Marlborough College Science Department is located to the west of the campus with Biology, Chemistry and Physics (including Astronomy) occupying laboratories, lecture theatres and associated teaching spaces in, and surrounding, the listed 1934 Science building by the architect WG Newton.

There are seven Biology laboratories, six Chemistry laboratories and six Physics laboratories. These are serviced by three subject specific Preparation Rooms staffed by nine dedicated technical staff that expertly support the delivery of all of our teaching.

We have a team of 25 academic subject specialists delivering Science to International GCSE, A level and Oxbridge entrance level, led by the Head of Science who has responsibility for all aspects of Science education at the College. Each Science subject has in turn a Head of Department. The Science Department has two lecture theatres, three departmental libraries, a glasshouse and a small-animal collection. Teaching is supported by excellent ICT provision.

Our location in Wiltshire enables us to take advantage of the River Kennet, which runs through our grounds, and two well-established trout lakes, chalk downlands, and the nearby ancient Savernake Forest. All of these are especially useful to our biologists, while our extensive grounds often host a range of physics experiments, too.

Meanwhile, we enjoy excellent links with Bristol University School of Chemistry, and our Hundred, Lower and Upper Sixth chemists make use of the excellent undergraduate teaching laboratories there as part of their studies in Chemistry.



The Lower School – Shell, Remove and Hundred (Years 9 – 11, respectively)

Biology, Chemistry and Physics are compulsory in the Lower School. The Shell year forms the foundation year in the Sciences which leads on to Edexcel’s International GCSE (9-1) Science examinations in the Hundred.

We offer two routes to International GCSE with pupils being entered for the examinations which are most appropriate to them based upon their aptitude and ability.

Either International GCSE (9-1) Biology, Chemistry and Physics – 4BI1, 4CH1 and 4PH1, or International GCSE (9-1) Science (Double Award) – 4SD0.
Both the Separate Sciences and Science (Double Award) offer a sound preparation for pupils wishing to study one or more Sciences in the Sixth Form.

We are also pleased to offer Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Astronomy, 1AS0. This two-year course, which begins in the Remove, may be studied alongside the other sciences by interested pupils.

Further information on International GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics is available here, while information on GCSE Astronomy is available here.

The Upper School – Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth (Yrs 12 – 13, respectively)

The Department prepares pupils for A level in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Biology and Chemistry deliver the OCR ‘A’ specifications while Physics deliver the EDUQAS specification:

Biology: OCR ‘A’ H420 (Linear)

Further information is available here or from the Head of Biology, Mr T A Birkill.

Chemistry: OCR ‘A’ H432 (Linear)

Further information is available here or from the Head of Chemistry, Mrs C A Walsh.

Physics: EDUQAS A level Physics (Linear)

Further information is available here or from the Head of Physics, Mr C J Wheatland.


The Science Department offers first-class facilities, with outstanding teaching, generous encouragement and support at all levels; an enviable co-curricular range, including innovative opportunities for extended learning and study. The Science Department will provide every pupil with an appropriate, accessible but challenging programme of study leading to an understanding and appreciation of Science which reaches far beyond, and is more significant than, any national programme of study alone.

In this way, our work in Science aligns itself with the College’s belief that education at Marlborough should instil and develop a love of learning as preparation for life beyond Marlborough.

The Heads of Department in Science believe that the Specifications we have adopted from Edexcel, OCR and Eduqas are just the beginning in terms of providing a broad, exciting and engaging Science education. Each department therefore devises its own academic and co-curricular enrichment programme annually, often in collaboration with our pupils. Current activities are detailed in our Science subject web pages, and full details of each term’s activities are provided in the College Almanac.

Outreach to the local community is also important to us. Our annual Medawar Lecture, named for old boy Professor Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel Laureate, is open to pupils and colleagues at our neighbouring schools and to the wider public. Recent lecturers have included Professor Lord Robert Winston, the distinguished neurosurgeon Henry Marsh CBE, and this year Professor Dame Athene Donald FRS, Master of Churchill College, Cambridge. Other events and lectures may also be attended by visitors to the College, and we look forward to offering further opportunities for others to share in our passion for the sciences in the future.


Head of Science – Dr G Doyle

Head of Astronomy – Mr C Barclay

Head of Biology – Mr T Birkill

Head of Chemistry – Mrs C Walsh

Head of Physics – Mr C Wheatland


C E Barclay BSc FRAS FRSA ACIEA (Head of Department)
Dr D G Roberts MSc PhD


T A Birkill BSc (Head of Department)
Mrs H A M Cox BSc
J J Lyon Taylor BSc
Mrs J McFarland BSc
N J L Moore BSc MA
L J Richards BSc PhD
Dr A D Sharp BSc PhD


Mrs C A Walsh BSc (Head of Department)
D R Armitage BSc MA
Dr G A Doyle BSc MSc PhD DIC CChem MRSC (Head of Science)
S R Hawthorn BSc
T G R Marvin MA
W D L Nicholas BEng MSc (Second Master)
Mrs E C Smith BA
Dr J P Swift BSc PhD


C J Wheatland MPhys (Head of Department)
B Allen BA MA
C E Barclay BSc FRAS FRSA ACIEA (Head of Astronomy)
Mrs J E Lane BSc
G J McSkimming BSc
Dr D G Roberts MSc PhD
E J Tolputt MA MSc (Deputy Head, Academic)
J Wright BSc