Head of Science             Mr M Hyde
Head of Physics Dr J Lardge
Head of Chemistry Mr A Harley
Head of Biology Mrs R Pledger
Head of Psychology Mrs J Crossingham
KS3 Coordinator Mr D Andrews
Science Teachers Miss C Barnes, Mrs R Breame, Mr P Goodfellow, Mr J Gransaull, Mr J Groves,    Mrs S Mycock, Mr C O'Malley, Mrs A Rana and Mrs V West
Curriculum Support Mrs M Wade
Science Technicians           Mrs S Tattoo (Senior Technician), Mrs R Eaton, Mrs D McClure and Mrs C Rowe


The Science Department is a very successful area of the school, achieving excellent outcomes at GCSE and A-Level. We aim to deliver excellent education to all our learners and prepare them with the skills needed in life and work. 

At Key Stage 3 learners continue to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills, with an emphasis on 'Scientific skills'.

At Key Stage 4 new learners follow a Combined Science GCSE with the opportunity to study separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

At Key Stage 5 Science subjects are very popular with a large take up in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology and many students going on to study undergraduate Science courses.

Key Stage Three

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Key Stage 3 students at Chelmer Valley study Science for six periods per fortnight on a range of diverse topics, drawn from the different specialisms of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The recent reforms to the KS3 curriculum have enabled us to tailor the course specifically to students’ needs and orientate it more towards developing important scientific enquiry and data analysis skills. Lessons are comprised of a wide range of activities, designed to help students improve their critical thinking skills, such as student- and teacher-led discussions, open-ended practical investigations, rigorous and involving research activities, projects considering how scientific concepts are presented to the general public, and many others. ICT is also used extensively within the Science department, in order to explain difficult scientific concepts, promote engagement and examine more exotic concepts in closer detail. Students are set according to ability, but should the regular assessments show otherwise, students can be moved if necessary.

Key Stage Four

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Students in Year 10 and Year 11 will study either the new Edexcel GCSE in Combined Science or Triple Science. Students have access to the textbook.    

Combined Science

Students study GCSE Science which will include Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics.

Students will have two exams in each of the sciences, a combination of these papers will give the students a grade for Combined Science which ranges from 1-1 to a 9-9.

A large emphasis is placed on ‘How Science Works’ and the science that affects students’ everyday lives, making it an enjoyable course that students feel is relevant to them. 

Triple Science

The Triple Science option is offered to our students with a keen interest and a high aptitude in Science.  Students are taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately by specialist teachers and will achieve a GCSE grade for each.  The students will study the same topics as in ‘Combined Science’ but will also study extension topics in each subject which will extend their understanding of the subject and is excellent preparation for further study at A-level.

Key Stage Five - Biology

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Biology is the science of life and how living things work!

At A level, we follow the AQA GCE courses (7401).  Students have two teachers who will cover different areas of the syllabus.  The 2 year course includes an emphasis on exciting and innovative practical exercises in all of the areas covered.  In this course you will discuss and research issues in the news with a focus on genetics and biotechnology, plan experiments, collect data, analyse experimental results and make conclusions. You will learn how scientific models are developed, the applications and implications of science, benefits and risks and how society uses science to make decisions. 

The Biology department takes a field trip to Flatford Mill, Colchester, either towards the end of year 12 or at the start of year13. This course offers a fantastic opportunity for students to undertake ecological investigations in a variety of inspiring habitats and complete relevant Required Practicals. Students will develop their practical skills, use of apparatus and techniques, and deepen their understanding of ecological syllabus content and synoptic links through first-hand experience. A wide range of mathematical skills are embedded into every course, including a variety of graphical forms, calculations such as Simpson’s index of diversity, standard deviation, uncertainties and percentage error, and the appropriate use of statistical tests. 

Biology is a useful qualification for many courses and careers including biomedical engineering, nursing, healthcare of people and animals, optician, environmental health sciences, biotechnology, physiologist, natural resource management, wildlife biologist, archaeology, marine biology, forest management, agricultural industries, teacher training, ecology, fish farming, crop management, nutritionists and many more.


Key Stage Five - Chemistry

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Chemistry never fails to cause a reaction!

At A level, students follow the AQA Chemistry course. This aims to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for Chemistry, including developing an interest in further study and careers in the subject. There is a very large practical component which gives students many opportunities to develop their practical skills. These are assessed throughout the course and are written up in their lab book. Topics of assessment covered in Year 1 are: Atoms and reactions, bonding and structure, the periodic table, hydrocarbons, alcohols and halogenoalkanes and energy. The topics of assessment covered in the Year 2 are: Polymers and synthesis, rings, acids and amines, chemical analysis, rates and equilibrium and transition elements. In addition there are opportunities to gain an understanding of how Chemistry is used in careers such as forensic science by attending various workshops throughout the academic year.

Key Stage Five - Physics

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Physics is the gateway to the Universe!

At Chelmer, it is a very successful and popular subject. At present we have three staff involved in the teaching of A level Physics sharing a wealth of experience in all areas of the curriculum.

Physics A level covers topics as diverse as the properties of fundamental elementary particles and astrophysical phenomena that may lead to understanding the origins of the Universe. It is also the basis for most technological developments and is important in helping us understand some of the most important and challenging problems of our time, such as climate change and energy generation.

We currently run the AQA course.

Physics Year 1 comprises of five modules with a further three making up the full A-Level in Year 2. At the end of the two year course the students will sit three examinations, two will be mainly theory and the other will focus on the core practicals students complete at write up throughout the two years.

The final year is also supplemented by a trip to CERN (approx. cost £350-400) where students can see particle accelerators while rubbing shoulders with multiple Noble Prize winners.  The students spend three days in Geneva, experiencing Swiss culture and seeing the sights.  It is an opportunity for them to experience how scientists collaborate on experiments, while also testing their acquired knowledge from Year 1.

Physics A level complements subjects such as Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Technology and many others. It can lead to careers in research, engineering, medicine and is widely accepted by top Universities for entry to any number of courses.

Extended Learning and Enrichment

Science is everywhere!  A phrase we strongly believe at Chelmer.  So to facilitate that we explore as many areas of Science as we can.  We encourage learning inside and outside the classroom and have a positive response from our students.


Science Club

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Science club is run by Miss Barnes, who is also one of our Science teachers, and the students enjoy the opportunity to explore aspects of science, for which there is no time in the curriculum.  This club is open to all students from Years 7 to 9 on a Wednesday after school, 3:15-4:15 pm. 



A GCSE course run by Mr O'Malley after school for a mixed class of Year 9 and 10 students leading to a GCSE examination. There are two examinations that contribute to the overall grade, paper 1 is focused on visual astronomy (without the use of telescopes) and paper 2 is focused on aided astronomy (the use of telescopes). The course explores all aspects of space from Earth to the outer reaches of our Universe.  Students are required to complete two practical observing projects during the course. To supplement the course the students also get to visit Greenwich Observatory and also the Jodrell Bank radio observatory.  The students have opportunities to do observations using the wealth of resources available to them including telescopes, binoculars, the naked eye and our very own observatory!

Science Week

An exciting week to fully explore and appreciate some of the wonders of science.  The students will participate in science-themed lessons in other subjects, while also engaging in some interactive and unique science lessons.  A science lab is also open at lunchtimes for a year group to come and see some cool science demonstrations and join in with some of their favourite experiments.

Learning outside the classroom

Science is all about exploring the world around us and how better to do that than going around the world…

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Biology – A level Biology students carry out fieldwork at Flatford Mill Environmental Centre during Year 12 to help them with their AS practical work.  This trip to the idyllic area of Suffolk helps students to fully appreciate the diversity of the natural world around them. 


Chemistry – AS Chemistry students have an opportunity to go to a forensics lab and carry out CSI tasks for a day.  


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Physics – Year 13 Physics students have the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the beauty of Geneva and the Swiss scenery and more importantly to explore the largest research laboratory on this planet.  Year 12 students get the chance to visit Sizewell B, nuclear power station to explore the careers on offer with a qualification in Physics. When possible trips to University masterclasses are also offered. The Institute of Physics run talks at Anglia Ruskin University, which students are encouraged to attend to develop their independent learning.

Key Stage 5 Psychology

Psychology is one of the most popular subjects studied in the sixth form and the third most popular A-level in the UK.  Now fully classified as a science, psychology offers opportunities to study the human mind and behaviour through a series of modules, including work on:

  • Memory - what makes us remember or forget?
  • The development of attachments - how do we learn to form bonds with others?
  • Social influence - how do other people affect you?
  • Research methods - how do psychologists carry out research?
  • Approaches in psychology - how do different approaches explain human behaviour?
  • Relationships - why do some last while others don't?
  • Abnormality - what is normal or abnormal, and how do psychologists explain eating disorders?

The course also promotes independent learning skills, critical thinking skills, effective group work and practical research skills.  As such, psychology fits in well with just about any combination of A-level subjects as well as preparing students for a wide range of Higher Education and career opportunities.

The department has good resources, including textbooks, interactive lessons using a variety of teaching & learning styles and has a good record of achievement in the examinations.

The skills that you will be assessed on are:

    • AO1 Knowledge and understanding of science and of How Science Works
    • AO2 Application of knowledge and understanding of science and of How Science Works
    • AO3 How Science Works – Psychology (Designing, carrying out and evaluating research)


You will be expected to do at least one hour's homework and/or preparation after each lesson. Some of this work will involve reading and summarising key points from the textbook or other sources, answering examination questions, completing tables or analysis, or preparing for class activities such as discussions, group work or role play.

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