Science Department Curriculum Intent
The Sacred Heart curriculum for Science delivers engaging, challenging and inspiring lessons, and to establishes high expectations for all pupils.
At each stage of the curriculum, pupils are prepared so they can successfully transition to the next key stage with both the required knowledge and skills to build upon. We believe in developing firm foundations and the ‘big picture’ where pupils continue to build on and apply scientific knowledge and skills. Pupils follow the Key stage 3 curriculum from Year 7 to until the Easter term in Year 9 covering the entire programme of study outlined in curriculum 2015. In Years 10 and 11, they follow a number of different pathways leading to qualifications in the Edexcel suite. At Key Stage 5, both A level and BTEC are offered to maximise uptake at this key stage.
At Key Stage 3, the pupils are placed in sets and through close teamwork, cooperative planning and careful monitoring by science staff we make sure that pupils can move from set to set as their progress demands and that expectations for all pupils are suitably high; lower expectations are not justified simply because pupils are in a lower set. The needs of SEND Pupils and the most-able are addressed within our curriculum planning
Science at Key Stage 3 builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils have developed in Key Stage 2. Pupils need to recognise, describe, use and apply key scientific ideas to explain abstract phenomena even when they appear in unfamiliar contexts. By delving into key ideas, we can stimulate pupils’ curiosity and help them to make connections between different areas of science. Scientific enquiry generally links direct practical experience with key scientific ideas. We integrate this into most lessons, even those that involve little or no practical work. Teachers capitalise on chances in any lesson to encourage pupils to reflect, however briefly, on the evidence that supports scientific interpretations. For example, they ask pupils: ‘How do you think they might have measured that?’ or: ‘How could you check those figures?’ Lessons make links between scientific theory and experiment, so that pupils learn how the practical applications of science are changing the nature of society and the economy
Key scientific ideas are introduced early in Key Stage 3. Pupils need to develop their understanding steadily so that they can recognise, use and then apply each of the ideas in different contexts. The teaching sequence offers opportunities to reinforce and develop each key scientific idea. In Years 8 and 9, more sophisticated scientific ideas are used and applied more widely. Pupils’ attention is drawn to the wider applications to help them to recognise that a key idea used in one context may be applied in another. The curriculum draws on contexts from across the scientific disciplines and examples of science in past and present everyday life. Cross-curricular links that exist are referred to and considered in the sequencing of work. Provided that progression in key scientific ideas and the yearly teaching objectives is maintained, different classes will follow different sequences of teaching units through Years 7, 8 and 9. This flexibility allows efficient use of equipment and other resources.
Teachers take account of cultural and religious sensitivities when teaching topics such as human reproduction, inherited diseases and diet. To develop transferable skills for lifelong learning extended opportunities for independent project work, extended writing and debate are built into the curriculum. To promote Science in the wider world we have a rich and varied extracurricular programme with a wide range of events, visits workshops and speakers.
To ensure all pupils make progress we support transition from Key Stage 2. For example, we offer summer holiday work and provide Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 transition lessons to ensure primary school Science provision is no barrier to progression in year 7. There is also mentoring for Year 8 and 9 pupils who are falling behind and becoming disaffected.
Science at Key Stage 4 builds on the knowledge and scientific enquiry skills developed in Key stage 3. Curricula at key stage 4 comprises approximately equal proportions of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. One exception to this is a group of approximately 10 pupils who only follow Chemistry and therefore not the full curriculum. The rationale behind this has been carefully thought out and is to maximise pupil’s enjoyment and achievement whilst recognising the difficult demands of learning three sciences taught in modules when studying combined science. The higher attaining pupils follow a triple Science award which prepares them for the rigours of A level and the majority of pupils follow the combined award. Pupils are able change group throughout the two years as all groups in combined science are taught the same modules in the same periods before assessments.
At Key Stage 5 pupils can select from the three separate sciences or choose to follow a BTEC in Applied Science. The SOW are designed to build the required knowledge and skills but also make our pupils more independent thinkers, preparing them for further education. In our teaching we maximise their opportunities to deal with more challenging questions to encourage pupils to develop critical thinking skills in addition to providing opportunities to demonstrate extended writing. Practical work is integrated into our teaching and used to build understanding of concepts in addition to practical skills. Pupils are offered a range of opportunities to extend their learning outside the classroom to promote an uptake into science related careers.