Science Department at Mark Rutherford

Science is a popular subject at Mark Rutherford at all levels. There is an emphasis on active learning through practical work, and students enjoy learning about science in context.  We are committed to offering our students a wide range of extra-curricular activities to enhance their learning and raise their awareness of career opportunities through science clubs, visits and STEM activities in school.
There are 15 science teachers and students are taught Physics, Chemistry and Biology by subject specialists. The department is well resourced for practical work and there is a large central prep room staffed by 4 technicians.
There are 11 laboratories in the Science Department and a dedicated Sixth Form teaching room. Each lab has a data projector to connect to the teacher’s laptop for use with software or the school’s ICT network. Seven labs have interactive whiteboards, one lab has a suite of computers and there is a mobile suite of laptops. Use of interactive software and internet applications brings out the relevance of science to everyday life. We are developing an environmental area at the back of the science block and have set up a pond, meadowland and marsh area. Students doing A level Biology have made very good use of this area and have already seen a great increase in biodiversity.

Year 7 and 8 students follow a two year condensed Key Stage 3 course. At the start of Year 9, students follow a short programme of introductory skills lessons and then start the Science GCSE course to give more time and flexibility later on. Most students will go on to take Combined Science (double award) in years 10 and 11, which covers all three sciences. Some students will take three separate science GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology providing they have performed at a high level at Key Stage 3.
Numbers studying sciences in the Sixth Form are good, with many students successfully following Physics, Biology and Chemistry AS and A level courses or the level 3 BTEC course in Applied Science which is equivalent to an A level. Each year a good number of students go on to study sciences, medicine or engineering at University.

Extra-Curricular Science activities in school
Astronomy GCSE for years 10,11 and 12, SAS (serious about science) science club for years 7 and 8,  Robotics club for year 10, Glider STEM club for year 9, Fizzclub for A level physics students, Chemistry A level tutorials and Biology A Level intervention sessions, Chemistry drop-in for year 10 and 11 students, Applied Science BTEC level 3 catchup, STEM club for year 10 students.
In addition there are STEM days for years 7, 8, and 9  to which feeder schools are invited, and our Sixth Form STEM scholars visit some feeder schools to run activities.  We now own a planetarium and we use this to give our students and students from feeder schools an appreciation of the solar system and beyond. Our 6th form STEM students also take part in STEM activities in the wider community, participating in the local Bedpop Science Festival for example.
Physics A level students visit CERN in Switzerland to reinforce their work on particle physics. Biology students visit the Sanger Institute to find out about the latest scientific research in genetics. Year 12 Biology students take part in a field trip on conservation and ecology in June.
Year 10 science students visit the Science Museum and Year 9 students attend Chemistry at Work.  GCSE and A level students visit the Physics at Work exhibition at the University of Cambridge. We will send teams to compete at local STEM events and encourage our students to present their work at science conferences whenever the opportunity arises. Examples include Salters Festival of Chemistry (year 8) and Nuffield Research Placements (year 12).

GCSE Examinations
Year 9 students study Science GCSE from November onwards, they will sit a school exam in May, and the results of this exam will help in deciding the best pathway for each student for GCSE.
All Year 10 students will sit Pre Public Examinations in the summer of year 10 and go on to take all their GCSE examinations in year 11 (this is a recent change).
Triple and double award Year 11 students will take all their examinations in the summer of Year 11.

GCSE Science Courses at Mark Rutherford

AQA Trilogy Combined Science
AQA Biology
AQA Chemistry
AQA Physics
Edexcel Astronomy

Post 16 courses:
AS and A2 AQA Biology
AS and A2 AQA Chemistry
AS and A2 Edexcel Physics
Edexcel BTEC National Award in Applied Science (level 3, worth one A level)

Science Revision
Revision guides for all GCSE, BTEC and GCE courses are available from the school shop.

Year 10 and 11
Double award students need an AQA Trilogy Combined Science revision guide; Triple award students need 3 separate science revision guides. These are all available from the school shop.
Students can access the specification and Collins Connect (0nline textbook and homework assignments) through It’s Learning (the School’s VLE)

If you require further information…
please contact Ms Pinsent (Head of Science) through this email address:



Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: