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St Francis Xavier


The Science curriculum at St Francis Xavier School is delivered by enthusiastic
subject specialists with the expertise to facilitate outstanding progress enabling students to maximise their full potential.
Our flexible curriculum enriches students understanding of science in the world and is interrelated to current issues, ethics and the impact of science. It is taught in a way that ensures students have the knowledge and vocabulary to enable them to develop curiosity about the natural world, insight into working scientifically, and appreciation of the relevance of science to their everyday lives.

As well as providing the fundamentals of biology, chemistry and physics our curriculum is designed to give students the opportunity to think independently, apply their knowledge to a vast range of contexts and develop practical skills.  This in turn empowers the students to choose the appropriate pathway be that, academic or vocational.

Curriculum Team

Mrs R Meek – Curriculum Leader, Biology
Mrs L McPhee – Physics
Mr A Nolan – Chemistry
Miss R Hurton - Chemistry
Mrs S Hawkins - Biology
Mrs C Knight - Biology
Mrs M Dixon – Technician
Miss A Farokhinia - Technician
Mrs K Fisher – Science Teaching Assistant 

Key Stage 3 Topics

Year 7

Students are taught 5 lessons per fortnight.

Living systems, Diet and Health, Genetics and evolution, Matter, Atoms, Elements and Compounds, Reactions, Forces and motion, Pressure and moments, Electricity and magnetism.

Year 8

Students are taught 5 lessons per fortnight.

Photosynthesis, respiration and circulation, Reproduction and growth, Ecosystems, 
Acids and Alkalis, Organic chemistry, The Earth’s resources, Energy, Light and Sound, Space and radioactivity.

Key Stage 4 / GCSE Topics

Combined Science, Trilogy Specification AQA (2 GCSEs)
8 hours per fortnight (this course starts in year 9 with all students. It is available for students on the blue and purple route).

Separate Sciences AQA (3 GCSEs)
13 hours per fortnight (these are chosen as option subjects on the purple route and starts in year 10).

Topics taught within both GCSE choices

Biology units including: 

Cell biology, Organisation, Infection and response, Bioenergetics, Homeostasis and response, Inheritance, variation and evolution, Ecology.

Chemistry units including:

Atomic structure and the periodic table, Bonding, structure and the properties of matter, Quantitative chemistry, Chemical changes, Energy changes, The rate and extent of chemical change, Organic chemistry, Chemical analysis, Chemistry of the atmosphere, Using resources.

Physics units including: 

Forces, Energy, Waves, Electricity, Magnetism and electromagnetism, Particle model of matter, Atomic structure.

GCSE Assessment

There are six exam papers for both courses:

Two biology, two chemistry and two physics. Each of the papers will assess knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas.

Students must also complete a series of required practicals over the three year course which will be examined on the written papers.

Wider Curriculum

In addition to the timetabled lessons the Science department enhances the curriculum through a number of clubs and activities:

STEM club (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
Chemistry Club

We also have strong links with the following organisations:
Durham University