Intent of the Science Curriculum:
Science has the capacity to inspire and motivate students by allowing them to gain an understanding and curiosity of the natural world around them and how Science is used in their everyday lives. As such, Science is at the very core of a school’s curriculum. Science links together different subjects and enhances learning across the curriculum by the development and use of cross curricular links.
The Science curriculum strives to allow students to become resilient and respectful people who take responsibility for their learning, who are able to reflect upon their work, have the confidence to take risks and respond to challenges.
The Science curriculum at Seaham High School will prepare students not only for living in the world today but also to give them the knowledge, understanding and skills to inspire them to shape the World of tomorrow.
Implementation of the Science Curriculum:
What is being covered in the curriculum
The curriculum in Science at Seaham High school is based around the five key concept areas of: Cells; Interdependence; Particles; Forces and Energy. It is from these five key threshold concepts that all areas of Science are underpinned, interleaved and mapped backwards from the GCSE Science program of study to entry into Seaham High School in year 7. Higher level concepts, skills and knowledge are unlocked as a result of students continually building upon these 5 threshold concepts.
How is the curriculum being delivered
To ensure that learners have a firm understanding of the curriculum being delivered the Science faculty have adopted a new model of teaching and learning based around the expert model of teaching. A key aspect of this is students demonstrating their understanding in a scaffolded manner, initially a singular context prior to multiple contexts that are interweaved. This model gives the teachers a range of opportunities to feedback to students, to address misunderstandings and misconceptions.
Sequencing of the curriculum
Prerequisite skills, knowledge and understanding were identified for each unit of work and used to inform the long-term running order in the Science curriculum at Seaham highschool. This coherent sequencing of units of work allows for interweaving of the 5 key concepts each year through a range of topics.
The Science curriculum is mapped over a single key stage and is not based upon the idea of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. At Y7 and 8 the units of work are mapped out on a weekly basis while at Y9, 10 and 11 the units of work are mapped out on a half termly basis.
Y7 +8 Curriculum
The provision in Y7 and Y8 has a focus to secure a knowledge and skill base to prepare for GCSE. The curriculum is mapped against the national curriculum programme of study to ensure seamless progression from KS2. Early links are in place at key stage 2 as the faculty leader has met with local feeder primaries to review provision, which currently is very varied. Year 7 has a focus upon providing students with a firm grounding and filling in gaps in knowledge and skills from key stage 2.
Y9, 10 + 11 Curriculum
In Y9, Y10 and Y11 students commence formal coverage of the GCSE program of study. The curriculum allows for three different routes of study at both a higher and foundation tier of entry:
- Edexcel Separate Science
- Edexcel Combined Science
- Edexcel Entry Level Science + Separate Science (Foundation tier)
The rationale behind the choice to remain with edexcel as the designated exam board was down to a range of reasons:
- Reading age of exam paper is lower than other exam boards.
- Very little difference in terms of content covered between different exam boards.
- Ramped approach in difficulty of Edexcel papers appropriate for students with low confidence.
- Workload associated with having multiple year groups studying GCSE qualifications by different exam boards would be significant and detrimental to all aspects in Science.
Adherence to curriculum
Learning walks, work scrutiny and regular communication with teaching staff allow for monitoring of adherence to the running order. Teaching staff deliver the bulk of lessons using the standardised template and expert model teaching structure meaning that there is a significant degree of standardised approach in the way that the curriculum is delivered.
The curriculum has a focus on developing knowledge retention through regular interweaving of the 5 key concept areas. The three phase assessment model adopted by the Science faculty inline with the whole school procedure facilitates in students retaining knowledge. In phase 1 – students are trained in knowledge retention skills prior to assessments by the use of a standardised summary sheet to be used by students to help to structure their revision. During phase 2 students complete a formal assessment that is holistic in nature and not unit focused. In phase 3 – following formal assessments consolidation work is used to address gaps in knowledge on a class and individual student level.
All lessons in Science follow a uniform start to lesson called the FAB4 based around the concept of knowledge retrieval to support knowledge retention.
The Wider Curriculum
An experienced UPS3 teacher with a passion for Science focused extra curricular activities is now leading upon ensuring that students are exposed to Science in a vocational and careers based context.
The department operates a STEM club run by two staff early on in their careers and supported by a very experienced technician. This allows for additional cross curricular links with Maths, Technology and ICT in a context that although linked to the Science Curriculum sits outside of it.
Schemes of work
Schemes of work are based around the provision of a grade ladder to support teaching staff in the identification of the hierarchical parts of each unit of work. This is then supplemented with an indication of a order in which to teach the unit so as to best ensure coverage of prerequisite concepts.
Impact of the Science Curriculum:
A new Science curriculum was introduced in September 2019 following significant staffing changes within the Science faculty and it’s leadership. As a result the impact of the new curriculum has yet to be fully felt. It is likely that the impact of these changes will not be seen fully until 2-3 years with the curriculum being fully embedded in 4-5 years.
The intended outcomes of the Science curriculum is to give students the skills, knowledge and understanding to make a positive use of their science education in a real world situation to facilitate a positive contribution to British society.
Contact the head of faculty, Mr Scott Hays at: firstname.lastname@example.org