Science (Y7-13)

(GCSE exam board: AQA)

Subject Aims

The Painsley Catholic College science department aims to foster a love and passion for science in our students and an understanding of the relevance of studying science.

We strive to generate curiosity and resilience by ensuring that our students develop a mastery of the fundamental skills and knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics. We also aim to embed important literacy and numeracy skill development into our lessons.

We believe that it is important to develop a recognition of how and when science underpins the Catholic character of the school. We don’t view science and the Catholic life of the school as separate.

Furthermore, we aim to develop student confidence and independence during practical work, with a core understanding of how science works.

The department is a fantastic learning environment with relevant and useful displays throughout. It is well resourced with 7 labs, including an ICT suite for years 7 to 11. We also have 5 labs in our sixth form building.


Science Curriculum Overview

Key stage 3 has 5 main areas of study, cells, forces, particles, interdependence and energy that thread through all the topics of this key stage. This is explicitly taught through investigation skills and develops an understanding of how scientists work and how science works. We use the AQA schemes which follow the KS3 National Curriculum.

We use a variety of assessments throughout KS3 to meet the learning needs of all students. This can be in the form of exam-style questions in exam conditions in class as well as knowledge-based tests. These take place towards the end of each half-term. Along with regular homework, these tasks create opportunities for students to develop their skills and to relate science to the world around them. We pride ourselves on personalisation in science creating opportunities for all students to achieve maximizing their chance of fulfilling economic wellbeing in later life.

The science department offers two pathways of courses to learners’ needs and abilities. The courses follow the AQA specification which has a user-friendly website allowing students and parents to access specifications, past papers and mark schemes ( Most students will study for 2 GCSEs in “Combined Science Trilogy”. The most able have the opportunity to study for 3 separate GCSEs – biology, chemistry and physics.

Along with regular homework, students are assessed in a mixture of knowledge-based tests, exam-condition assessments and full mock exams. These give exceptional practise in examination technique and resilience for their final examinations in Year 11.

The sixth form offers a wide range of courses to suit all students who wish to extend their learning of science or specialise in a particular aspect. Courses include:

  • AQA GCE A level biology
  • AQA GCE A level physics
  • OCR GCE A level chemistry
  • AQA GCE A level applied science

Along with regular private study work, students are assessed in a mixture of in-class assessments and full mock exams. These give exceptional practise in examination technique and resilience for their final examinations in Year 13.

Years 9 to 11

  1. Freesciencelessons channel on YouTube
  2. BBC bitesize GCSE science webpages
  3. AQA GCSE Sciences
  4. AQA approved Collins revision guides and practice books
  5. GCSE revision from

You can always get in contact with a member of the science department if you have any questions about how to better support your child’s learning.

Subject Staff

Mr Francis Waugh – Vice principal, science department line manager

Mrs Lisa Rhodes – Associate Assistant Principal

Mr Robert Gladwell – Head of Physics

Mrs Rachel Histead – Head of Chemistry

Mrs Rebecca Potts – Head of Biology

Mrs Paige Horleston-Wilkes – Science teacher

Mrs Elizabeth Johnson – Primary Science teacher

Miss Charlotte Jones – Lead Teacher of Science

Miss Christiana Micallef – KS3 Science Lead

Mrs Lesley Rolfe – Science teacher

Ms Holly Swinson – Science teacher

Mr Samuel Parkes – Science teacher

Mr Luke Boswell – Science teacher

Mrs Stephanie Jones – Senior science technician

Mrs L Smith – Senior Science Technician

Mr Ryan Harvey – Teacher of physics

Miss S McCormack – Teacher of biology

Mrs Leanne Davis – Teacher of Biology

Mrs S Gerrity – Science administration assistant


Extra Curricular

The science department runs an exciting science club for our KS3 students every week, during lunchtime. This session is run by members of our A level science classes who are keen to share their love of science with the younger students.

Useful websites

BBC Focus Magazine 


National Schools Observatory

Royal Society of Chemistry



The Naked Scientist

BBC GCSE Bitesize for Science

Reading List

  • Seven brief lessons on physics – Carlo Rovelli
  • Six Easy Pieces – Richard Feynmann
  • Astrophysics for people in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Forces of Nature – Brian Cox
  • Storm in a teacup: Physics of everyday life – Helen Czerski
  • Collins stargazing
  • The Selfish Gene- Richard Dawkins
  • The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
  • A Paperback edition by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle in English (7 Jul 2005)


Learning Journey

Biology Learning Journey

Chemistry Learning Journey

Physics Learning Journey 

Curriculum Statement


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