Head of Science – Mr Adam Chorley


Biology at Ratcliffe is a dynamic, contemporary and hands-on experience. We are a passionate team who are dedicated to igniting and nurturing Biological curiosity and enquiry. We embrace state of the art equipment, such as gel electrophoresis, where students can identify DNA, clinical equipment to monitor human health and various microscopes to identify plant and human tissue and cells. The largest of the Science departments, Biology continues to be a popular choice at GCSE and A Level and enjoys excellent outstanding exam results year after year.


Academic Programme

The Edexcel IGCSE in Biology aims to provide students with a foundation in the biology of life. Subjects covered include Cells, Genetics, Adaptation and Interdependence and Evolution. The practical element of the course also allows students to design, test, collect and analyse data and to then evaluate and draw conclusions based on the evidence.

At A level we follow the OCR syllabus and study a wide range of topics from Molecular Biology and Biological Molecules, to Plant Physiology, Biodiversity and Sustainability. All of which are never too far away from the headlines which makes for interesting ,student-led intellectual debates.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The Biology team support their students through a host of extracurricular activities. We run support revision lessons and subject workshops, participate within the British Science Associations ‘CREST award scheme’ and hold a lunch time Junior School Science club to provide a unique and stimulating view of Biology. The Biology students regularly lead an editorial team and contribute to the Science magazine ‘LabRat’ which showcases their achievements. Recently, 2 students have also achieved great success in biology projects in association with the Nuffield Bursary and have gone forward for the ‘Scientist of the Year’ award. We also have a popular Science Society, involving students in current topical conversations in scientific research, aiming to inspire boys and girls to consider biological related careers in their future.


Mr Steve Thorpe, Head of Biology and Head of Year 9 –
Dr Sarah Ferguson, Teacher of Biology and Science –
Ms Daniella Gatt, Teacher of Biology –
Dr Anne Robinson, Teacher of Biology –
Mrs Amanda Dungey, Teacher of Biology –
Mrs Suzanne Widger, Biology and Science Technician –


Four members of staff contribute to the teaching of Chemistry which is supported by a dedicated technician. Within the Science Department, there are two specialist Chemistry laboratories.

We aim to develop interest in, and enthusiasm for, Chemistry by making lessons focused on practical work.  Students in all Year groups carry out experimental work and learn how to interpret their results.  Chemistry is always a popular subject at both GCSE and A Level.


Academic Programme

A Level Chemistry students from Ratcliffe College have gone on to study Chemistry, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, Architecture and Ophthalmology while others have used A Level Chemistry to support a variety of degree choices.

Chemistry is involved in every part of our lives from producing the food we eat, the purity of the water we drink and the medicines which keep us healthy.

Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry aims to give students a foundation in the main principles of Chemistry: acid/base reactions, industrial processes, chemical tests, calculations, chemistry in the environment and hydrocarbons.

The controlled assessments involve students researching and planning an experiment then, after doing the experiment, students draw conclusions and evaluate the reliability of their data.

At A Level, we follow the OCR specification which is designed to sustain interest by integrating chemical ideas with practical work. Students develop their ability to communicate scientific ideas and to organise, present and interpret data.  Throughout the course an awareness of the economic, environmental and technological importance of Chemistry is developed.

Extra-Curricular Activities

A group of Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to attend the Salters  Chemistry club.

While pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 participate in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s competition ‘Top of the Bench’. Year 12 students are encouraged to take part in the Chemistry Olympiad.


Mr William Ballard, Head of Chemistry –
Dr Stephen Standen, Pastoral Head of Year 9 –
Mr Paul Trotter, Science Teacher –
Mr Clemont Donegan, Deputy Head Pastoral and Teacher of Chemistry –
Mrs Deborah Darlington, Teacher of Chemistry –
Mrs Paola Standen, Chemistry Technician –


At Ratcliffe College we have the view that the study of Physics is an essential part of a rounded education. On the one hand, we believe pupils should have some understanding of how pressing a light switch brings light into a room, on the other hand we believe that the many wonders of life can be all the more enjoyed and appreciated  through a knowledge of the processes that pervade the universe.

We are, above all, dedicated to sharing our enthusiasm for the subject with our students. Although examination success is essential to us, we never lose sight of the fact that our core activity is about enlightening our youngsters of the excitement that can be found just below the surface of the most mundane. We keep in mind the fact that the greatest scientists started their lives as children. From that point of view, our job is a privilege.


Academic Programme

We have had a great deal of success in enthusing and inspiring young students at both IGCSE and A level.

At IGCSE we follow the Edexcel Science course – either to a Double Award IGCSE, where Physics carries one third of the curriculum or to a separate Physics IGCSE qualification.

At A level we follow the OCR (specification A) course.

At both IGCSE and A level, our students have enjoyed splendid examination results. Physics at the college has become a recognised area of high achievement and students have chosen to study the subject at A level in ever increasing numbers. Although we have large numbers of students that do achieve the top grades – and then often go on to study Physics related subjects at university, we also have students whose trajectory is more modest. We cater for all of those that are keen to take the journey of discovery provided by the subject. We pride ourselves on investing in all of our students equally and see this as a great strength of the department.

In terms of technical support, the department is well resourced with a (very) dedicated technician and three laboratories. We regularly purchase new equipment and A level students can normally work individually on practical tasks – which, as a preparation for the A Level practical tests, is very beneficial.

Extra Curricular Activities

The Physics Department plays a full part in the college’s extra-curricular programme through its long standing involvement in:-

  1. The Engineering Education Scheme (EES) – aimed at sixth form students.
  2. The Go4SET project – aimed at KS3 pupils.

These two initiatives are organised by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT). Each initiative introduces youngsters to the world of engineering through extended projects that involve working with local engineering companies. They have proved very popular with our youngsters.

The Physics Department also extends the Science Society programme to include visiting speakers on cutting-edge topics such as those found in the fields of astrophysics and medical physics.


Mr Adam Chorley, Head of Physics and Science -
Mark Darlington, Curriculum Director –
Miss Emily Ault, Teacher of Physics and Science -
Mr Paul Trotter, Science Teacher –
Mrs Lesley Arnold, Physics and ICT/Computing teacher –
Mr Stephen Knight, Physics Technician -