Meet The Team

Faculty Leader: Mr E Stubley

Deputy Faculty Leader: Mrs J Dyson

The Team:


Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, yet astronomers are still discovering new worlds, identifying new parts of our Solar System and exploring phenomena such as black holes, the Big Bang and life on Mars.

This course has been developed to build on our natural fascination with the night sky and our continued exploration of the universe. Astronomy is constantly in the media in both fact and film which makes this course all the more engaging and relevant to students.

This course builds on the astronomy covered in the KS3 curriculum. It complements the GCSE (9-1) Science specifications, in particular the combined science which does not feature any astronomy content, and, as a visually more accessible subject, promotes science to a wider base.

This course suits a wide range of abilities, providing stretch for gifted science students while engaging lower-ability students in more relevant content.

Pupils will carry out practical observations of a variety of different objects ranging from planets to meteor showers, including the use of internet accessed robotic telescopes. They will also learn to navigate their way around the night sky and so be able to point out and describe the most interesting celestial objects visible to both the naked eye and telescopes.

What do we study in Astronomy

GCSE (9–1) in Astronomy (Edexcel – 1AS0)

In common with all new GCSE subjects, GCSE Astronomy will be graded on a 9–1 scale, which replaced the previous A*-G scale.

The assessment of this GCSE is 100% examination (x2 papers, sat at the end of year 11).

The content of the specification has been split into the 16 topics listed below.

Topics 1 to 8 are assessed in Paper 1 Naked-eye Astronomy (1hr 45mins) 100 marks

Topic 1 – Planet Earth 

Topic 2 – The lunar disc

Topic 3 – The Earth-Moon-Sun system

Topic 4 – Time and the Earth-Moon-Sun cycles

Topic 5 – Solar System observation

Topic 6 – Celestial observation

Topic 7 – Early models of the Solar System

Topic 8 – Planetary motion and gravity

Topics 9 to 16 are assessed in Paper 2 Telescopic Astronomy (1hr 45mins) 100 marks

Topic 9 – Exploring the Moon 

Topic 10 – Solar astronomy

Topic 11 – Exploring the Solar System

Topic 12 – Formation of planetary systems

Topic 13 – Exploring starlight

Topic 14 – Stellar evolution

Topic 15 – Our place in the Galaxy

Topic 16 – Cosmology

Mathematical skills

The subject criteria for GCSE Astronomy require Awarding Bodies to ensure that examination papers allocate a minimum of 20% of marks to the assessment of mathematical skills.

Ofqual has specified that the level of mathematics should be, at the lowest level, equivalent in demand to KS3-level mathematics; and, at the highest level, to be equivalent in demand to KS4 Foundation tier-level mathematics. Note that, for Astronomy, there are two areas of mathematics that may be assessed at a higher level than that equivalent of GCSE Foundation tier Mathematics: these are logarithms and indices (cubes).

Students are not required to recall any astronomical equations. The equations that students are expected to be able to use are listed within a ‘Formulae and data sheet’ that is given with each examination paper.

Useful Links

Details of the course and the full specification can be found at the following website

The course Pupil Guide can be purchased from the following website (but be aware the school usually buys in bulk each year and so can offer them to students at a slightly reduced price);