Cheney School

Cheney School


Head of Science Faculty - Miss L Elias -LEL@CHENEY.OXON.SCH.UK

The Science department at Cheney School has a focus on enquiry work at all stages of the curriculum and on students engaging with scientific contexts and understanding the scientific method. We ensure practical work is at the heart of what we do, and that students are motivated and challenged in lessons.

The department is staffed with excellent teachers who are supported by technicians. This is a very exciting year for science as we have moved into our new science building. We now have four modern full laboratories and three modern science studios in addition to our existing seven rooms.

All students take science until the end of Year 11 and we have enjoyed some exceptional results over the past three years. In 2015/2016 59% of our students achieved 2A*-C in the sciences. We offer both Separate and Combined Science at KS4, and traditional A levels are supported by BTECs in Applied Sciences at KS5. Over 170 students study science in the sixth form and our results are improving year on year.

The department is committed to extending the opportunities offered to our students and we run numerous trips. Our Sixth Form visit the Arboretum, take part in Open Days at the universities and our Physics students visit CERN each year. Lower down the school we visit museums, science conferences, the Big Bang show, take part in RSC/IoP/IoB events and competitions and have a well-attended STEM and science club.

This year we are supporting all students with homework via “Educake”, which will support students’ work at home and encourage more independent study and revision. 

Key Stage Three

A range of topics are covered across Key Stage 3 in Science.

Year 7 students will study cells and organisation, skeletal and muscular systems, reproduction, acids and alkalis, chemical reactions, pure and impure substances, energy, light, forces, motion and space physics in addition to a topic to develop their investigative skills. Year 8 students will study digestion, respiration, circulation, microbes and disease, ecology, rocks, weathering, heating and cooling, magnets and electromagnets, light and sound and our Year 9 students will study inheritance, lifestyle, plants and photosynthesis, metals and reactivity, environmental chemistry, electricity, gravity and space, pressure, moments and forces. Alongside these topics scientific skills such as investigation planning, analysis and evaluation are taught to get students to think like scientists, plan robust investigations, interpret data and think critically about experimental evidence and procedures.

After each topic students will complete a 50-minute written assessment on what they have studied which includes questions on the scientific skills they have been focusing on that term.

A great learning resource to support students with their studies in Science is the BBC Bitesize website. It has revision pages for pupils to learn from and activities and tests for students to quiz themselves.

We also think this CPG Revision Guide gives students an excellent summary of the information they need to know along with some practice questions.

If you wish to extend your son or daughter even further, you could also get them the CPG National Strategies Books. These contain lots of practice questions on the topics we will cover.

Key Stage Four

combined Science GCSE

From Easter of Year 9 through to the end of Year 11 students study AQA GCSE Combined Science Trilogy, gaining two grades at the end of Year 11. The exams are all taken in June of Year 11 and there is no longer a coursework element to this qualification. Instead, students carry out required practical exercises in lesson and a record kept in a separate exercise book. During the exams, students will be asked questions on these practical techniques and are therefore expected to have a working memory of the experimental set up, procedures and expected results.

Cheney School Science teaches a bespoke scheme of work. Topics include the following;

Biology – Cells and Organisation, Heart and Health, Infection and Response, Classification and Ecology, Biodiversity, Bioenergetics, Homeostasis, Inheritance, Variation and Evolution, Plant Biology and the Human Digestive system.

Chemistry -Particles and Atomic Structure, Structure and Bonding, Quantitative Chemistry, Chemical Changes, Chemistry of the Atmosphere, Chemical Analysis, Rates and Equilibrium, Organic Chemistry and Energy Changes.

Physics – Energy, Forces, Motion, Waves, Electricity, Magnetism and Electromagnetism, Radioactivity, Fusion and Fission and Space Physics.

The lowest attaining students in the cohort initially study for a Double Award Entry Level Certificate in Science. This is co-taught with the GCSE content, and these students will also take the foundation tier in Combined Science. This will affect no more than 40 students in any one year group.

Triple Science GCSE

Students will have three separate science grades, taking entirely different papers from their peers.

The basic principle is identical to that of the Combined Science course, however, Triple Scientists will learn additional material extending their knowledge in each of the topics covered in Combined Science.

Either option can lead on to A-level Science or a BTEC Level 3 Qualification in Applied Science.

Key Stage Five


Biology  AS: Biology and disease
  1. Pathogens
  2. Lifestyle choices
  3. Enzymes and the digestive system
  4. Structures of proteins, sugars and carbohydrates
  5. Cells and their organelles
  6. Cholera and oral rehydration
  7. Lungs and diseases
  8. Heart and diseases
  9. Immunity
  10. Variation and statistics
  11. DNA and meiosis
  12. Cell cycle
  13. Genetic Diversity
  14. Haemoglobin
  15. Gas exchange in insects, fish, leaves and mammals
  16. Movement of water through plants
  17. Classification and evolutionary relationships
  18. Courtship behaviour
  19. Antibiotic resistance
  20. Biodiversity
  21. Investigative and practical skills covered by ISA
Biology  A2:
  1. Ecosystem, predation and competition
  2. Photosynthesis
  3. Respiration
  4. Energy in ecosystems
  5. Nutrient cycles
  6. Succession
  7. Inheritance
  8. Nervous system
  9. Co-ordination
  10. Muscle contraction
  11. Homeostasis and the Oestrus cycle
  12. More on genetics
  13. Applications of gene technology


Students follow OCR Chemistry A specification which was developed in consultation with the Royal Society of Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKline and schools with an emphasis on understanding and application rather than recall. It has been recently updated to reflect modern developments in chemistry and also the impact of chemistry on modern society and resources.

Topics covered in this course
  • Atoms, bonds and groups
  • Chains, energy and resources
  • Rings, polymers and analysis
  • Equilibria, energetic and elements

There is also plenty of practical work alongside the assessed practical unit, Weekly drop in support sessions, trip to Oxford University Chemistry department to support lab experience.


At AS: quantum physics, antimatter and annihilation; electricity and its practical applications; mathematical modelling of movement through space and time; useful properties of materials; investigative and practical skills assessed by an ISA.

At A2: gravitational, electric and magnetic fields and their applications; particle accelerators; collisions; simple harmonic motion, vibration and resonance; what E=mc² really means; turning points in our understanding of physics.
Assessment – 80% exam, 20% controlled assessment, AQA Physics A

BTEC Level 3 Applied Science - extended certificate or diploma

Students study the three sciences in vocational settings, with a focus on practical skills and techniques as well as more traditional material related to the AS course in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

The course is assessed through a mixture of internal assessment of practical skills and report writing, and through external examinations. In addition the diploma uses portfolio work and assignments to award 20% of the overall mark. It is possible to take the course as a single subject (extended certification/equivalent to 1 A level) or a double subject (diploma/equivalent to 2 A levels).

More details on the course can be found here:

Extended certification: