The vision for science is to deliver a broad and balanced science curriculum with a focus on mastering the key concepts in biology, chemistry and physics before moving onto more complicated applications. Due to our context our increased knowledge of our learners as individuals allows us to pose the “Big Questions” within individual lessons which cater to the students interests and increase engagement.
By its nature, science offers rich opportunities to develop learners’ literacy, numeracy and enquiry skills alongside the delivery of content and these opportunities are highlighted in the long term and medium term plans.
At KS3, we follow the AQA KS3 Science syllabus which groups the 140 ideas from the KS3 National Curriculum Programme of Study into 10 big ideas: forces, electromagnetism, energy, waves, matter, reactions, earth, organisms, ecosystems and genes. Each idea contains four smaller topics: the building blocks for the big ideas. The topics then form into pairs to be delivered within the same year. Based on learners prior learning and confidence they will be taught either pathway 1 (topics 1 and 2) or pathway 2 (topics 3 and 4).
These topics increase in complexity allowing for a mastery of each topic before moving onto the next. To master a topic means both to know the content required within it and then to apply that knowledge. These knowledge and application goals are shared with learners and used to build up to an enquiry activity which usually has a practical focus but is always targeted at the development of a focused enquiry skill. Enquiry is divided into the areas of analyse, communicate, enquire and solve.
At KS4, we follow the AQA Combined Science: Trilogy Double Award GCSE. We use AQA as the literacy demands of the exam papers is carefully considered to ensure that literacy is not a barrier to learners demonstrating their understanding and knowledge. We do trilogy as the biology, chemistry and physics content is presented clearly, in a logical teaching order. We have broken most modules down into further smaller modules so that key ideas are interleaved and spacing is left before key ideas are revisited. This also supports learners who join us at different points throughout the year or have had patchy attendance.
Within each topic the key ideas which must be delivered are highlighted alongside the required practicals for each topic. Depending on students’ progress and attendance to lessons the other ideas within a topic may also be delivered to some learners or alternatively some key ideas covered in more depth. The key ideas have been identified based on their “stickability”, their relevance to learners and their importance in forming a foundation for later topics in the science curriculum.
These topics are: