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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School


In Years 10 and 11, Science is a core subject where each student is assigned to a ‘pathway’ of qualification(s). The following information is therefore provided to inform students and parents, as opposed to being a part of the Preferences process.

We provide two different Science pathways: students are assigned to one of these on the basis of their academic attainment; ability in practical work; attitude to learning; attendance and ability to cope with formal examinations.

GCSE Combined Science pathway                              

This pathway will be followed by the majority of our students, and will result in students earning two GCSE certificates, the grades of which are linked. This qualification is linear: students will sit all their exams at the end of the course. Students will be examined at the end of Year 11 with six 1 hour 15 minute exam papers: two Biology, two Chemistry and two Physics. Each of the papers will assess knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas. Questions in the written exams will partly draw on the knowledge and understanding students have gained, including specific practical activities undertaken during the course.

GCSE Triple Science pathway

This pathway will be followed by a minority of our students, and will result in students earning three GCSE certificates: AQA GCSE Biology, AQA GCSE Chemistry and AQA GCSE Physics.  All three GCSEs are taught throughout Years 10 and 11.  This pathway is referred to as an ‘accelerated route’, as content for three GCSEs is compressed in the same amount of classroom time that Combined Science Pathway students receive in order to study two GCSEs. 

The top 64 Science students based on Year 7 to 9 results are, by default, selected for this pathway.  Students are able to ‘opt out’ if they feel they will not be able to commit the extra time and effort required for the Triple Pathway: in such a scenario those students in positions 65 and below are approached.

The three separate Science GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) will be examined through two 1 hour 45 minute exam papers per subject at the end of Year 11. For each GCSE, questions in the written exams will partly draw on the knowledge and understanding students have gained, including specific practical activities undertaken during the course.             

How will I find out which pathway I have been entered for?

During years 7 to 9 students sit a number of tests which include subject matter taught in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  The results of these tests will be combined with teacher assessments taken throughout, in order to inform the Year 10 and 11 pathway and setting decisions.

Students initially selected for the Triple Pathway will be approached to confirm whether they wish to study this route, and whether they can commit the extra effort and time required to be successful with it.  Should any students express a preference not to follow the Triple Pathway, other students will be approached (on the basis of academic results).

Biology Curriculum 

  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 Organisation
GCSE Topic 2
GCSE Topic 5
Aut.2 Immunity
GCSE Topic 3
GCSE Topic 5
Spr.1 Bioenergetics
GCSE Topic 4
GCSE Topic 6
Spr.2 Bioenergetics
GCSE Topic 4
GCSE Topic 7
Sum.1 Homeostasis
GCSE Topic 5
GCSE Topic 7
Sum.2 Homeostasis
GCSE Topic 5

Chemistry Curriculum 

  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 Structure and Bonding Quantitative Chemistry
Aut.2 Structure and Bonding
Chemical Changes
Spr.1 Chemical Changes
Energy Changes
Organic Chemistry
Spr.2 Energy Changes Organic Chemistry
Sum.1 Chemistry of The Atmosphere Revision
Sum.2 Chemistry of The Atmosphere  


Physics Curriculum 

  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 Forces & motion - 1 Forces & motion - 2
Aut.2 Electricity The particle model of matter
Spr.1 Electricity Magnetism and electromagnetism
Spr.2 Domestic electricity Waves – 2 (Triple Science only)
Sum.1 Waves Space (Triple Science only)
Sum.2 Waves  


Career Pathways 

How will the pathway I follow affect my future choices? 

Both the Science pathways on offer at Notre Dame enable students to progress to study Science subjects at A Level. Please refer to the Sixth Form prospectus for current grade entry requirements.

For more information click on our A level Course pages for

For advice on apprenticeship courses, click here.

Career Options

You can watch a great series of videos of young people who are working in jobs that use science on the BBC Bitesize website.

Green Careers: This is a significant growth sector with a wide variety of roles.  Check out our webpage to find out more.

Creative Industries: explore a wide selection of creative careers

For examples of careers leading from these subjects click on