Rationale:

St Peter’s science curriculum is designed to ensure that from the moment each of our pupils sets foot into our school, we take their individual starting point ‘on the mountain’ and make sure we have mapped out their path through our whole school to prepare them for success when they leave us at 16.

Our science curriculum is therefore the body of knowledge we know our pupils need to learn as they progress from one year to the next. They need to know more, remember more and do more at each and every stage.

Our pupils are scientists who are developing a deeper understanding of the world around them. Units are planned to ensure progression of the body of core scientific knowledge from year 7 through to year 11, with subject specific vocabulary and skills mapped out for each and every unit so there is clarity for teachers, pupils and parents about exactly how much depth and detail is required. Each unit has a knowledge organiser designed by subject specialists to ensure precision of subject specific vocabulary and contextual knowledge for pupils and parents alike. Every unit has a practical aspect where pupils learn the scientific skills of making predictions, ensuring validity, analysing and evaluating results and drawing conclusions.

Intent: why do we teach what we teach?

  • Ensures that all pupils make good progress irrespective of their starting point and those young people facing disadvantage are lifted from educational poverty.
  • Catholic values, morality and ethics are promoted. 
  • The curriculum progressively provides pupils with the building blocks in small chunks of what they need to know for them to be successful in science. 
  • It is coherently planned and sequenced, utilising existing knowledge as the foundation from which pupils enjoy a growth mindset. 
  • Literacy and Numeracy are at the heart of the science curriculum and is the key to pupils becoming lifelong learners. 
  • Is aspirational for all pupils. 
  •  It is broad and balanced for all pupils for as long as possible. 
  • It promotes the gain of science capital, making pupils aware of the opportunities in science for further study and careers. 
  • Practical skills are at the forefront of learning with pupils progressing through the required skills in a logical manner. 
  • Opportunities for pupils to improve their independent learning skills and resilience are frequently given.

Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?

Curriculum Implementation 

The science curriculum is a continuous curriculum that runs from Year 7 through to Year 11. It provides pupils with the opportunity to realise their potential by providing breadth, depth, stretch and challenge, enabling pupils to develop their scientific knowledge and skills.

In order to master the content covered pupils must be made aware when they are learning content from specific topics and shown how it fits into the bigger picture. pupils are introduced to the majority of topics gradually throughout Year 7 and Year 8 to allow them the opportunity to organise new knowledge in their long-term memory. All future knowledge gained throughout Years 9-11 will fall within these topics allowing a solid foundation to build on. Visual logos for each topic identify when each topic is being studied or referenced. To assist pupils move any new knowledge from their short and working memory and fix it permanently into their long-term memory, the curriculum is built around the concept of interleaving. Built into the curriculum are frequent opportunities to revisit previous topics and link content with previous work. New content is often presented in advance of when it is studied in depth to allow a more gradual introduction and not lead to an overload in working memory. 

Lessons are taught with clarity, enthusiasm and pace. This will ensure that pupils are well-motivated which will lead to accelerated learning and ensure that practical investigative skills and knowledge are more effectively embedded. This will help to make pupils into lifelong and independent learners with the ability of being able to think and work like a scientist.

pupils are exposed to opportunities of enhancing their learning outside of the classroom through educational trips, workshops, seminars and science fairs. Additional projects are integrated into the curriculum in years 7 and 9. These projects are based around current science topics often mentioned on the news. pupils can make the links between the science in the classroom to the science in the world around them. 

The importance of the different science topics to wider life experiences is explicitly shared with pupils from the onset. Careers and post 16 opportunities in science are identified throughout the curriculum as well as identifying key scientists, science facts, inventions, theories and areas of scientific interest. Therefore, pupils understand the purpose of the learning and can see the relevance to their own experience, increasing their science capital.

The science curriculum enables pupils to apply their knowledge and skills to solve scientific problems. pupils are able to organise their thought processes eloquently and confidently argue for or against concepts and theories using scientific knowledge and keywords. Practical skills are built up gradually and clearly identified to pupils when their encounter them. 

Cross curricular links are made where possible, enabling pupils to see how different subjects share knowledge and skills and are then able to transfer these skills. The science curriculum provides opportunities for all pupils to develop a high level of literacy and numeracy required for success in adult life. Appropriate scaffolding and or challenge is in place for pupils to be able to write extensively about scientific knowledge and applications. Lesson keywords are identified every lesson and literacy checks carried out by pupils. Science staff will break down and explain science key words making it more relevant to student. The morphology and etymology of words will be used by science teachers to enable pupils to understand and use key scientific vocabulary. pupils are also able to acquire skills for recording experimental observations and data, draw graphs and analyse and evaluate data. Practical write ups will be kept in a lab book. The curriculum is cross referenced with the maths curriculum with topics taught in a similar way. Science context and exam questions will be used within maths lessons.

Our science curriculum broadens pupils’ horizons through a range of personal, health, social and economic opportunities  This is evident during the delivery of topics such as interdependence, genetic modification, maintaining biodiversity, sustainability, global warming, evolution, energy efficiency and stem cell research, but opportunities to promote PHSE are taken at every opportunity.

Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?

Curriculum Impact 

High stakes assessment will consist of the cumulative assessments built into the scheme of learning and assessment points. Low stakes assessment will consist of peer and self-assessment within lessons, verbal questioning, small quizzes and all other methods of assessment for learning. 

Staff are expected to follow both the NPCAT feedback and marking policy, and the demonstrate/connect marking policy. Additional checking of pupil work should take place for any student where there are concerns about pupil progress and the three groups identified below are most likely to require this. 

1) Disadvantaged/Pupil Premium Pupils 

2) Pupils with identified SEN or other needs 

3) Pupils who are currently not making expected levels of progress in the subject.

Interleaving and topic identification

Interleaving and identification of the topics that pupils are learning is integral to the science curriculum.

pupils will revisit previous content before continuing to develop a deeper understanding of a topic. pupils will also revisit previous content when completing recall tasks, viewing GCSEPods, during revision sessions and when completing their cumulative assessments.

1. Demonstrate Task

Staff following both the NPCAT marking policy or the demonstrate marking trial will need to carry out a demonstrate task at the end of the lesson. The tasks on the PowerPoint are generally past exam questions but they can be amended to include other tasks if necessary. Staff not following the demonstrate marking trial do not have to move onto the connect task, but need to follow the NPCAT feedback and marking policy and key pieces to mark in depth.

1) The student completes the demonstrate task, individually, in silence.

2) The task can be peer, self or teacher marked. (the examiner notes are available as a CPD opportunity or to used as a teaching tool)

3) pupils get the opportunity to make some notes for the member of staff.

4) pupils will be reminded about the NPCAT basic presentation requirements.

5) Books are collected in and the title “demonstrate task” will be highlighted by the teacher.

 

2. Focus of practical investigations

 pupils should focus on the skills below in each year group and progress to have an understanding of all sections. Each set of skills is a minimum requirement and pupils should be encouraged to move on once these skills are mastered.

 

Year 7 Year 8 End of Y8 – Start of year 9 Year 9 -11
Control variables

Risk assessments

Obtaining data

Analysis of data

Control variables

Risk assessments

Obtaining data

Analysis of data

 

Variables

Planning

Control variables

Risk assessments

Obtaining data

Analysis of data

 

Variables

Planning

 

Evaluation

All sections

 

The aim is to make sure by Year 9 all pupils have an understanding of all areas of practical work, however, work may need scaffolding using the investigation proformas at the discretion of the class teacher. Where possible pupils should complete work directly into the lab book and unnecessary copying out of the proforma should be avoided.