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Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School


The Department

Curriculum Leader: Miss A Fotheringham                                                                                                                                                Assistant Curriculum Leader & Curriculum Leader for Chemistry: Mr D Bowyer                                                       Head of Physics: Mr Y Zarrouq                                                                                                                                       


What will be studied?

Students are taught topics in Biology, Chemistry and Physics three times per week. They are encouraged to think scientifically and a great emphasis is placed on Working Scientifically skills. This includes the ability to draw conclusions from data and evaluate theories. Students are also given an opportunity to ask questions and answer these about everyday phenomena that they observe. All students begin the GCSE course in Year 9.

What support is needed?

Your daughter should have access to our online textbook and this can be accessed online at It would be advisable to encourage her to use this resource when she is doing home learning in Science. You will also be given an opportunity to purchase a revision guide at the appropriate time in the academic year and I would urge you to take advantage of this when it becomes available. Other resources are available on the Science Hub courses that your daughter can access by logging into the Google Classroom.

The Science department runs a drop-in ‘clinic’ on Thursday lunchtimes, during which students can get help with home learning or anything they are struggling with from lessons.

How will they be assessed?

  • Tests at the end of topic rotations, three in total
  • Half-termly assessed piece of work with opportunity for feedback and response
  • An end of year examination
  • A baseline assessment in Year 7


Exam Board: AQA

Specification Number: 8464

What will be studied?

The GCSE Combined Science course aims to develop knowledge and understanding of Science and how this is related to the everyday phenomena that students have experienced. Students learn to explain these and the observations made during experimental work. A great deal of emphasis is based on thinking and working scientifically and the skills required to do so are developed through opportunities to complete Required Practical activities. Students learn to plan investigative approaches, collect data and analyse this in order to give conclusions. By the end of the course students will also be able to apply scientific knowledge to familiar and unfamiliar situations and interpret and communicate scientific information accurately.

Learning methods:

Students are encouraged to think scientifically and ask questions about their everyday life experiences. They are encouraged to draw conclusions from data and evaluate theories and hypotheses, as well as apply knowledge and understanding to new and unfamiliar situations. A great emphasis has been placed on mathematical skills required in Science and students are taught to apply what they learn in Maths to scientific problems.  

The examinations include questions on practical skills and in particular scientific techniques. 16 Required Practical activities have been provided by AQA that are essential and these are carried out and used to develop the skills needed to ensure students will be successful. A great emphasis is placed on ensuring that students learn to become competent scientists and we have an excellent technical team who support teaching and learning in each Science discipline.

How is the course assessed?

There are six units, two in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Each is assessed by a 75 minute examination set and marked by AQA and all papers are equally weighted (16.7% of the grade). In total students take 6 exams at the end of the course in Year 11. A variety of assessment objectives are examined including recall and application of knowledge, as well as analysis and evaluation.

Good literacy and numeracy is very important and exam papers will assess both – approximately 30% of questions in Physics will involve the use of mathematical skills; 20% in Chemistry and 10% in Biology. 

Each subject has several required practical activities. These are compulsory and questions related to practical skills make up 15% of questions in the examinations.

To ensure good tracking of pupil progress, students are set tests regularly. These made up of past exam questions and outcomes are used to report progress to parents. In Year 9 students are assessed at the end of the year; in Year 10 they take examinations at the end of the Spring term. 

Year 11 students take mock examinations in November and April. The outcomes are used to estimate grades that are reported to parents.


AQA Biology, 3rd Edition: Laurie Ryan, Oxford University Press
AQA Chemistry, 3rd Edition: Laurie Ryan, Oxford University Press
AQA Physics, 3rd Edition: Laurie Ryan, Oxford University Press

What websites are recommended?

What equipment is needed?

A calculator, ruler, pen and pencil are essential at all times.

Get in touch

Mr P O'Neill, Trust Business Manager

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans



01727 853134