"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." Albert Einstein


Science at NLS has gone from strength to strength over recent years, with the department consistently performing significantly above the national average with results that have been in the top 10% of the country.

Science is split into the three main subjects divisions of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, each lead by a Head of Subject with a wealth of specialist knowledge. There is also a dedicated Head of Department, whose role is to ensure that the high standards for everyone are maintained throughout.

Key Stage 3

Our year 7 & 8 course aims both to spark an interest in science whilst at the same time ensuring that pupils are well prepared to begin their GCSE studies in year 9. The two-year course is tailored to the new curriculum, and the topics covered are set out below:


Please note, Year 7 also receive an introduction to science before moving on to studying scientific investigation skills when they first arrive at NLS.

Pupils will attend three science lessons each week, and will study each subject as a block, before moving on to the next.

Classes are not set according to ability in year 7 & 8 and instead, each lesson, and any accompanying resources, are fully differentiated to ensure maximum progress for every child. The support of teaching assistants is also widely available where required.

Learning Beyond the Classroom will be set once a week and will comprise either a short online mini-test or written summary questions on content taught during lesson time in order to consolidate pupils’ learning.

There will be an assessment at the end of each topic listed in the table above, in the form of either an online test or a paper-based test.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Science is compulsory for all students at NLS. There are however, two pathways, namely:

  1. 1.GCSE Combined Science, and
  2. 2.GCSE Triple Science.

The former will result in students achieving two GCSEs, with 5 lessons a week in year 10 and 11 dedicated to covering all three divisions of science; whilst the latter will result in students achieving three GCSEs, with 8 lessons a week in year 10 and 11 split between the three divisions of science, each taught by a subject specialist. The extra time dedicated to the Triple Science course allows for a more in depth look at particular concepts, as well as additional content not covered in the Combined Science course (for information on the topics covered please click here). It is preferred that those students wishing to study Science beyond their GCSEs choose Triple Science. Regardless of the route your child wishes to take, they will begin studying for their GCSEs in Science in year 9, where the focus is on honing working scientifically skills as well as applying mathematical skills in science.

Both courses are linear, with an external assessment at the end of the three years, after which, students will be awarded a grade between 9 and 1, 9 being the top level. Students will be examined at either higher or foundation level. Higher papers are awarded grades 9 to 4 and foundation papers are awarded grades 5 to 1(for more information on the final model assessment please click here).

Learning Beyond the Classroom is set twice weekly for those students studying Combined Science and thrice weekly, one per subject, for those studying Triple Science. Students will also be expected to revise for tests at the end of each unit. Such regular testing allows teachers to make accurate assessment as to students’ progress and thus to plan accordingly in order to ensure each student achieves their full potential.  

As of 2016, in order to implement the government reform to all GCSEs, students will study the OCR Gateway Science Suite specification. This specification provides a more traditional grounding in science with practical activities embedded throughout in order to secure student engagement. More specifically, students following the Combined Science pathway will complete 16 required practicals, and students following the Triple Science pathway will complete 8 required practicals per subject. Written questions assessing the skills acquired during these required practicals will make up 15% of the final exams (for more information on the breakdown of the final assessment please click here).  

Key Stage 5



Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths and, as such Biology is a popular course at NLS. Results have been above the national average in recent years and as such many of our students have gone on to University to study biological related degrees.

Exam board: AQA

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all the AS exams at the end of their AS course. The AS course is a standalone course and does not form part of the A-Level. Students wishing to complete the A-Level will have all of their exams at the end of the A-Level course.

Course entry requirements

Grade BB Dual Science or B’s in Single Science GCSEs including Biology, and a Grade B in Maths.

What is the course about?

The course is divided into biological topics, each containing different key concepts of Biology. Once the key features of a Biological topic have been developed, applications are then considered.

The aims of the course are to encourage candidates to:

• Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for Biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers in Biology;

• Appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society;

• Develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works;

• Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of Biology and how they relate to each other.

What skills will I learn?

The Biology A-Level course helps students develop a number of skills:

• How to collect data and evaluate it

• How to investigate facts and use deduction

• How to put over your point of view effectively

• How to take responsibility for your own learning

How will the course be taught?

The teaching is a combination of student centred activities, class discussion, student presentations, private study, independent learning, use of IT and experimental and investigative work. Work books and text books are provided and students will be regularly tested to support their progress and develop exam technique.



The importance of chemistry as a central science is reflected in its priority requirement in many fields of science such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacy and geological and environmental sciences. With results at NLS above the national average for Chemistry, many of our former students have gone to university to study in these areas of chemistry. Since chemistry involves logical thought and critical analysis, many non-science related courses at university accept those who have studied chemistry.

Exam board: AQA

The specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course. This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all exams in May/June of a single year.

Course entry requirements

Grade BB Dual Science or B’s in Single Science GCSEs including Chemistry, and a Grade B in Maths.

What is the course about?

Chemistry is an active and exciting discipline which dominates all our lives. It acts as an interface between the atomic and subatomic world of the physicist and the molecular world of the biologist. It also embraces aspects of Engineering, Geography and Art.

How will the course be taught?

A variety of teaching styles are used such as small group practicals, individual practicals, student presentations, modelling and data handling.



Physics A and AS levels are interesting, practical, challenging and very highly regarded by employers and Universities alike. It is therefore a popular choice at NLS with many students choosing to go on to study Physics to degree level. However, these qualifications, in which students achieve above the national average at NLS, are also relevant or recommended for a huge number of careers and are highly valued in many careers that do not involve Physics per se. 

Exam board: AQA Specification A

There are now two courses to choose from in Physics, the one year AS qualification and the two year A Level qualification. For the AS qualification the exams are at the end of the Y12. For the A Level qualification the exams all come at the end of Y13.

Course entry requirements

Grade BB Dual Science or Bs in Single Science GCSEs, including Physics, and a Grade B in Maths.

What is the course about?

AS and first year of A-Level

1. Measurements and their errors, including use of SI units and their prefixes, limitations of physical measurement, estimation of physical quantities

2. Particles and radiation, including constituents of the atom, particle interactions, collisions of electrons with atoms

3. Waves, including progressive waves, interference, diffraction

4. Mechanics and energy, including projectile motion, Newton’s Laws of Motion

5. Electricity, including current/voltage characteristics, circuits, electromotive force and internal resistance

Second year of A-Level

6. Further mechanics and thermal physics, including periodic motion, thermal energy transfer, molecular kinetic theory model

7. Fields, including Newton’s Law of Gravitation, orbits of planets and satellites, magnetic flux density

8. Nuclear physics, including evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay, nuclear instability

Plus one option from:

• Astrophysics, including classification of stars by luminosity, Doppler effect, detection of exoplanets

• Medical physics, including physics of vision, ECG machines, x-ray imaging

• Engineering physics, including rotational dynamics, thermodynamics and engines

• Turning points in physics, including discovery of the electron, Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity

• Electronics, including discrete semiconductor devices, data communication systems

Enrichment activities

The department offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for all year groups. The weekly Science club allows students to explore Science above the curriculum in a more creative way. The STEM club allows pupils to collaborate their Science, Maths and Technology skills and apply them to challenging situation or scenarios. The department have recently invested in a high end telescope and have set up an after school Astronomy club which is ran by a team of specialists. In addition to this the department give pupils the opportunity to take part in university lab work days, inter schools competitions, field trips as well as inviting specialists from industry and local universities to deliver seminars and conferences.










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