Science (Combined or Triple Award)

All Year 10 and Year 11 students at UTC South Durham study either Combined Science or a Triple Award Science course at GCSE. Combined Science is worth two GCSE qualifications and comprises separate units in biology, chemistry and physics. Triple Award Science offers students the opportunity to gain three distinct GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics. If students choose to take the Triple Award Science, this counts as one of their GCSE optional subjects.

Here at UTC South Durham we provide high quality teaching across all three Sciences. Our lessons are engaging, challenging, and thought provoking. Academic challenge and rigour is married with hands on practical experience using state of the art equipment and with explicit links to Engineering and the work of our industry partners. Through our science lessons, students will develop the knowledge and skills required to thrive in further study and/or the world of work and in whatever career path they choose to follow.


The principles of science, particularly physics, underpin engineering and advanced manufacturing. Our students need to know how a robot works not just what robots can do, and for that they’ll need physics. Our links with businesses at the cutting edge of the application of sciences will show students why physics is so important.


Many high tech companies use complex chemistry to manufacture innovative materials and products. Employers need highly skilled chemical and process engineers. Sustainability and environmental protection is a key area for many chemical companies, a detailed understanding of chemistry is vital in this growth area in order to fine tune and make processes more efficient.


Understanding the natural world is important for scientific and technical innovation. We can learn a lot from how nature solves problems. The study of plant and animal biology leads directly to a wide range of careers in medicine, scientific research and there are several leading technical development and pharmaceutical companies in the region.

Additional Resources:

Science Experiment with Emma and Year 10 students

Staff Profiles


Jak Heslop

BSc (Hons) QTS – Faculty Director for Core Subjects, Teacher of Chemistry and Science and PSHE/SMSC Coordinator

I have been qualified as a teacher for 20 years, teaching GCSE Sciences and A Level Chemistry at a variety of schools across the North East. Until moving to the UTC, I had been Head of Science at a local Ofsted Outstanding school for the previous 12 years.

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1992 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and then moved on to do some post graduate research for the Ministry of Defence at Cranfield Institute of Technology. I have strong links with the University of Durham and other County Durham schools developing the profile and up take of Physics Post-16, and encouraging girls to continue with their study of Science.

I also run here, as I have at a previous school, a group of students who promote the enjoyment of Science to primary school students, both in school and at public events.