the specification (20%).

A’ Level Physics
The intellectual model, Physics represents the world with a rigour and a coherence which is both accessible and comprehensive for any applicable situation. While requiring the recall and understanding of specific physical facts, terminology and relationships, Physics also demands the selection and organisation of concepts in the context of changing ethical, social and technological circumstances. The ability to interpret, test and communicate ideas using the Science method and to assess the validity of evidence or intellectual models can imbue a character with skills and insight difficult to acquire elsewhere.

The Course
The Physics course comprises theoretical elements as well as a wide range of Practical work, I.C.T applications, research and industrial visits and provides opportunities to develop communication, I.C.T., number and problem-solving.

The course covers traditional Physics work from waves and dynamics to modern applications such as medical-imaging, quantum and fundamental particle Physics.

The Assessment
In AS and A2, there are three written papers, usually taken in June and a time-limited Practical carried out in the lab under exam conditions.

There is no Controlled Assessment for A Level Physics.

The Student
Requirement: BB in Double Award and a good standard of Maths though not necessarily taken to A’level.
As the aim is A’level A (achieved by 40% of past students), only those who aim to be top-class students should consider A’level Physics but, if you are able and ambitious, you could become just that right here.