The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls

Science

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Charles Darwin

In Science, our students learn about the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation. All of our students study a combination of Biology, Chemistry and Physics between years 7 to 11, while students can opt to study one or more of these disciplines in greater detail in years 12 and 13. We are committed to offering a wide range of extra-curricular activities to extend students’ knowledge and understanding further.

The Science department aims to cultivate a passion for Science in all students. We hope that during their lessons, students will develop their creativity, fearlessness and tenacity. We encourage them to develop their communication skills, as well as their ability to critically analyse information and evaluate methodologies. We are also committed to providing students with opportunities to discuss scientific phenomena, meet scientists and allied professionals and to visit scientific organisations and institutions.

The Science department offers a broad curriculum, which consists of a two-year KS3 course and a three-year KS4 course. In KS4 (years 9-11), the majority of students will study Double Science. These students will study all three disciplines (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and will be awarded two GCSE grades for Science, which reflects their performance across all three sciences. Some students will be entered for Triple Science. These students will study all three disciplines and be awarded three separate grades for Biology, Chemistry and Physics, which will reflect their performance in each discipline. We welcome applications from Double Science students and Triple Science students on all three A level Science courses.

At The Grey Coat Hospital, we recognise and reward the contributions that students make to the Science Department, as well as the commitment that students show to their studies. We award certificates for “Science Work of the Week” and “Scientist of the half term”. In Year 9, we appoint Science Ambassadors who lead the KS3 STEM Club and share their enthusiasm for Science with other students. In Year 12, we appoint prefects in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, who play a significant role in organising activities during British Science Week and open evenings. At the end of each academic year, we award a range of endowed prizes, including The Rosalind Franklin Prize. This prize is awarded to a Year 12 student who has undertaken voluntary work, work experience or work shadowing in a hospital, laboratory or other related environment, in anticipation of pursuing a career in Medicine, Medical-related, Biomedical and/or other Science. 

The Science department has joined the Prince’s Teaching Institute Schools Programme. The PTI is an independent education charity, originally founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, which believes that all children, irrespective of their background or ability, deserve a rich subject-based experience at school, both within and beyond the curriculum.

In September 2018, the Science department was awarded the PTI mark in recognition of its commitment to delivering rigorous academic courses, providing opportunities for students to experience science outside of their lessons and for raising the profile of the subject across the school community.
 

Biology

This is the study of living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution and distribution. A qualification in Biology is an advantage for a range of careers, including biology, botany, ecology, engineering, geoscience, medicine, nutrition, pharmacology and zoology.

This is a general guide to the Biology course from years 7 to 13:

KS3

[Year 7 and Year 8]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Cells
  • Body Systems
  • Reproduction
  • Health and lifestyle
  • Ecosystem processes
  • Adaptation and inheritance

 

KS4

Exam Board: Edexcel

[Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Concepts in Biology (†)
  • Cells and control (†)
  • Genetics (†)
  • Natural selection and genetic modification (†)
  • Health, disease and the development of medicine (†)
  • Plant structures and functions (†)
  • Animal coordination, control and homeostasis (†)
  • Exchange and transport in animals (†)
  • Ecosystems and material cycles (†)

 

Topics marked with an [†] indicate that Triple Science will study additional content within this topic

 

KS5

Exam Board: OCR

[Year 12 and Year 13]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Foundations in Biology
  • Exchange and transport
  • Biodiversity, evolution and disease
  • Communication, homeostasis and energy
  • Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

 

The Science department offers a range of enrichment opportunities in Biology including a STEM Club, The Big Garden Birdwatch, ChickWatch, The Nancy Rothwell Award for scientific drawing, The Royal Society Book Club, Gardening Club, visits to the Grant Museum of Zoology, lectures at the Linnaean Society and field trips to local nature reserves.

Chemistry

This is the study of the composition, properties and reactions of matter, particularly at the level of atoms and molecules. A qualification in Chemistry is an advantage for a range of careers, including chemistry, engineering, food science, geoscience, medicine and pharmacology.

This is a general guide to the Chemistry course from years 7 to 13:

KS3

[Year 7 and Year 8]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Particles and their behaviour
  • Elements, atoms and compounds
  • Chemical reactions
  • Acids and alkalis
  • The periodic table
  • Separation techniques
  • Metals and acids
  • The Earth

KS4

Exam Board: Edexcel

[Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Concepts in Chemistry
  • States of matter and mixtures
  • Chemical changes
  • Extracting metals and equilibria
  • Separate Chemistry 1 [includes transition metals, dynamic equilibria, chemical cells and fuel cells]*
  • Groups in the periodic table
  • Rates of reaction and energy changes
  • Fuels and earth science
  • Separate Chemistry 2 [includes alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, esters, carboxylic acids and nanoparticles]*

Topics marked with an [*] indicate content that is covered by the Triple Science course only

KS5

Exam Board: OCR

[Year 12 and Year 13]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Foundations in Chemistry
  • The periodic table and energy
  • Core organic chemistry
  • Physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Organic chemistry and analysis

 

The Science department offers a range of enrichment opportunities in Chemistry including a STEM club, a spectroscopy workshop lead by chemists from Imperial College London and KS5 revision programmes led by undergraduate Chemistry students from King’s College London.

Physics

This is the study of matter and energy and the relationships between them. University and corporate recruiters recognise the value of A-level physics. Although the number of job adverts specifically asking for physicists is smaller than for engineers, for example, the job market for those with skills in Physics is more diverse and is always strong. There is no “typical” career for a Physics graduate; no more a fit is a lawyer, investment banker, medical radiographer or teacher than any other career. As Physics encourages quantitative, analytical and “big picture” thinking, physicists are more likely to end up in top management and policy positions than other technical professionals.

 

This is a general guide to the Physics course from years 7 to 13:

KS3

[Year 7 and Year 8]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Forces
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Space
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Energy
  • Motion and pressure

KS4

Exam Board: Edexcel

[Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Concepts in Physics
  • Motion and forces (†)
  • Conservation of energy
  • Waves (†)
  • Light and the electromagnetic spectrum (†)
  • Radioactivity (†)
  • Astronomy *
  • Energy [forces doing work]
  • Forces and their effects (†)
  • Electricity and circuits
  • Static electricity *
  • Magnetism and the motor effect
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • The particle model (†)
  • Forces and matter (†)

 

Topics marked with an [*] indicate content that is covered by the Triple Science course only

Topics marked with an [†] indicate that Triple Science will study additional content within this topic

KS5

Exam Board: OCR

[Year 12 and Year 13]

Students will study the following topics:

  • Foundations of physics
  • Forces and motion
  • Electrons, waves and photons
  • Newtonian world and astrophysics
  • Particles and medical physics

 

The Science department offers a range of enrichment opportunities in Physics including visits to the Cavendish Laboratory, the Rutherford Appleton laboratory, as well as inviting students to attend lectures at the Westminster School.