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The Palmer Catholic Academy

The Palmer Catholic Academy


The Science department aims to provide students with an interest and understanding of science and how science works, as well as developing their practical experimental skills.

The department has ten dedicated science laboratories. There are six laboratories on the ground floor in Bede House, two in Heenan House and two on the first floor in Mother Teresa House. Each building has a science preparation room for the technicians to use, the main preparation room being in Bede House. ICT and multimedia resources are used frequently in lessons with each laboratory having an overhead projector connected to the computer network.

Head of Department

Mr J McCarville



Teachers of Science

Ms R Nelligan - 2 i/c of Dept

Mrs C Osuji

Mr M Larkin

Mrs M Allitt

Mr R Slack

Mrs J Waterhouse

Mr L Hayden

Mr R Miller

Mr S Wiles

Mr N Idris


Science Technicians


Senior Science Technician
Ms N Bridger


Science Technician

Miss M Marshall




All students follow the Science National Curriculum at KS3 throughout Years 7 and 8. Students are assessed regularly through end of unit tests, examinations and ongoing formative assessment. The Year 7 and 8 course is based on the Oxford University Press ‘Science Works’ textbooks.KS3


At KS4, the Science Department provides different pathways to GCSE, enabling students to maximise their particular strengths and interests. At the beginning of Year 9 all students follow a KS3/KS4 transition programme.  This programme has a focus on skills development and is aimed at strengthening and developing important skills required by students at KS4 and beyond.

In Years 9, 10 and 11 some students opt to take 3 GCSE’s in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All GCSE courses involve centre assessed coursework tasks as well as written examination papers.

GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science Pathway

The GCSE Science course is part of the OCR 21st Century Science suite of qualifications and is followed in Years 9 and 10. GCSE Science has an emphasis on scientific literacy - the knowledge and understanding which students need to engage as informed citizens with science-based issues. There are 3 examinations in in Year 10 that make up 75% of the GCSE, the other 25% being centre assessed tasks.

The GCSE Additional Science is followed in Year 11 by students who took GCSE Science in Years 9 and 10. GCSE Additional Science is part of the OCR 21st Century Science suite of qualifications. The course focuses on scientific explanations and models, and gives candidates an insight into how 

scientists develop scientific understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. The Additional Science GCSE is also assessed by examinations (75%) and centre assessed tasks (25%).

Separate Science Pathway

The students who opt for separate sciences (or ‘triple science’) will follow 3 GCSE courses throughout Years 10 and 11: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Each course is part of the OCR 21st Century Science suite of qualifications and each is made up of 7 units. The separate sciences are assessed by written examinations (75%) and centre assessed tasks (25%).


In Years 12 and 13 students can choose to take the following 4 science subjects:




Applied Science

Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses follow the OCR specifications and involve at both AS (Year 12) and A2 (Year 13) centre assessed tasks that make up 20% of the examinations. The remaining 80% is based on written examination papers.

The Applied Science course follows the AQA specification and involves a strong emphasis (66.6%) on portfolio work although there are still some written examinations as well (33.3%).