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Curriculum Rationale in: Science

KS3 Curriculum:

Our Key Stage 3 programme of study is a two-year programme starting in Year 7. Our aim is to help the students to gain a deeper understanding of the four basic components taught at Key Stage 2, which are, forces, electricity, materials and living things.

The topics covered are related to Science at work in order to put the Science learnt into a real life, real world context. This will allow the students to make the connection between what is learnt in a Science lab to Science in the real world, and how it affects their lives.

For example:  students learn about the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and the impact poor health choices can have on organs such as the heart and lungs. They learn about density and how the idea of density can determine whether something will float or sink in water.

We aim to establish the foundations of science, basic skills and enjoyment in the subject over these two years, whilst also ensuring full coverage of the national curriculum.

Y9 Curriculum:

In Year 9, Science is divided into half-termly learning packages that aim to transition pupils from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4. We do this by providing a programme of study aimed at further developing practical skills. Therefore, as well as being about transition, Year 9 is an experiment and investigation heavy year.

Each package is based on the Combined Synergy GCSE that pupils will go on to study in Key Stage 4, with additional learning experiences for the pupils who have chosen Science as an option.

The learning is centred around the required practicals for the GCSE course, allowing pupils to develop the skills they began learning in Key Stage 3, and linking them to the content of the Key Stage 4 curriculum.

KS4 Curriculum:

Combined science: At the end of this course the students will have gained 2 GCSEs in Science. Currently pupils follow the AQA Synergy course which aims to study science in a holistic way, therefore learning across all three strands: Biology, Chemistry and Physics in units such as “Building Blocks” or “Explaining Change”.

The students will have an average of four and a half hours of science a week in order to cover the content required for two GCSE.

This course follows along similar themes to that of Key Stage 3, but the depth to which each topic is studied is much deeper. For example, forces is now split into “forces and motion” as well as “forces and energy”.

New topics are also introduced at Key Stage 4. For example, students will now look at radiation and how it is used to our benefit, but they will also look at the hazards associated with it. They will relate what they learn in the Science lab to real life situations such as the Chernobyl nuclear radiation accident that took place in 1986.

Students who obtain two grade 5s for GCSEs Combined Science can go on to take BTEC Applied Science at Key Stage 5.

The examination board is: AQA

Separate Science: At the end of this course the students will have gained 3 GCSEs in Science: GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics.

The students will have on average 7 hours of science a week in order to cover the content required for each GCSE.

This is an in-depth course, aimed at bridging the gap between GCSE and the first year of A level Sciences.

The topics covered are similar to those covered in Combined Science, but this course involves a more detailed analysis of certain themes. For example, all students within Science will be expected to explain how the eye allows us to observe images. However, the students who have taken the Separate Science route, will be expected to know the different parts of the eye, and the role each part takes in forming an image.

This is the recommend course to take if a student wishes to go on to take A level Sciences at Key Stage 5.

The examination board is: AQA

KS5 Curriculum:

At Key Stage 5 students have four possible choices available to them.

Single BTEC Applied Science (Extended Certificate)

Double BTEC Applied Science (Diploma)

Biology A Level

Chemistry A Level

Applied Science

Single Applied equivalent to 1 A Level) and Double Applied (equivalent to 2 A Levels)

These are vocational courses, which allow students to develop their practical and analytical skills within science.

The courses are designed to assess students through external (written exams) and internal assessments (coursework).

These qualifications can lead on to careers within the medical and health professions, as well as both academic and vocational science related careers.

Biology A level

This is an academic course which covers both plant and animal biology; this course is a stepping stone to future study at degree level. Biology A Level is closely matched to the GCSE Biology taken in Key Stage 4, as it is assessed by the same examination board, AQA. Part of the year 12 Programme of Study builds upon knowledge developed at Key Stage 4.

Following this course allows the students to develop their practical skills, as well as their analytical and evaluation techniques. Students are expected to answer extended response questions that involve providing essay style responses, incorporating knowledge developed from Year 12 and Year 13.

Chemistry A level

During Year 12, students build upon the foundations laid during the study of Chemistry at GCSE level.

A Level Chemistry is the stepping stone to further study and supports the students in developing skills that universities and employers want to see. Taking A Level chemistry will enable students to pursuit careers within medicine, pharmacy, optometry, dentistry and nursing to name but a few.

This course will provide the students with the necessary skills to analyse data in the forms of graphs and tables, it also develops and matures their mathematical skills.

It enhances their opportunities to carry out research in order to plan practical procedures, and to corroborate their own results.

Assessment in Science

To support the understanding of the key ideas within each key stage, content checks are regularly given to measure how much information the students have retained each week.

The students are also given a 15-minute diagnostic test every three to five lessons. This allows them to demonstrate their application of skills, such as interpretation of information provided, analysis and evaluations of data. Skills that will be developed further at the next key stage. These tests are designed to allow pupils to reflect on and try to improve their understanding.

In addition, each diagnostic test helps the subject teacher to identify any areas of concern within the topic covered so far for each individual student. The subject teacher will then provide further support in dealing with that particular area of concern, before the end of the whole topic.

Summative assessments are given at the end of each unit of work to allow pupils and teachers to measure progress.

Click the link below to download our content delivery overviews for Science:

Curriculum Overview – Science