Intent & Implementation
Our Curriculum Intent
Our vision for the science curriculum is that:
- All students experience the wonder of science and are inspired to ask questions about the world around them
- Students are inspired to engage in further Science study and STEM careers
- Students build a strong knowledge and understanding of scientific phenomena and build all our students’ scientific literacy to be able to communicate about science effectively and fully participate in society from a position of knowledge.
How our subject curriculum is sequenced and why we plan it this way:
Our curriculum is sequenced around big ideas in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The curriculum is sequenced so that these big ideas develop through the course. The working scientifically strand is woven through each unit, with scientific thinking and experimental skills mapped throughout the curriculum.
Physics curriculum rationale.
Aim: To develop students’ understanding of physics as the science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy.
How: Our physics curriculum is centred on six ‘Big Ideas’: matter, forces and motion, waves, electricity and magnetism, energy and Earth in space. The programme of delivery of these key ideas across the physics curriculum has been structured in a way which scaffolds pupils' learning, in terms of both scientific and disciplinary knowledge, as well as allowing opportunities for reiteration of these key ideas throughout. This allows the foundations of each ‘Big idea’ to be both continuously developed and consolidated over time.
For example, in Y7 we introduce energy as supplied by food before more complex ideas such as kinetic and gravitational potential energy and calculations about efficiency, energy transfers and power. We use examples that students are more familiar with to aid understanding and denote relevance before moving on to more abstract ideas.
Why: The ‘Big Ideas’ are the fundamental themes of the physics discipline although there is considerable overlap, particularly with energy (overlap with biology and chemistry disciplines also). Regularly revisiting material previously taught ensures the foundation knowledge is readily recalled and understood, thus strengthening the understanding of more recent topics. As a result our students are well placed to maximise their attainment and scientific knowledge for adult life.
Chemistry curriculum rationale.
Aim: To develop students’ understanding of chemistry as the science concerned with the substances of which matter is composed, the investigation of their properties and reactions, and the use of such reactions to form new substances.
How: Our Chemistry curriculum is based on the ‘Big Ideas’ of Particles, Structure and Models, Substance and properties, Chemical properties and Earth and Atmospheric Science. Fundamental concepts are revisited and developed. For example, particle model is developed from solids liquids and gases, through Dalton’s model of the atom to be used to model elements, mixtures, compounds and molecules, to Rutherford's model of the atom and applying that model to understand the bonding that occurs between elements to form compounds and the effect that this has on their physical and chemical properties.
Why: The ‘Big Ideas’ are the fundamental themes of the chemistry curriculum although there is considerable overlap with Biology and Physics and the links between the sciences are made clear to students. For example, diffusion is taught in Chemistry and applied in Biology when looking at how substances enter and leave cells and organs. The concept of energy transfer is taught in Physics and used in Chemistry to explain energy transfers in chemical reactions. The Particle model and changes of state are explicitly taught in both Chemistry and Physics and applied to different concepts, such as diffusion, pressure in fluids, density, collision theory and structure of substances etc.
Regularly revisiting material previously taught ensures the foundation knowledge is readily recalled and understood, thus strengthening the understanding of more recent topics. As a result our students are well placed to maximise their attainment and scientific knowledge for adult life.
Biology curriculum rationale.
Aim: To develop students’ understanding of Biology as the study of living organisms, including their composition, functions and interactions.
How: The Biology curriculum is based on the ‘Big Ideas’ of Cells, Organisms and Communities, which underpin our approaches to studying Biology. The three Big Ideas are nested, with students gaining fundamental understanding of key features and functions of individual cells, through to how cells group together allow entire organisms to develop higher functioning, and finally how organisms interact together to form the base of all life on Earth. All students are taught to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living organisms, from diffusion in the simplest unicellular organisms to the highly adapted functioning of specialised exchange surfaces in our lungs. The reliance of all living organisms on sustainable food chains, and the importance of photosynthesis, are highlighted.
Why: The ‘Big Ideas’ are the fundamental themes of the Biology curriculum although overlaps with Chemistry and Physics are made clear to students. For example, the diffusion of substances entering and leaving cells and organs is similarly important in Chemistry, while energy transfer is important in Biology for understanding photosynthesis and respiration, as well as the ‘loss’ of energy up a food chain. Similarly, forces in Physics overlap with locomotion and the functioning of muscles in Biology.
Regularly revisiting material previously taught ensures that core Biology knowledge is strongly embedded and students are well prepared in scientific knowledge for adult life.
How we connect the knowledge over the key stages (deliberate connections):
The learning journeys help students see the map through their learning and links are made explicit each lesson when we show our students what we are learning, why we are learning and why we are learning it now. Links to prior learning are made at this point, helping students build their schema.
How we make our subject knowledge stick:
- We use regular retrieval activities at the start of every lesson.
- We use careful planning and questioning to highlight the links with other aspects of the curriculum.
- The homework each week in KS3 and 4 not only consolidates current learning but will regularly revisit learning from prior topics, which also helps students make links to prior learning.
- Regular assessment also requires students to learn and remember key information.
How We Allow All Students to Succeed ( included SEND and disadvantaged )
How we allow all students to reach our ambitious subject end points:
SEND students are supported through quality first teaching and the graduated response:
- Information from class charts on their SEND area of need along with their pupil passports is used to plan their learning accordingly.
- Class charts is used to create supportive seating plans that benefit all students.
- Tasks are scaffolded appropriately so that all students can reach the same endpoints.
- Paper copies of resources and homework are provided to students where the passport or student need requires it.
- Revision guides are provided to disadvantaged students in KS4.
- Homework support is available in the department several times a week at recess.
- Teachers discuss barriers to learning with disadvantaged students to see what support they can provide.
We are also using the SEND teacher handbook from NASEN to develop our practice.
Our Curriculum Overview
Curriculum Overview KS3 (Click here)
Combined Science Curriculum Overview KS4 (Click here)
Separate Science Curriculum Overview KS4 (Click here)
Our Curriculum Learning Pathway
KS3 Subject Curriculum Pathway (PDF)
KS4 Combined Science Curriculum Pathway (PDF)
KS4 Separate Science Curriculum Pathway (PDF)
In Biology, students learn about the key features of cells, including how we observe cells and the functions of cell organelles. They then learn about the basic functions of organisms, including reproduction and movement, before learning about the interactions between organisms in community food webs and chains.
In Chemistry, students learn how particle theory helps us understand mixtures and separation, how particles are composed of atoms, elements and molecules, and how simple compounds, such as acids and alkalis, change during reactions.
In Physics, students learn about how energy is stored and energy is transferred, particularly by electricity, mechanical forces, and sound.
In Biology, students extend their understanding of cells by considering the functioning and uses of unicellular bacterial, protist and fungal organisms, including how they assist in carbon recycling. They then learn about digestion and breathing in multicellular organisms, including the calculation of surface area. Students then learn how the diversity of life on Earth is categorised into kingdoms, and how the plant kingdom reproduces.
In Chemistry, students deepen their understanding of the energy changes that occur in chemical and physical reactions, and learn about the natural and artificial reactions occurring on earth and in the atmosphere, including energy changes. Students are also introduced to the Periodic Table.
In Physics, energy transfers by radiation and as light are studied, as well as the place of the Earth within the Solar System.
In Biology students learn how advances in Science over time have led to improvements in our knowledge, particularly in the discovery of DNA and how features are inherited. This leads into learning about how Darwin’s theory of evolution developed, and how failure to evolve leads to extinction. Students also learn about the cellular reactions upon which all life depends - photosynthesis and respiration. When they start the GCSE they reinforce their understanding of cell features and functions.
In Chemistry, students learn in depth about the rearrangements of atoms in chemical reactions and the rules governing chemical reactivity. When they start the GCSE they study particle model and change of state, followed by the different ways of separating mixtures.
In Physics, the impacts of mechanical, electrical and magnetic forces are studied. When they start GCSE they learn about vector and scalar quantities, speed and acceleration.
In Biology students study enzyme function in detail and how substances are transported into and out of cells. They learn about the detailed division of cells for growth and repair. They learn how the body is controlled by the nervous system, and how problems with nerves, eyes, and brains can be treated. They learn how DNA is structured and inherited, and then consider the evidence for human evolution. Students consider the ecology of all life on earth, including how minerals are recycled, threats to biodiversity and sustainability. In Separate Biology, students learn in greater detail about inheritance, including sex linked diseases and co-dominance. In evolution, the benefits of genetic modification and different methods for controlling agricultural pests are considered.
In Chemistry, students learn about the structure of the atom and the Periodic Table, how elements bond together and how this determines their properties, the law of conservation of mass and how this is used to determine the mass of reactants and products. They learn about acids and their reactions in more detail, how metals are extracted and how a life cycle assessment assesses the impact of making, using and disposal of products. They also learn about reversible reactions through the manufacture of ammonia. In the Separate Chemistry, students study dynamic equilibria further, students learn about the factors that affect the choice of a reaction pathway in more detail, including some of the more complex calculations that can be made.
In Physics, students continue their study of motion and Newton’s Laws of motion. They learn about the conservation of energy, how we keep our homes warm and the resources we use to generate energy. They learn about the properties of waves and look in detail at the electromagnetic spectrum, the properties, uses and dangers of the different waves. They learn about radioactivity, it’s dangers and uses. In the separate Physics the students study astronomy and look at the Solar system and the origin of the Universe. They also learn about nuclear fusion and fission and how a nuclear reactor works and rotational forces.
In Biology, students consider how the spread of plant and animal diseases can be prevented and treated. They learn how the body defends itself against disease. They consider how the body is controlled by hormones, as well as the nervous system that they learnt about in year 10 and how they control homeostasis. They consider transport of critical substances in animals and plants and look at the role of respiration in all living things and photosynthesis in plants. In Separate Biology, students consider virus lifecycles and a wider range of communicable diseases. They also consider movement of substances in plants and animals in greater detail, including translocation and osmoregulation.
In Chemistry they learn patterns in the physical and chemical properties of different groups in the Periodic Table. They learn about the factors that affect the rate of a chemical reaction and about energy changes in reactions. They study fuels and learn about why we are so dependent on them and the impact humans are having on the atmosphere and environment, including the impact of the greenhouse effect and global warming. In separate Chemistry, they also study aspects of organic chemistry, including polymers, and look at quantitative chemistry, analysing substances to find out what they are. They also develop an understanding of the difference between bulk and surface properties of materials, delving into the emerging field of nanotechnology.
In Physics, students learn about the different types of electrical circuits and how energy is transferred, they learn about motors, generators and transformers and how electricity is generated. They study the particle model again, looking at the energy transferred during changes of state and how gases behave, as well as density. They study the elasticity of springs. In separate Physics they also study static electricity and electric fields, along with pressure in fluids.
Transition & Building on KS2 / KS3
CCC has worked closely with our primary partners during 2021/22. We have shared knowledge on the curriculum intents at key stage two and key stage three to enhance student transition and the sequencing of learning. Links are made explicit to students when we teach new content based on their learning from KS2.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we build on the KS2 Science curriculum. In BIology this involves developing student understanding of the interconnectedness of life on earth, and of the structure and functioning of living organisms. In Chemistry, the basic knowledge of how materials are structured and function is developed into a wider understanding of elemental structure, bonding and reactivity. In Physics, we develop student understanding of basic forces and energy into a full appreciation for how forces determine motion and how energy is transferred when work is done.
Key Stage 4
Study of the GCSE content begins in the summer term of year 9. Students build on the foundations of key stage 3, covering the big ideas in more depth. The topics are taught in rotations, each topic being linked back to previous learning to build their schema. Scientific enquiry skills continue to be developed and how scientists work and gather data outside the laboratory are emphasised throughout the course.
What Examination Course(s) do we follow?
Students study the Edexcel suite of science courses. Most students study Combined Science and some study Separate Sciences. We also run the Entry Level certificate alongside the Combined Science course for students who require extra support.
Curriculum Impact- How we measure attainment and progress:
In Science, assessment happens in many ways.
- Baseline assessments are given to the students at the start of KS3 and 4 so we know their starting points.
- Books are marked in-line with the marking policy and written assessment is standard for all students so comparisons can be made.
- All summative assessment is standard across the year group:
- In KS3 assessment happens once a term after a rotation of topics.
- In KS4, each unit is assessed.
- All students sit a standard end of year test to assess individual progress against the curriculum.
- Assessment is continuous in lessons using strategies such as retrieval practice, questioning and student self and peer assessment.
Results of assessment are recorded centrally. Day to day classroom assessment informs teacher planning and teaching is adjusted accordingly to meet the needs of the students. Teachers then plan any interventions for students after the data has been analysed.
How do we enrich our subject outside the classroom?
We refer students to real-world examples of Science in action. We use popular press, the news, and scientific writing to inspire students to delve deeper in their own time. We direct students to Science courses in areas of personal interest, and to inspiring science careers. We have worked with the librarian to ensure that there are both fiction and non-fiction books in the library to encourage reading for pleasure in our subject. Students in year 10 attend GCSE Science Live. We also direct students to other events, for example, New Scientist Live.