Science Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact
Intent From the very big (power stations) to the very small (quarks- strange and colourful)… From the very young (stem cell organ replacement) to the very old (cross breeding crops and livestock)… From the fantastically complex (pulsating H-bonds in water) to the beautifully simple (snow flake crystals)… …science has it all! The practical and the purely wonderful- something for everyone. In different dimensions science justifies its place as a core subject. But at Tenison’s we are not complacent. We engage curiosity from the get-go at the open evening and Year 6 taster day so that pupils are receptive to learning from at the start of their secondary school learning journey.
In Year 7 and 8 we develop observation and practical skills and foster early scientific literacy through key words in a broad range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics contexts. Foundational science concepts are extended in our 3-year GCSE programme, as well as developing the word power to write accurate descriptions and attempt deeper explanations Y9 through Y11. In sixth form our curriculum sharpens student’s capacity to plan and evaluate experiments along with greater rigour in explaining key concepts. Through all this we anticipate a strong set of GCSE results that contributes positively to the Attainment 8 score for all pupils and for the A-level students sets them up well to pursue further study. Just as importantly, through our curriculum we set out to equip every pupil to listen to current Science issues in wider society and have the understanding to follow debates, be informed and even contribute to decision making. By nurturing exceptional talent and interest through extra-curricular workshops and trips, such as the trip to CERN and the UK Space Design Competition, some of our pupils will continue their study of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, engineering or medicine to university and into careers.
Implementation: At the heart of our curriculum is building pupil’s confidence- with key knowledge, understanding and skills, both practical and problem solving. This is achieved by revisiting at an ever deeper level prior learning of key science concepts, e.g. cells, particles and energy at KS3, GCSE and again at A-level. Similarly, guiding pupils to use clear and scientific language to describe observation and stretching them to give explanations. Practical skills are developed by demonstrating the correct use of apparatus and empowering pupils understanding of the choice of variables in experiments. In small groups where they collaborate, pupils learn to solve the practical problems of effective experimenting and carry them out with increasing independence. With 4 periods per week in Y7 and 3 in Y8 and 9, we use this share of the school curriculum to develop a broad curriculum in the early years, employing mixed ability groups in Y7 and 8, and broad band setting in Y9. Our assessments are making the shift to every more effective preparation for an integrated rather than unitised model of learning, where pupils expect to remember and apply work covered in past months and years. At Y10 and 11, the setting allows us to offer a more differentiated curriculum: separate Science for the top/most motivated 25%, GCSE Combined Science at Higher tier for those aspiring to grades 6+ and Foundation tier for pupils whose likely ceiling is grade 5. Occasionally a few pupils with particular learning challenges will do the continuous assessments of the Entry Level Science, where they can gain 1, 2 or 3 at this level 1 qualification.
Impact: In Science almost all pupils show an enthusiasm for the practical learning contexts, most clearly at KS3. In truth, their responsiveness to every well-judged learning activity is evident with the level of energy and high levels of participation. The desire to do well in Science is evident across the key stages, with results that span the highest of grade. A KS3 we see the proportion of pupils gaining the Excelling band grow as Y7 and 8 continues. At GCSE Science grades are a strong contributor to pupils Attainment 8 at all prior attainment levels. At A-level ALPS has increased especially in Physics with the Biology staff team strengthened this year to fill gaps in provision. Destinations for our students post A-level include degree courses in biomedical science, pharmacy, medicine, veterinary science and the spectrum of engineering disciplines