Science is embedded in all our lives and helps to explain the world around us. As such at City Academy Norwich, we strive to equip our students with the knowledge and skills that enable them to engage with the elements of science they encounter every day, and open doors to a huge breadth of careers from medicine to agriculture, to engineering and beyond.

We have a large team of specialist science teachers, who utilise our six science classrooms to engage pupils in the curriculum, both through their knowledge and passion for the subject and by creating concrete learning experiences through practical activities. Our curriculum is designed to build a wealth of science capital and raise their aspirations through the promotion of extra-curricular and cross-curricular links and by raising students’ awareness of careers in the field. Alongside this, we explicitly develop students’ scientific literacy, thereby not only allowing them to access their final exams, but also question and critique big scientific questions.

Key Stage 3

At City Academy Norwich, we study a five-year spiralled curriculum. In KS3, we look to build upon the students’ learning during KS2 and develop a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to enable our students to be successful in their GCSEs. Across year 7, 8 and 9, students will study a series of ten ‘big ideas’, three from the discipline of Biology, three from Chemistry and four from Physics. Within these ideas, the department utilises a range of dynamic and engaging activities to enhance students’ learning experience such as regular group activities, interactive demonstrations, and experiments. Students will encounter each big idea twice throughout their KS3 curriculum, thereby interleaving key concepts and promoting retrieval.

Alongside this, our students will all complete a series of ‘Working Scientifically’ units throughout KS3 focusing on developing skills as part of the scientific method. The skills covered progress in complexity from how to use equipment safely at the start of year 7, to writing scientific reports during year 9. These are then embedded within practicals completed as part of the ten big ideas, so that their skills can be applied to a specific scientific context whilst building confidence.

Students will undertake regular in-class assessments and end of topic tests to allow us to monitor their learning and check for misconceptions. This then informs teachers’ planning and intervention enabling us to maximise students’ progress moving forward and adapt our teaching to support our students where possible. These formative assessment tasks provide excellent opportunities for students to metacognitively reflect on their understanding and as such independent revision is promoted through our online platforms Seneca and Tassomai.

Year 7 Content:

  1. Working Scientifically 1 – Lab Safety
  2. Earth 1 – Earth Structure & Universe
  3. Ecosystems 1 – Plant Reproduction & Interdependence
  4. Waves 1 – Light & Sound
  5. Working Scientifically 2 – Taking Measurements
  6. Reactions 1 – Metals and Non-metals & Acids and alkalis
  7. Energy 1 – Energy Costs & Energy Transfers
  8. Organisms 1 – Movement & Cells
  9. Working Scientifically 3 – Using and Presenting Data
  10. Forces 1 – Speed & Gravity
  11. Genes 1 – Variation & Human Reproduction
  12. Matter 1 – Particle Model & Separating Mixtures

Year 8 Content:

  1. Working Scientifically 4 – Planning an investigation
  2. Electromagnets 1 – Voltage and Resistance & Current
  3. Earth 2 – Earth Resources & Climate
  4. Waves 2 – Wave properties & Wave effects
  5. Ecosystems 2 – Photosynthesis & Respiration
  6. Working Scientifically 5 – Evaluating Data
  7. Reactions 2 – Chemical Energy & Types of Reaction
  8. Energy 2 – Heating and Cooling & Work
  9. Working Scientifically 6 – Evaluating a practical
  10. Forces 2 – Contact Forces & Pressure
  11. Working Scientifically 7 – Writing conclusions
  12. Organisms 2 – Breathing & Digestion

Year 9 Content:

  1. Matter 2 – Periodic Table & Elements
  2. Genes 2 – Evolution & Inheritance
  3. Electromagnets 2 – Magnetism & Electromagnetism

Key Stage 4

At City Academy Norwich, all of our students currently complete the AQA Combined Science: Trilogy course. This means that all students receive two GCSEs in Science, with their grade calculated based on their total number of marks across their six exams at the end of Year 11. Students can be entered into either higher tier, for those targeting grades 6 and above, or foundation tier, for their final exams. This decision is finalised following students’ second mock period in Year 11. 

Throughout Years 9, 10 and 11, students build upon their foundation of knowledge and skills developed during Key Stage 3,  and apply these to more complex and abstract concepts. All students will complete 21 required practicals, which are subject to specific exam questions, and additionally take part in a range of other science experiments to deepen their understanding, promote their curiosity and raise their awareness of the application of their knowledge to real world settings.


Just like in Key Stage Three, students will undertake regular in class assessments. During this time, there is a greater emphasis placed on exam technique and application of knowledge, so students will be presented with exam questions regularly in class and in assessments to develop their familiarity and confidence with answering this distinctive style of questioning.

Mock Exams

In addition to our in-class assessments, students will undertake 3 sets of mock exams, firstly at the end of Year 10, then in both November and March in Year 11. These mock periods provide us with rigorous data on student progress, informing intervention strategies, next-step conversations as well as our tiering decisions. At the end of year 11, students will then undertake 6 papers, as shown in the following table:


Enrichment Opportunities

We look to provide a plethora of opportunities to enhance and encourage students in their science studies within our lessons but also offer many extra-curricular activities targeted to the particular interests of our students. In recent years, we have run regular trips to the Science Museum, Colchester Zoo, the Natural History Museum, as well as organised for organisations such as the National Space Centre, the Royal Engineers and Exotic Animal Encounters. The department has equally hosted clubs in school on a range of topics, from Youth STEMM Award groups, the CREST Award groups, Astrology and a KS3 science club. If your child has a particular interest in a specific field of science, please encourage them to speak to a member of the department so we can do our best to tailor our extra-curricular programme to make it as exciting and engaging as possible.

Career Opportunities linked to Science