Key Stage 3

The team is delivering a new course to take into account the new KS3 national curriculum. This course involves a much improved way of bridging the gap between KS3 and GCSE level. Many key concepts taught in GCSE are now introduced in KS3 allowing a much better transition. The course is fully supported by online resources which all  of our KS3 pupils have a password to access. The link is as follows:

Biology One

Cells – The Building Blocks of Life

In this unit students will study cellular mechanisms and organisation in all living organisms. Human development and reproduction in both plants and animals are also investigated.

Biology Two

Body Systems – Eating, Drinking and Breathing

In this unit students will get the opportunity to study in more depth the digestive and respiratory systems. In addition, diet, nutrition and lifestyle factors are considered along with the  health, and socio economic effects of poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyles.

Biology Three

Getting the Energy Your Body Needs

This unit focuses on the skeleton and muscles structures. It is also where the key processes of Aerobic and Anaerobic respiration are introduced.

Biology Four

Looking at Plants and Ecosystems

This unit considers the essential part green plants play in sustaining life. Ecological relationships and interactions within and between species in the environment are considered.

Chemistry One

Mixing, Dissolving and Separating

This heavily investigative unit will include key separation techniques used in Chemistry to include distillation and chromatography.

Chemistry Two

Elements, compounds and Reactions

This unit focuses on the Periodic Table and how elements and compounds interact during chemical reactions. Metals and non- metals will also be studied in detail.

Chemistry Three

Explaining Physical changes

The particle theory which supports all matter is introduced with investigations and focus on key scientific discoveries.


Chemistry Four

Chemistry Four – Explaining Chemical changes

Key chemical reactions are introduced with a particular focus on acids and alkalis, reactions of metals and combustion.

Physics One


In this unit students will study forces and their effects. They will look at useful and unwanted forces. They will also consider the applications of levers and turning forces.

Physics Two

Energy transfers and Sound

This unit looks at energy transfers that are both useful and useless. Sound energy is studied in detail.  Aspects of hearing and measures to improve hearing are also studied.

Physics Three

Exploring contact and non-contact forces

In this unit forces are explored in more detail to consider specific ideas on Gravity and Space,  Electrostatics and Pressure.

Physics Four

Magnetism and Electricity.

This unit amplifies prior knowledge of magnetism by expanding to explain electromagnetism. Students will also look at electricity and electrical circuits. They will build and investigate series,parallel circuits. Electrical resistance and its uses will also be studied.


Key Stage 4

KS4 Science Curriculum

Course  OCR Exam codes Module components
Core J621, B711,712,713 B1, C1, P1B2, C2, P2
Additional Science J262, B721,722,723 B3, C3, P3B4,C4,P4
Further additional J262, B761,762,763 B4, C4, P4B5, C5, P5

At PHS we deliver the OCR Gateway Science examination series. The routes are indicated in the table below.  All students will follow the Core and Additional program of study. Some students will also take the further additional modules.  An outline of the science involved in each of the modules is indicated in the following pages. The information is organised into Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Biology Modules

In this section students will learn about important processes that occur in our bodies that enable us to survive and reproduce.

The subject of health is explored in terms of fitness, the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Students will also look at ways that drugs can put the health of the body at risk as well as be used to protect the body from infections and other damage.

Students will also learn about how animals and plants respond to stimuli. This involves detected stimuli and producing a coordinated response. The importance of monitoring the internal environment of the body to achieve homeostasis is also considered.

Finally the genetic and environmental basis of variation is discussed.


In this section students will learn about the classification of organisms. They will develop ideas about how species interact within the environment. This will include work on energy flow, pyramids of biomass and predator prey relationships.

The role of humans in the environment will also be explored. This will include ideas about population increase and how this can damage the environment. Students will also look at ways the environment can be conserved for future generations.

Students will also learn about Natural selection and evolution. They will start to understand that this is an ongoing process and not just part of history.


In this section students will learn about DNA and how it codes for proteins. They will develop ideas about enzymes as proteins and how changes to the DNA can prevent the proteins from working.

Students will then look at how blood is circulated around the body and respiration. Different ways of measuring respiration will be investigated. The different types of cell division will be studied along with how organisms can be selectively bred or cloned.


In this section students will learn about important processes that occur in green plants and the implications for farming and food preservation.  The subject of ecology is explored in terms of sampling and mapping the distribution of organisms.

Students will then look at the process of photosynthesis and the adaptations of leaves for this process.

Students will also learn about the basic processes of diffusion and osmosis and how these relate to transport in plants. Mineral nutrition is covered along with the principles of decay and how to prevent it.

Finally, the two different methods of intensive and organic farming are compared.


In this section students will learn about some of the main living processes that occur in the body. These include support, movement, the circulation, digestion, waste production and reproduction.

Comparisons will be made between these processes in humans and some other organisms.

There will also be some consideration of how these systems can break down and how transplants on transfusions can be used to reinstate normal function.


In this section students will learn about microorganisms. They will develop ideas about how microorganisms can be harmful or useful.

Students will then look at microorganisms in soil and water, including ideas about how water pollution affects the organism living there.

The use of enzymes in industry is investigated, along with the importance of genetic engineering.

Chemistry Modules

Students will learn how we use oil and what issues our dependency on oil raises. We get most of our fuels from oil and they pollute the air when they burn. Plastics are also made from oil. These versatile materials can be given a wide range of different properties to suit different uses.

Students will also learn about the chemicals in food and the reactions that happen when it cooks. They will also extend their understanding of mixtures by considering an emulsion (mayonnaise) and a colloid (paint).


In this section students will study the theory of plate tectonics, how the Earth’s surface has changed over time and why these ideas took a long time to be accepted.

Most of the products we use are made from raw materials like rocks and metal ores from the ground, fossil fuels, air and seawater. You will explore some of the ways these are extracted and used and the environmental problems this can cause.

Many industrial chemicals like ammonia are manufactured on a huge scale. Students will learn how chemists choose the best reaction conditions for large-scale chemical processes and examine the benefits and risks of using one important product, fertiliser.


Chemical Economics In this section students will study the factors affecting reaction rates including temperature, concentration, pressure, surface area and catalysts.

Most of the products we use are manufactured. You will discover how chemists calculate the amount of product they can expect to get from their reactants and how to check the efficiency and sustainability of chemical processes.

You will find out why some reactions release energy, while others absorb it and how these energy transfers can be measured. Many bulk products like ammonia are manufactured on a huge scale in continuous processes. Others, like medicines are manufactured on a smaller scale using batch processes. You will explore how medicines are developed, tested, manufactured, and marketed, and about the factors that affect their cost.

Carbon exists in various forms, including diamond, graphite, buckminsterfullerene and nanotubes. You will learn how their structure gives rise to their properties and why that makes them useful.


In this section students will study atomic structure and learn how this underpins the chemical and physical properties of the elements and their positions in the periodic table. They learn how atoms are held together by ionic, covalent and metallic bonding and how this influences their properties.

Students will learn about the patterns and trends in the properties of the elements by studying the reactive metals in group 1, the non-metals in group 7, and the transition metals. They will find out why metals are so useful and how new technologies use superconductors.

Finally, students will learn how to detect dissolved ions and learn how water is treated to make it safe to drink.


In this section students will learn about molar mass and how this can be used to calculate the amount of reactants and products needed in chemical reaction, hence matching supply to demand. Percentage composition and empirical formula are covered to extend this idea. These ideas are extended to cover moles, volume and concentration of solutions, enabling quantitative calculations to be performed following the analytical titration technique, which is still used in many industrial applications.

Students revisit monitoring reactions involving gaseous reactants and products, by measuring mass or volume changes. At higher level, calculations are used to predict these changes.

Many industrial processes involve reversible reactions reaching equilibrium, and ways to alter the equilibrium position are covered. The unit concludes with a look at strong and weak acids, and the difference between strength and concentration, and ionic equations and precipitation reactions as a method for testing ions.


In this section students will investigate the decomposition of compounds by electrolysis. Students will look at energy transfers including how the car industry is developing fuel cells.

Students will look at redox reactions and how galvanisation works to protect certain metals from rusting. They will investigate displacement reactions.

Students will study fermentation and the production of ethanol. They will investigate ethanol production, including advantages and disadvantages. Students will look at cracking and why it is a useful process.

Students will learn about the effect of pollution on the ozone layer. They will look at hard water, the problems it can cause and the solutions to these problems.

Finally, students will compare and contrast fats and oils. They will learn about useful emulsifiers and how detergents work. They will study how solvents and solutes work in dry cleaning.

Physics Modules

The difference between heat, measured in joules (J), and temperature, measured in °C is addressed at the beginning of the unit. Students then learn how to calculate the energy needed to change the temperature and the state of a body. They consider the use of thermal insulators especially in the home.

The main part of the unit focuses on the behaviour of the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. The properties and uses of light and lasers are discussed. Students compare the use of infrared and microwaves for cooking and communication and discuss the possible dangers to health from overuse of mobile phones. The behaviour of radio waves of different wavelengths is linked to their application to different forms of wireless communication.

The unit ends by considering the global effects of wave motion, considering earthquake waves and the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.


In this section students will learn how we make use of energy from the Sun in various ways and the advantages and disadvantages of these. Then they will investigate how electricity is generated and distributed across the country to where it is needed. Students will consider the impact of our growing need for energy on the global climate and how scientists work together to collect data on global warming and its effects. They will learn how to calculate the costs of domestic energy consumption and work out the efficiency of a power station, they will develop an understanding of how transformers are used to save energy during electrical transmission.

In the next part of the unit students will find out about nuclear radiations and their uses, including as a fuel for power stations. They will be studying the drawbacks to this type of fuel and how it can be handled and disposed of safely.

The unit ends with a section looking at our Solar System and how we explore it. Students will then go on to study the life cycle of stars as well as examining the evidence for how our Universe began and how theories on this have developed over time.


In this section students will learn how to analyse motion, drawing and using distance-time and speed-time graphs.  Speed, average speed, velocity, relative velocity and acceleration are discussed.

The need for an unbalanced force to produce acceleration is considered and the equation F = ma introduced.  The physics learned so far in this unit is applied to considerations of road safety, including the effect of speed on the stopping distance of a vehicle. The unit goes on to describe work and power, using car brakes and the Eurostar train as applications.

A comparison of petrol and diesel as car fuels is carried out, comparing fuel consumption and emissions.  The issue of how we should fuel our cars in the future is discussed, considering electric – both battery and solar-powered – and the advantages of a hybrid vehicle, together with alternatives such as bio-fuels.  Some car safety features, both to help to prevent accidents and to minimise injury in the event of a crash, are considered.

Vertical motion is analysed and the effect of the changing forces acting described. The unit ends by considering the energy changes in theme park rides such as roller coasters.


In this section students will learn what causes static electricity and how it is used in some everyday applications. They will study how static electricity can be a nuisance and, in some situations, even dangerous. Methods that can be used to overcome the problems caused by static electricity will also be studied.

Students will learn about current electricity in the home and how it can be used safely. They will study earth wires, fuses and circuit breakers as safety devices.

Students will learn about ultrasound and how it can be used in medicine for both diagnosis and for treatment.

They will look at the nature and properties of alpha, beta and gamma radiation and their respective uses. How to calculate radioactive half-life and what happens to a nucleus when it emits alpha or beta radiation.

Students then move on to learning how objects are dated using radioactive carbon and how power is produced by fission of uranium. Finally the potential of fusion power is explored as a new and exciting alternative to current methods of power production.


The unit starts by considering geostationary and polar orbit satellites and their uses. It considers the physics behind what keeps them in the correct orbit.

The difference between scalar and vector quantities is explained and the vector nature of velocity applied to relative motion in the context of two cars travelling on a straight road. The equations for uniformly accelerated motion are introduced and used to solve problems relating to transport and vertical motion. The independence of the horizontal and vertical components of projectile motion is then considered. The idea that when two bodies collide they exert equal and opposite forces on each other (Newton’s Third law) is applied to various types of collision, including explosions, recoil and rocket propulsion. A particle model is used to explain the pressure of a gas in terms of the rate of change of momentum of particles striking a wall, creating a force.

The remainder of the unit considers wave motion, especially electromagnetic waves. It begins by considering the use of radio waves of different frequencies for various purposes, from mobile phones to radio and television broadcasts, and explains why we use microwaves for satellite communications. General wave properties, including diffraction and interference, are considered. The way in which light is refracted is analysed before describing some of the many applications of total internal reflection. The unit ends by studying the properties of convex lenses and their use in devices such as cameras and projectors.


In this section students will learn how resistors are used to control the flow of current in a circuit and how ohmic and non-ohmic resistors behave differently. Then they will explore how these devices can be used as the input to logic systems where outputs can be controlled depending on the input signals. The importance of the transistor and the rapid expansion of microelectronics will be mentioned.

The main part of the unit focuses on electromagnetism and electromagnetic induction. Students will learn how electric motors are constructed and how practical motors are used in the home. They will discover how electricity is generated and then how a.c. voltage can be increased or decreased by the use of transformers.

The unit ends by considering how diodes and capacitors work, and how a combination of these can change a.c. in the mains to d.c. for use in some household gadgets.

Controlled Assessment Help

Top Tips for Carrying Out Research

Top Tips for Displaying Data

Top Tips for Evaluating

Science Controlled Assessment Research Checklist for Students

This is a link to a guide for the controlled assessment which will give parents and students a general idea of what the students will be expected to do:

Candidate Guidelines for Controlled Assessment

Revision Tips for Exams

10 Ways to be successful in the Summe exam for Core Additional Science

Making the most of  your revision guide

Supporting your child at exam time:

Supporting your child at exam time

Extra Curricular Activites

Regular Trips and Enrichment Activities

Key stage 4

  • Rollercoaster workshop at Thorpe Park
  • Astronomy Masterclass at University of Sussex
  • GCSE Science Live!
  • Medics Conference at Varndean
  • Workshops at the Royal Institution: New Technology, Motors and Generators, Forensics
  • Physics workshops at University of Sussex
  • RSC Chemistry Challenge – regional finalists in 2014
  • Salters Chemistry residential Camp for year 10 Triple science
  • Antweight Challenge (Robo-Wars type competition in school

Key Stage 3

  • John Muir Residential Trip June 2015
  • Brighton Science Fair
  • BRIGHT MED scheme advancing into medicine Year 8 into 9
  • Big Energy Project in association with EDF Energy
  • Inflatable Planetarium in association with Sussex University
  • Primary School Workshops  (Experiencing Science at Secondary Schools)

Careers In Science

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