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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College


Head of Department: Emma Parsons (Acting)

Welcome to the Science Department at Ivybridge Community College.

Statement of Intent

The aim of the Ivybridge Community College Science Department is to develop free-thinking learners of the future by nurturing curiosity and sharing our own passion in engaging Science lessons.

We have designed our curriculum to teach our students the skills they need to access the world around them.  We believe that engaging with the world in a scientific way will enable them to make informed decisions based on evidence, now and in the future.


We offer a variety of student-centred courses to suit the variety of students who will study them, including Combined Science, Separate Sciences (which is non-selective) and Entry Level Science (co-taught with GCSE Combined Science) for Years 9-11 and Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Applied Science for Years 12-13.  This allows our students to make the choices they want to make at those levels, but also later in life. We teach the topics in those courses in an order that we feel aids understanding and progression and allows students to develop the skills they need to be able to move on to the next stage.

Our lessons are inspiring and engaging and we use up-to-date models of learning to help our students retain the information.  The Science Department worked with the Research Schools Network and the Education Endowment Foundation in 2018-19 to learn about and practice the Self-Testing Toolkit, which uses a series of strategies to promote long term memory, involving interleaving, repetition and self-testing.  This is now being used at the whole College level.

We are closely linked with the Institute of Physics and the Ogden Trust and are currently involved in a study into balancing outcomes and participation of A-Level Physics and other subjects between genders.

Our lessons are well resourced by our experienced and specialised team.  We are supported by a strong team of well-qualified, knowledgeable and proactive Technicians.

Science students at Ivybridge Community College receive a large breadth of enrichment opportunities to encourage a love of Science.  They are inspired by our fantastic team of well qualified and passionate staff.  We have a long-established Science Club, Sustainability Club, many trips and in-house enrichment.  We run a Science Enrichment Week package, taking students on Science-based trips and holding in-College Science workshops.  Science Week 2020 at Ivybridge Community College focussed on Science careers, with many outside speakers in scientific jobs coming in to talk to our students about life in their profession and conduct the kind of practical tasks their career involves.

The Ivybridge Community College Science Department has a strong belief in sustainability, to help ensure that our students have the same opportunities in the future as we have now. Our Sustainability Club develops the participating students as leaders who influence the whole College.

We are proud of the scientists we are helping to create.  Some examples of the scientific courses our Year 13 students left to embark upon in July 2019 are Osteopathic Medicine, Forensic Science, Aerospace Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Science, Medicine, Zoology and Building Surveying and the Environment.

The Director of Science is Mrs Denise Smith.  We have three Deputy Heads of Department; Jon Lyall, the Head of Biology, Richard O’Hara, the Head of Chemistry and Richard Barry, the Head of Physics.  They each lead a team of specialist teachers.  We have four Assistant Team Leaders; Jo Wright, the Assistant Head of Biology with responsibility for Entry Level Science, Ben Stancombe, the Assistant Head of Chemistry, Jon Hargreaves the Assistant Head of Physics and Jon Shellard, responsible for Applied Science.  We also have a well-qualified and experienced team of seven Science Technicians and a Resource Assistant to support the teaching. Many of our team hold whole College responsibilities.


The Department has twenty-one well-equipped laboratories and a Sixth Form Projects Room.  Each laboratory is equipped with class sets of a good range of frequently used apparatus items, to facilitate effective practical and investigation work.  Every laboratory is equipped with a data projector and interactive whiteboard.  Our Science Technicians are based in four Prep Rooms.

Current provision for students also includes a Science Computer Room with a suite of twenty-six full PCs, a laptop trolley and a tablet trolley for use in laboratories, data logging equipment, an optics room, a wildlife pond and a greenhouse. 


Science at Key Stages 3 and 4 

Our Science Curriculum for Years 7-11

In Science, our Year 7 students begin by studying the most fundamental and updated concepts of Science.  All students have six hours of Science per fortnight in Years 7 and 8, based in our Science laboratories, with the additional use of our computer suite. At GCSE, they follow either GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy, GCSE Separate Sciences or Entry Level Science, co-taught with GCSE Combined Science, all AQA courses. Both the Trilogy course and the Separate Sciences course prepare our students well for A-Level.

We build on essential concepts and skills throughout every module to ensure that our students understand why they are learning what they are learning and why each step involved in the planning, implementation and analysis of an experiment are important.


Science at Key Stage 5   

Our Science Curriculum for Years 12-13

At Key Stage 5, we offer OCR A-Level Biology, Salters (OCR) A-Level Chemistry, OCR A-Level Physics, and the AQA Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science.

We offer many opportunities alongside these courses, to allow our students to put their learning into context and inspire them to consider a career in Science, including field work and university trips.  Some examples of the scientific courses our Year 13 students left to embark upon in July 2019 are Osteopathic Medicine, Forensic Science, Aerospace Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Science, Medicine, Zoology and Building Surveying and the Environment.

A Level in Biology A

  • Cell Structure
  • Biological Molecules
  • Nucleotides and nucleic acids
  • Enzymes
  • Biological Membranes
  • Cell division, diversity and organisation
  • Exchange Surfaces
  • Transport in Animals
  • Transport in Plants
  • Communicable diseases, prevention and immunity
  • Biodiversity
  • Classification and evolution
  • Communication and Excretion
  • Nerves and Hormones
  • Plant and Animal responses
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Cellular Control
  • Patterns of inheritance
  • Manipulating Genomes
  • Cloning and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

A Level in Chemistry B (Salters) (H033)

  • Development of practical skills in chemistry throughout the following topics:
  • Elements of life
  • Developing fuels
  • Elements from the sea
  • The ozone story
  • What’s in a medicine?

A Level Physics (AQA 7407, 7408)

  • Development of Practical Skills
  • Foundations of Physics
  • Forces and Motion
  • Electrons, waves and photons
  • Newtonian world and astrophysics
  • Particles and medical physics


AQA Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science

  • Unit 1 – Key concepts in science
  • Unit 2 – Applied Experimental Techniques
  • Unit 3 – Science in the modern world
  • Unit 4 – The human body
  • Unit 5 – Investigating science
  • Unit 6 - Medical Physics