Our Approach

In the Science Department at St Leonards, pupils are encouraged to question and discuss issues that affect their own lives and the lives of others, the direction of society and the future of the world. The department aims to deliver a high-quality level of teaching and to foster high quality learning across General Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Teaching in all years and at all levels of ability is based on an experimental and investigative approach and is designed to allow individuals to reach their full potential.



The curriculum taught in Years 7, 8 and 9 is the Middle Years Programme (MYP), which leads into the GCSE and IGCSE programme in Years 10 and 11, and ultimately, the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in Years 12 and 13.

MYP Sciences aim to encourage and enable pupils to understand and appreciate science and its implications. Pupils will consider science as a human endeavour with benefits and limitations. They will develop skills to design and perform investigations, evaluate evidence and reach conclusions.

Our aim is to cultivate analytical, inquiring and flexible minds that pose questions, solve problems, and construct explanations and judge arguments.

Themes studied include: nanotechnology, combustion and its effects, biological system, our changing planet, waves.


All GCSE students take either Science Trilogy or Biology/Geography. Science Trilogy offers a balanced science course, incorporating GCSEs in Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Each science discipline is taught by a specialist in that subject.

The course provides a wide and challenging introduction to how science works, and to the principles and concepts which lead to an understanding of the application of science in society today. The course gives a sound basis for further study of separate sciences in the International Baccalaureate and beyond.

The Biology/Geography option was introduced in the 2019-2020 academic year and is ideal for students who are targeting Environmental Systems and Societies as their IB Diploma Science and/or Humanity choice.


At IB level, Group 4 includes the Experimental Sciences: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Systems & Societies, Computer Science, Sports, Exercise and Health Science. Each course aims to deepen understanding of science as a discipline and develop an appreciation of the scientific method as a powerful tool for testing claims about nature.

The Biology course is designed to help students develop a broad understanding of biological principles. It includes a compulsory residential fieldtrip to a field study centre, to facilitate the teaching of ecology, and core modules at both Standard and Higher Level include: cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution and biodiversity, and human physiology.

Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. Core modules include stoichiometric relationships, atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonding and structure, energetics/thermochemistry and chemical kinetics.

Physics seeks to explain the universe at all scales, from sub-atomic particles up to galaxy clusters. The Diploma course enables students to become competent at practical skills and techniques required when doing experimental work and to apply their mathematics to practical problem solving. Standard and Higher Level core modules include: measurements and uncertainties, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, atomic, nuclear and particle physics, and energy production.


The Science Department has 9 subject specialist teachers and 3 technicians. It is located in its own building which houses 6 teaching laboratories, 2 ICT areas, technical preparation rooms and a greenhouse. The department is exceptionally well resourced both in the laboratories and in terms of outdoor teaching areas. In addition, regular field trips are organised for pupils, including a residential trip to Kindrogan Field Study Centre.

University connections

St Leonards has close links with the University of St Andrews and pupils regularly attend the likes of the Chemistry Masterclass, Scottish schools Chemistry and Physics days, and visit the spectroscopy and honours physics laboratories. Classes have also benefitted from the opportunity to visit the university's Electron Microscope, located in the School of Chemistry.

Visit St Leonards

Come and see our vibrant school, and meet our friendly pupils and staff More

International Baccalaureate

St Leonards School is recognised as Scotland’s International Baccalaureate leader More

Golf at St Leonards

Our pupils can learn and play golf in its most revered location More

Open Mornings

Click here to find out more about our Open Mornings. More