Head of Science: Mr A Leigh

Science provides students with knowledge and understanding of the natural world, together with an awareness of the importance of science to individuals and to society. The skills of investigation and experimentation reinforce how scientists work and enable students to participate in scientific debate on many current issues.

Science also helps to develop personal attributes such as curiosity, motivation, teamwork and the ability to communicate. These important skills help to prepare students for further study and for a range of worthwhile careers.

The Science Department at Bishop Stopford’s School is based in the Jubilee Wing, which contains ten purpose-built laboratories offering some of the best facilities in the borough. There are several members of staff, with many years’ experience between them and they contribute a wide range of knowledge in the specialist areas of biology, chemistry and physics. The teaching staff are supported by a team of three trained technicians who prepare resources and maintain a safe working environment.

All students are required to study science throughout key stages 3 and 4. In Year 7 students are taught in mixed-ability form groups. In Year 8 students are taught in groups that are suited to their ability range, moving on to separate teachers for biology, chemistry and physics in Year 9. The content of the key stage 3 course builds on the students’ knowledge gained at key stage 2. The teachers in the department incorporate ideas from the Key Stage 3 National Strategy to improve teaching and learning styles, including plenty of practical activities.

Combined Science:

All students now start the new ‘Combined’ GCSE Science at the start of Year 9 which awards two GCSEs (graded on the new 1-9 scale) which are both examined at the end of Year 11, a total of six exam papers of 75 minutes each.  The main change from the old Core & Additional GCSEs is the removal of the coursework (ISA) component.  Experimental skills are now taught throughout the course and assessed as part of the written exams at the end of Year 11.

Breakdown of ‘Combined’ Science course content:


  • Cells structure
  • Enzymes
  • Photosynthesis and Respiration
  • Health and Disease
  • Inheritance, Variation and Evolution


  • Atomic Structure and Bonding
  • Rates of Reaction
  • Reactivity of Metals
  • Reactions of Acids
  • Quantitative Chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons and Polymers
  • Electrolysis


  • Forces
  • Atoms and Radioactivity
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Material Science
  • Particle Model
  • Waves

Practical Skills:

  • Researching and Planning an experiment
  • Writing a risk assessment and carrying out experiments safely
  • Making and recording observations
  • Recording results
  • Drawing graphs
  • Interpreting and analysis data to draw conclusions
  • Critically evaluating experimental methods


Bishop Stopford’s also offers exciting A-level courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught by specialist teachers in each subject.  The entry requirement for these courses is a ‘B’ (or Grade 6) in Science and a ‘B’ (grade 6) in Maths.


At Bishop Stopford’s students study the AQA A-level Biology course which runs for 2 years.

Students will study both theoretical and practical Biology covering living organism, how organisms interact with each other and how organisms interact with their environment.

The AQA course consists of the following topics;

Year 1 (AS);

  • Biological molecules,
  • Cells,
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment,
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.

Year 2 (A-level);

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms,
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments,
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems,
  • The control of gene expression.

Students can sit the AS written exam at the end of Year 1 which consists of two papers which cover the four topics studied. Alternatively, students can sit the A-level written exam at the end of Year 2 which consists of 3 papers, covering all the topics studied over the two years.

As well as written exams students work towards a practical endorsement. This requires them to complete and accurately document at least 12 major pieces of practical work (6 per year of study).

A qualification in A-level Biology enable students to pursue careers or prepare for further qualifications in such fields as Medicine, Veterinary science, Forensic science, Biomedical sciences, Environmental science.


A Level Chemistry at Bishop Stopford’s is taught in small groups in which students can be given individually tailored support and guidance. Normal class sizes are around 10 students with lessons taking place in our A-level chemistry laboratory.  Classes are a mixture of theory and practical work with additional seminars being held to support students in particularly challenging topics. The A Level course is OCR Chemistry A which has three exams at the end of 2 years: Organic and Analytical Chemistry; Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and a “Unified Paper” covering all aspects of the course.  Over the 2 years the students also work towards the OCR Practical Endorsement. This requires them to complete and accurately document at least 12 major pieces of practical work and it demonstrates a very high level of practical skills in chemistry.

The laboratory is fitted with four fume cupboards and the department has an extensive store of glassware and chemicals essential to the teaching of chemistry as a practical subject.  The school organises many trips to industrial sites and universities to broaden A level student experience of chemistry and enable them to make informed choices about future careers.

Year 1 AS Level Course

  • Development of Practical Skills
  • Foundations in Chemistry
  • Periodic Table and Energy
  • Core Organic Chemistry

Year 2 A Level Course

  • Development of Practical Skills
  • Physical Chemistry and Transition Elements
  • Organic Chemistry and Analysis


The course will help develop an appreciation of the interplay of fundamental forces and principles within Physics and prepare students for ‘Hard Science’ degrees.

  • Learn how complex systems exchange energy (heat, motion or electricity)
  • Understand how Physics breakthroughs have enabled a range of inventions such as GPS, computers, MRI etc.
  • Become familiar with the modern frontiers of Physics including dark matter (cosmology) and the experiments at the LHC (particle physics).
  • Physics A–Level is essential for studying: Astronomy, Architecture, Engineering and Medicine.
  • The course develops scientific thinking and critique, it requires an enquiring mind and builds numeracy skills.
  • All of these skills are valuable for engineering, software design, business, finance, automotive research/development and many more careers.

The course is assessed by 3 exam papers at the end of Year 13 and a Practical Endorsement that verifies that pupils have demonstrated the required practical skills.

Year 1 AS Level Course:

  • Mechanics
  • Waves
  • Electricity
  • Particles and Radiation

Year 2 A Level Course:

  • Thermal Physics
  • Magnetics
  • Nuclear Physics

BTEC Applied Science (L3 KS5):

BTEC Applied Science at Bishop Stopford’s is a mixture of examined units and coursework units leading to award of the Extended Certificate in Applied Science. This is accepted by most universities as equivalent to one A-level.  The course runs over two years and, although most work is assignment based, the examined Unit is critical to success and must be passed. Units covered are Unit 1 “Principles and Applications in Science”; Unit 2 “Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques”; Unit 3 “Science Investigation Skills” and Unit 14 “Applications of Organic Chemistry”. The classes are small, less than 10 students, which allows students to be given individual mentoring and support.

The course is very much designed to provide insight and understanding of the important role science plays in our society and students are taken to visit industrial sites to give them a broader understanding of the opportunities available to them in science.

KS3 Science Portal
My Dynamic Learning

KS5 Science Portal
Level 3 BTEC Course in Applied Science