Our curriculum in Science springs from our ethos statement, Excellence for All. We aim to establish the very best scientists. For those not proceeding with a scientific career beyond GCSE, we intend to give them the best education to be able to understand the world around them and engage with the Science around us. An example would be for our students to be able to understand the Science involved in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rationale behind our curriculum design is the choice of the order we teach topics which provides students with the opportunity to practice their skills alongside the knowledge they are gaining. Many topics, e.g. The Particle Theory, Separation of Mixtures, Elements, Compounds and Mixtures, the Reactivity of Metals and Acids, Energy, Forces, Electricity, Cells, Body Systems, Plants and Ecosystems, are taught on a spiralled curriculum throughout the Key Stages to make learning stick and to develop deeper knowledge on the foundations taught lower down the school. Other topics have been identified as being the ones in which questions are not successfully answered in end of year examinations, e.g. Electrolysis and Mole Calculations, Monoclonal Antibodies, Natural Selection, Energy Transfer and Ohm’s Law are expected to be highlighted during retrieval practice to make key knowledge stick.
Our curriculum is knowledge based. We believe that Key Knowledge empowers and facilitates the application of skills during the teaching of new topics. As a department, we value the Key Knowledge our students need and help them recall it by providing most lessons with a retrieval practice, which helps students to recall key knowledge from previous topics. Interleaving in such a way helps students to retain knowledge more effectively.
At KS4, students use Personalised Learning Checklists to inform themselves of areas of concern. From a very early age, we challenge students to think, act and speak as those working in the field would. We do this by challenging students beyond their first response. Students carry out practical work in each topic, where appropriate, in a responsible manner and use skills they have acquired from KS3, for example how to record, analyse, represent data and draw conclusions from it. This is reinforced at KS4 where required practical booklets have been designed to include all practical skills and keywords students need to address during their course. Independent learning is fortified through resources available using our Science Website and Class Charts. Recent review of misconceptions within key areas of KS3 will further develop students towards correct use of science concepts.
Although we want students to achieve the best examination results, we believe that our curriculum goes beyond what is taught in school. Science has a social importance and we aim to connect relevant ideas, careers and engaging moments throughout the curriculum. We provide Science and Robotic clubs for younger students. At KS3, Years 8 and 9 participate in the Salters Chemistry Festival and the Science Olympiads (Top Class). There is also a STEM club for older students.
Science has a social importance and we aim to connect relevant ideas, careers and engaging moments throughout the curriculum. We build the Cultural Capital of our students by including examples of the implications of the changes we, as a human race, are causing in our world. Examples include ethics of stem cell use, energy sources, global warming, the overuse of fertilisers, the fact that some raw materials are running out and that techniques for mining them have an impact on the environment. Discussing big ideas e.g. endangered species and application of nanotechnology to the real world.