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ScienceDronfield Henry Fanshawe School has been in existence for over 400 years. For at least 100 years, Science has been taught to the young people of Dronfield, initially in lofty ancient rooms which smelt of chemicals and teak and now in modern, light, airy laboratories. Over the years, thousands of students have learnt science and gained qualifications to take them on to work in local industries or to study at colleges or universities. In that time they have become, engineers, doctors, dentists, vets, nurses, pharmacists, biologists, physicists and chemists. Some have gained first class honours from the top universities and gone on to do research worldwide.

Aims of the Science Faculty

Today, our science teachers continue that tradition, aiming to offer inspiring science lessons to students of all abilities, both inside the laboratory and further afield. We aim to provide appropriate science courses and guidance for all our students, whatever their abilities and aspirations, and prepare them for a world in which scientific and technological developments are growing rapidly. As a Specialist Technology College, we seek to make all our students aware of the wonders and achievements of science within the community of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.



The Science Faculty has 11 modern laboratories and a dedicated computer room. All our labs have computers and data projection and are fully equipped for up-to-date learning.


Key Stage 3

Dronfield Key Stage 3 science curriculum follows the National Curriculum, while aiming to develop fundamental scientific investigative and thinking skills, and relate scientific ideas to real life contexts and the personal experiences of students. Where appropriate, we also aim to stretch students beyond the national curriculum. Topics are, broadly speaking, divided equally between physics, chemistry and biology, but fundamental concepts and skills are taught to be applied across the academic boundaries. Students complete Key Stage 3 in Year 9, at which point they commence the first units of GCSE OCR gateway science that enable them to then opt for the separate sciences, or core and additional science, in Year 10.


Throughout the Key Stage 3 topics, students develop investigative skills and an understanding of the scientific process. Whilst the skills overlap, the skills developed fall into the categories in the list below. The development of literacy and numeracy skills are also embedded in these.

  • Understanding and Explaining: Students develop use of scientific terminology and use of scientific models to explain observations and data.
  • Developing Arguments: Students evaluate and use evidence to support or refute arguments.
  • Designing Experiments: Students design experiments to develop an understanding of variables, validity, accuracy, precision, reliability, equipment, methods and risk.
  • Presenting data: Students present data in tables and charts
  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation - Students describe patterns in data and process data to reveal further patterns and assess the reliability. Students interpret and explain data and assess its reliability. Students devise ways of improving investigations.
  • Applications and Implications: Students relate scientific ideas and discoveries to people and society including careers and ethical contexts.
  • Collaboration in science: Students develop an understanding of the collaborative nature of the scientific process and develop their own collaboration skills.


Students are in mixed-ability groups in Year 7, but work is carefully designed at different levels to enable all students to be appropriately stretched and challenged. In Year 8 and 9 students are grouped according to ability.


Assessment by the teacher is carried out in a variety ways and is on-going. This includes verbal responses, presentations, classwork and homework. Each topic is assessed more formally in a written 'Progress Review' and formal tests take place at the end of each term. A strong emphasis is put on the value of formative assessment and students are always given the opportunity to reflect on their assessments and work out how they could have done it better.

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  • Year 7

    Year 7 introduces fundamental scientific concepts and skills that are then deepened and developed throughout key stage 3, 4 and 5.

    In term 1 and 2, students study cell theory which builds on ideas about adaptation from Key Stage 2, the particle model and forces.

    In term 3 and 4, they study the concept of energy, and also chemical reactions in context of acids and alkalis.

    In term 5 and 6, students synthesise concepts and deepen their understanding of the particle model and chemical reactions within the 'Atoms, Elements, Compounds and Mixtures' topic. They also apply ideas about energy flow and adaptation in the 'Ecology' topic.

    At the end of the year, students apply the investigative skills they have developed over the year to sports equipment and kit design.

  • Year 8

    Students continue to deepen and synthesise fundamental concepts from Year 7 whilst also being introduced to new ideas.

    In term 1 and 2, students apply their understanding of particles and energy in the 'Heating and Cooling' topic and their understanding of forces and mathematical skills in the 'Motion' topic. The particle model is further applied in the 'Changing Earth' topic that includes an introduction to geology and Earth science. They also apply their understanding of chemical reactions in the 'Changing Environment' topic whilst developing an understanding of sustainability and global environmental issues.

    In term 2 and 3, understanding of energy and particles is further applied in the 'Sound' and 'Light' topics together with an introduction to the concept of waves and the electromagnetic spectrum. Understanding of chemical reactions is deepened in the 'Metals and Reactivity' and 'Respiration', fundamental to all life, builds on a variety of concepts.

    In term 4 and 5, these concepts are further developed in 'Plants and Photosynthesis' and 'Food and Digestion'. Students also further develop ideas about energy and particles in the 'Electricity' topic and apply a variety of concepts relating to forces and scale to the 'Gravity and Space' topic. Students also apply investigation skills at the end of the year to an investigative project relating to fitness.

  • Year 9

    In term 1 and 2, students synthesise a variety of concepts in the following topics: 'Electricity and Magnetism'; 'Pressure and Moments'; 'The Brain, Senses and Animal Behaviour' and 'Microbes and Disease'. Students also study Inheritance, DNA and Evolution in more depth in preparation for Key Stage 4.

    From term 3 of Year 9, students commence Key Stage 4 following the OCR Gateway specification. Students study the Chemistry 1, Physics 1 and Biology 1 units together with a supporting unit for the development of fundamental chemistry skills.


Key Stage 4


Students studying for Core and Additional Science GCSEs are grouped according to ability. There are two groups of students for Triple Science - they are not set by ability.


Assessment by the teacher is carried out in a variety ways and is on-going. This includes verbal responses, presentations, classwork and homework. Each module is assessed more formally in a written test based on past GCSE exam papers. A strong emphasis is placed on the value of formative assessment and students are always given the opportunity to reflect on their assessments and work out how they can make further progress.

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Key Stage 5

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  • Year 12 Year 13

    We offer the following courses at A level:

    • OCR Biology A
    • OCR Chemistry B (Salters' Chemistry)
    • AQA Physics A

    From September 2015, students will undertake new versions of these courses to fit with changes to the syllabus. Students will still be able to complete AS levels in Year 12. However; these grades will not count towards their final A levels.

    Practical skills will be integrated into the teaching throughout the A level courses and will be assessed in written exams. In additional students will carry out a separate 'Practical Endorsement' during Year 13.


Extra curricular activities

As well as laboratory based lessons, we have a full range of "Out of Class" learning activities. These include field trips and industrial visits.

There is also a Science Club which undertakes projects and competitions and lends out astronomical telescopes. The Science, Technology and Engineering Club has recently been involved in building and racing cars and the Pet and Animal Club has visited local farms.

A groups of our Sixth Form scientists host a monthly 'Cafe Scientifique'. This is an opportunity for sixth formers and staff to come and listen to a professional scientists and discuss the scientific research in the relaxed informal setting of the sixth form 'Hub'. Speakers this year have discussed topics ranging from animal testing in cardiovascular research and biotechnology in botany.

We have strong links with local primary schools, whose classes visit us for laboratory activities and competitions. Henry Fanshawe Science teachers and students also take science lessons into primary schools.


Teaching staff

The Science Faculty has a range of young and experienced staff with the full range of specialisms;

  • Alcock, James (Teacher, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Baxter, William (Teacher, Physics Specialist)
  • Billups-Walker, Marie (Teacher, Biology Specialist)
  • Cant, Kay (Key Stage 3 Leader)
  • Davies, Trudie (Deputy Headteacher, Biology Specialist) 
  • Gowers, Ruth (Key Stage 4 Leader, Physics Specialist)
  • Hawkins, Simon (Head of Faculty, Biology Specialist)
  • Hollings, Claire (Teacher, Biology Specialist)
  • Hollings, Nicola (Teacher and Teaching Assistant, Chemistry Specialist) 
  • Horsfield, Rachel (Teacher, Biology Specialist)
  • Jones, Amy (Teacher, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Keith, Gillian (Teacher, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Osborne, David (Teacher, Physics Specialist)
  • Shortman, Christopher (Key Stage 5 Leader, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Varley, Peter (Teacher, Biology Specialist)
  • Webster, Lisa (Teacher, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Webster, Rob (Teacher, Chemistry Specialist)
  • Welch, Daryl (Teacher, Physics Specialist) 
  • Wordsworth, Nicola (Teacher, KS4 Intervention)


Support staff

The role of the faculty support staff is vital in that they support the learning and teaching activities within the faculty ensuring all our students' needs are met. All technicians bring valuable skills to the faculty that help our students achieve their potential.

Websites to help students learn about Science