In Year 9, all students start on their GCSE programme of study in either Trilogy Combined Science, which earns two GCSEs, or choose the option pathway that is the separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics GCSE courses, with each being awarded a separate GCSE. Both programmes terminate in exams at the end of Year 11.
Trilogy students will be timetabled for 10 hours of lessons in a fortnight and will usually be supported by two teachers, whereas Triple Students have 5 lessons in each subject per fortnight and will have a subject specialist teaching them.
The courses are topic based across the three core subjects Biology, Chemistry and Physics and provide the fundamental knowledge and skills required to access GCSE examinations including links to English, maths, ICT, SMSC and career opportunities. In addition to the scientific content, there are many opportunities for students to explore how Science is relevant to academic and industrial worlds beyond High School and Sixth Form. Many of the lessons are practical based giving students the chance to develop, test and evaluate their own ideas.
Each area of study is broken down into smaller modules which are assessed after, on average, 10 lessons. Students are also required to maintain a practical book, which focuses on the RPA’s (the Required Practical Activities) which have replaced coursework. The practicals are based on the theoretical content of the lesson but include investigative and mathematical skills all of which will be examined and contribute 30% of the marks in the final exams. Students have access to Kerboodle, will be loaned a revision guide and have a wealth of other resources to support their progress.
For the Trilogy Combined Science the exams at the end of Year 11 consist of:
- Biology papers each 1 hour and 15 minutes long and comprising 70 marks each. 10% of the marks will be awarded for mathematical based questions and 30% for questions about the RPA’s
- Chemistry paper of the same duration and comprising 70 marks each. 20% of the marks will be based on mathematical questions and 30% on questions about the RPA’s
- Physics papers of the same duration and comprising 70 marks each. 30% of the marks will be based on mathematical calculation and 30% on questions about the RPA’s
Each paper is worth 16.7% of the total mark
Students will sit exams at either Foundation of Higher level and questions will include multiple choice, structured questions, closed short answer and open responses
Triple Scientists will sit the following exams at the end of Year 11:
- Biology papers each of 1 hour and 45 minutes and comprising 100 marks each
- Chemistry papers of the same duration and comprising 100 marks each
- Physics papers of the same duration and comprising 100 marks each
The style of questions is the same as for the trilogy GCSE exams.
The marks awarded for mathematical calculation and RPAs are the same as for the Trilogy exams.
The practical books for both GCSE pathways are based on a set of practicals that the examination board have identified as being key to students having a rounded understanding of science and how to investigate science.
Whilst Triple Science helps students to prepare for A-level, it is not essential for students to complete this option in order to do any of the A-level Sciences. Students can still do A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics having only completed Trilogy Combined Science GCSE and the Triple pathway is not a requirement. There is also an Applied Science course available with slightly lower entry requirements but which can still earn UCAS points for university entrance purposes.