Dr U Budd (Subject Co-ordinator)
Ms A Deane
Ms N Finnegan
Mr G Langrell
Mr L McBride
Ms M Smith
Ms D Thorp
Ms S Toolan
Dr C Whitford
Mr I Wilkinson

Subject Overview

Part of the mission of The High School is to enable pupils to take their place in society as responsible, informed, thinking and tolerant human beings. Science education plays a fundamental role in achieving these aims within the school and also contributes towards the goal of scientific literacy for all which is one of the stated aims of the Irish education system. The High School has a strong tradition of science education. Many of our graduates go on to study science at third level. In the science department we seek to maintain the school’s traditional ethos of excellence in science education.


Young Scientist 2014 – Highly Commended
“An examination of paraben levels in counterfeit cosmetics versus authentic cosmetics and a research of their effects”.

Junior Cycle

The High School offers Science as a core subject at Junior Cycle. There are five mixed ability class groups in each year of the junior cycle.

Click here to visit Junior Cycle Science curriculum.

Form 4 - Transition Year programme

Science provision in the compulsory Transition Year (TY) programme includes six-week modules in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Information Technology, and Geology.

Senior Cycle

Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are offered at Senior Cycle.


Physics is a subject that describes the world around us using formulae and equations. Physics today is built on the foundations laid by Newton and Einstein among other famous names. Leaving Certificate physics is useful for any further study in science, engineering, computer science, or other mathematical sciences.

Physics for the Leaving Certificate at The High School is taught in mixed ability classes over 2 years (Forms 5 and 6) with 5 periods a week (including 1 double period a week for laboratory work). Each class stays with the same teacher for the two years.

The vast majority of pupils taking Physics do so at the Higher Level.



Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with what materials (solids, liquids, and gases) are made of and the changes materials undergo. Born from the ancient science of alchemy, modern chemistry influences our lives arguably more than any other single technology. The obvious impact of chemistry is seen in the huge variety of materials we use every day. It is often described as ‘the central science’ and should be considered as complementary to both Biology and Physics.

The Leaving Certificate syllabus is taught in a way that allows extensive experimentation so that pupils can experience for the first time the wonder of discovering how substances interact.

Laboratory expertise is developed throughout the two years and the balance between theory and practical work helps to make Chemistry both rewarding and enjoyable for those who take it.

Topics studied include: Atomic structure and Bonding, Periodic Table, Chemical calculations, Acids and Bases, Gases, Radioactivity, Environmental Chemistry, Rates of reaction, Equilibrium, Volumetric analysis, and Organic Chemistry.


Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms. Leaving Certificate Biology is divided into three units: The Study of Life, The Cell, and The Organism. Biology at The High School is taught in two mixed ability classes in each year of the senior cycle. There is a double class for laboratory work each week. Pupils also carry out field work as part of their studies.

Career Opportunities

There is a large range of science related courses available at third level. Apart from careers that require professional qualification such as architecture or speech therapy there are very few careers from which science graduates would be precluded.

Many careers directly involve a knowledge of Chemistry – for example Biotechnology, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Food Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Agricultural Science, Pharmacy, and Medicinal Chemistry. However, analytical, deductive, and observational skills are also developed which are transferable to a wide range of careers.

Additional information

Pupils are encouraged to take part in a number of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. These include participation in the BT Young Scientists’ Competition, the Salters Festival Award, the EUSO Science Olympiad, a trip for all Form 1 pupils to visit the Young Scientist exhibition, a Science exhibition centre in Belfast, and various Science quizzes. Guest speakers from third-level institutions provide insights to Science careers for senior pupils.

The High School also runs an after school Science club.

Montgomery Science Competition

The Montgomery Science Competition is an annual competition requiring Form 5 pupils to research and present their findings relating to a scientific topic of their interest. Separate prizes are awarded in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.