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The science faculty at Bryanston has enjoyed considerable academic success and over half of our sixth-form pupils choose at least one science as part of their programme of study.

After some introductory work the IGCSE suite of science courses is followed to GCSE with specialist teaching in all subjects. A range of options can be taken in the sixth form to support the dedicated future scientist, medic, engineer or vet as well as those who wish to include science in a programme that encompasses a broad range of subjects.

The design of the Sanger Centre was heavily influenced by the experience and needs of the teaching staff. The teaching ethos of the science faculty is incorporated into the architecture of the building. Accessibility to resources, both practical and human, is achieved through the large, open assignment areas, while the teaching laboratories offer space for a vast range of practical activities for all year groups.

Abigail Elliot
Head of Junior Science



The first year at Bryanston is an amalgam of IGCSE material and original material developed by Bryanston staff to introduce a range of scientific ideas and techniques. As the year progresses, so more IGCSE material is included, providing academic demand and challenging material early in a pupil’s Bryanston career. In C and B (years 10 and 11) pupils have a choice between the Edexcel IGCSE Triple Award and Dual Award science courses. Tutors and parents are given some statistical guidance, as well as feedback from class teachers as to which option will best suit their pupils. 

  • GCSE
  • IB Diploma
  • A level
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Practical Endorsement

A level

Biology, chemistry and physics are also available as A level courses. By choosing an A level pathway, all three sciences can be taken together or individually as desired.


Biology is a demanding scientific course with considerable factual content, developing biological concepts from GCSE and introducing new topics from the cutting edge of applied science. Each section builds on those that preceded it, effecting spiral learning, and applies the biology to relevant situations, contextualising theory. The exam emphasis is on the application of knowledge and understanding unfamiliar scenarios and drawing together the various strands of the subject. Key practicals need to be undertaken during the program of study and knowledge of these is assessed in a written paper at the end of the course.


This course takes some of the ideas from GCSE and explores them to a much deeper and advanced level. Pupils find it rewarding and inspiring to take their understanding of the nature of matter much further. There are three strands to the subject at A level and beyond. Physical Chemistry is quantitative and includes topics such as rate, equilibrium, and pH. Inorganic Chemistry focuses on specific areas of the Periodic Table and the detail and patterns in behaviour of some of the elements, such as the transition metals. Organic Chemistry greatly expands in its scope from the hydrocarbons studied at GCSE to look at many other families of carbon compounds and their significance in the modern world, such as carbonyls, alcohols and amino acids.


This broad and coherent course encourages pupils to develop confidence in physics and to recognise its importance in their own lives and to society. In the first year of study topics covered include motion, forces, energy, materials, stars, particle and nuclear physics, electricity, waves and quantum physics. These topics are then developed in the second year and linked to the further topics explored, including circular motion and vibrations, kinetic theory and thermal physics, fields and electromagnetic induction, astrophysics and nuclear energy. A level physics pupils also study an option topic designed to link closely with the world of work. The available options will be agreed on in department.

Throughout the course, pupils will complete a range of practical work as it is an intrinsic part of physics to develop the practical techniques required for the Practical Endorsement.

Practical Endorsement

In both Chemistry and Physics Practical Endorsement is a new feature, which replaces the coursework, investigations and assessed practicals that had been a part of A level science for many years. Written examination papers contain questions to test understanding of practical science. In addition, the assessment of practical skills will appear on all pupils’ certificates as a separately reported result alongside the overall grade for the qualification. A minimum of 12 practical activities are carried out by each pupil which, together, meet the requirements for practical skills and the use of apparatus and techniques developed through teaching and learning.

IB Diploma

In the sixth form, Bryanston IB options include biology, chemistry and physics at standard and higher level, as well as environmental systems and societies at standard level. The sciences are taught practically. Pupils have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. The investigations may be laboratory based or they may make use of simulations and databases. Pupils develop the skills to work independently on their own design, but also collegiately

Assessment of IB science courses is made up of the following components:

  • Internal assessment (20%) based on a single individual practical investigation and write up completed over a few weeks in A2.
  • External assessment (80%) through three exam papers in the 6th term of the course. 
    • Paper 1            Multiple choice questions
    • Paper 2            Short-answer and extended-response questions
    • Paper 3            One data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work plus short-answer and extended-response questions from one option topic.


Psychology is also offered at standard and higher level for pupils taking the IB Diploma. Pupils undertaking the course can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied. The holistic approach reflected in the curriculum, which sees biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis being taught in an integrated way ensures that pupils are able to develop an understanding of what all humans share, as well as the immense diversity of influences on human behaviour and mental processes. 

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Science Society

The Science Society gives pupils the chance to hear from leading scientists and engineers from around the country. Events are open to any who want to come from Bryanston, passionate scientist or interested bystander.

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Visits and Fieldwork

The biology department engages in fieldwork at local coastal sites as well as using our own 400 acres of grounds. An annual trip in the first year to Monkey World introduces pupils to animal behaviour.

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CREST Awards

CREST is a UK award scheme recognising success, building skills and demonstrating personal achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) project work.

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HE Preparation

Each Head of Department provides mentoring for pupils planning university applications in their specialist areas.

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Greenpower Challenge

Bryanston's Greenpower team are preparing their electric car ready for this year's round of races. Here they tell us about their progress so far.