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 excellent teachers, who are supported by techinicians. This is a very exciting year for science as we are moving out of Wainwright building into temporary buildings whilst a new science block is built.

All students take science until the end of Y11 and we have enjoyed some exceptional results over the past three years, with 77% of students gaining 2A*-C (or equivalent) in 2013. 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 go to 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.

In the coming year we intend to roll out Kerboodle Science to all KS3/4 students, psychologists, biologists and physicists. This will support student’s work at home and encourage more independent study and revision. Ask your teacher for your log in details.

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

Science GCSE

Students in Year 10 and 11 study Science A and Additional Science, gaining two grades at the end of Year 11. 75% of each GCSE is awarded through exams and 25% through coursework. One piece of coursework is carried out with each teacher and will involve planning and analysing an experiment. The exams are all taken in June of Year 11.

Topics include; atomic structure, bonding,  metals and their uses, crude oil and fuels, plant oils, energy, waves, motion, electricity, nuclear physics, coordination, variation, evolution, medicine and drugs, biomass, inheritance, organs and tissues.

Triple Science GCSE

Students will have three separate science grades, with the same weighting on coursework as double award.

Triple Scientists will also learn about medical physics, magnetism, circular motion and moments, homeostasis, exchange and transport, organic chemistry, analysis and synthesis.

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 with Medical Science

Students work to complete a portfolio of work over the two years. This counts for two qualifications and is taught for 16 hours per fortnight in each year. Students have three teachers in each year.

At AS: students look at scientific practical techniques, genetic inheritance and investigations, general science, working in the science industry and human physiology.

At A2: mathematical tools for scientists, biochemistry and biochemical techniques, biomedical science techniques, perceptions of science and carry out an independent science investigation
The portfolio is graded Pass, Merit or Distinction and students complete assignment work alongside learning theory related to the units.