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Devonport High School for Girls

Name of Head of Department

Mr D Prideaux, BSc (Hons), PGCE

Statement of Intent

The science curriculum at DHSG is designed to support our learners in their development to become scientifically literate citizens of the 21st century. We aim to engage their curiosity; to help them learn how to ask the right questions about the world around them and the society we live in. We will support them in developing the skills and knowledge required to investigate their questions and then to interpret and critically evaluated the answers they find. We achieve this through the study of the three traditional scientific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all of which are underpinned by practical principles and investigation and will include learning about how scientists work. 

We ensure that students have a firm scientific knowledge and skill base to progress with confidence through the Key Stages and finally progress into the wider world with the scientific tools required to pursue their individually chosen further study and future career pathways. We will teach our students how to use mathematics in science and not assume the transference of maths skills whilst ensuring our curriculum is assessable to all. 

In Biology, we encourage students to gain a deep appreciation and understanding of living organisms at every level:

  • at the cellular level, where the importance of the building block of life, and how it meets the different demands imposed upon them, is studied;
  • at the organism level, and how the different organ systems in both plants and animals produce viable organisms that meet the challenges of survival;
  • at the ecosystem level, where different organisms interact to produce the complex and interdependent food webs found on Earth today.

This is achieved at each Stage: 

  • Lower Years: Adherence to the National Curriculum for Science (Biology);
  • Middle Years: AQA GSCE Biology or AQA Combined Sciences Trilogy (Biology);
  • Upper years: OCR Biology A.

Curriculum Programmes of Study 


Cycle Content

Year 7

Cycle 1

Cells: observing plant and animal cells; specialised cells; movement of substances and unicellular organisms

Reproduction: adolescence; reproductive systems; fertilisation and implantation

Cycle 2

Reproduction: development of fetus; the menstrual cycle; flowers and pollination; fertilisation and germination; seed dispersal

Structure and function of body systems: levels of organisation; gas exchange; breathing

Cycle 3

Adaptation and inheritance: competition and adaptation; adapting to change; variation; continuous variation; inheritance; natural selection and extinction

Year 8 


Cycle 1

Health and lifestyle: nutrients; food tests; unhealthy diet; digestive system; drugs; alcohol and smoking  

Cycle 2

Ecosystem processes: Chemosynthesis; aerobic respiration; anaerobic respiration; food chains and food webs; disruption to food chains and food webs; ecosystems

Cycle 3

Ecosystem processes: photosynthesis; leaves; plants minerals
Structure and function of body systems: skeleton; movements (joints); movement (muscles)

Year 9

Cycle 1

Cell structure and transport
Organisation and digestion

Cycle 2

Circulation in plants and animals
Disease - communicable

Cycle 3

Disease – non-communicable

Year 10 

Cycle 1

Energetics – Photosynthesis and respiration
Coordination and control


Cycle 2

Coordination and control


Cycle 3

Reproduction and variation

Year 11

Cycle 1

Adaptations and ecosystems
Autumn mock


Cycle 2

Human impact on the environment
Spring mock


Cycle 3

Human impact on the environment
Examination preparation

Lower Years Assessment Framework

To view the Lower Years Assessment Framework for Science, please click here

Middle Years Exam and Specification Information

Middle years Triple Science Options: AQA GCSE Biology is delivered.

GCSE Biology students follow all of units 4.1 – 4.8 found on the GCSE Biology Specification link below. Practical skills are assessed throughout the course and examined as part of the final examination series.

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE Biology Specification

Middle years Double Science option: AQA Combined Science: Trilogy is delivered

Combined science students follow selected elements of units 4.1 – 4.8 found on the GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy Specification link below. Practical skills are assessed throughout the course and examined as part of the final examination series.

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the AQA website GCSE Combined  Science: Trilogy Specification

Extra-curricular activities 

The department organises regular enrichment activities for students. Sixth form Biologists compete in the Biology Olympiad each Spring, regularly winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. The department also plays a role in the school’s flourishing Gardening club, which runs at lunchtime.

The department also takes students to the Peninsula medical school as part of the 'Men in White' activity and takes part in the year 10 Biology Challenge.

There is always a laboratory open at lunchtime and students are encouraged to drop in to seek extra help or catch up with missed work.