Curriculum Vision

Intent

At St Michael’s, we recognise the importance of science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught, we give the teaching and learning of science the prominence it requires.

The science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in students about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Throughout the 5 year programme of study, students will acquire key knowledge, as well as the application of scientific skills that have been identified within each specific discipline of biology, chemistry and physics and across each key stage. We ensure that the ‘Working Scientifically’ skills are built upon and developed throughout the students’ time at the school. This enables them to can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment; conducting experiments; building arguments; explaining concepts confidently; continuing to ask questions and being curious about their surroundings. We aim to make our students think, behave and act like scientists. To enable us to do this, we understand it is important for our lessons to have a skill-based focus and that the knowledge can be taught through this.

The national curriculum provides a structure and skill development for the science curriculum being taught throughout the school, which is now linked, where possible, to the theme topics to provide a creative scheme of work, which reflects a balanced programme of study.

At St Michael’s, in conjunction with the aims of the national curriculum, our science lessons offer opportunities for children to:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
  • develop essential scientific enquiry skills to deepen their scientific knowledge
  • use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including ICT, diagrams, graphs and charts
  • develop a respect for the materials and equipment they handle with regard to their own and other students’ safety
  • develop an enthusiasm for and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery

Implementation
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all students are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following:

  • Science will be taught in planned topics where the SOWs are written by the science department at KS3, starting with discovery science as an introduction to science skills and knowledge in an engaging theme that students can relate to – Jurassic Park. This is a strategy to enable our Year 7 students to embrace science as holistic learning. The initial experience of science at St Michael’s in Year 7 is about ‘awe and wonder’ and allows students to showcase creativity and enthusiasm.
  • Through our planning, we involve problem-solving opportunities that allow students to learn for themselves. Students are encouraged to ask their own questions and are given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources, to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills. Children are assessed regularly to identify those students with gaps in learning so that no student is left behind. Gaps in knowledge are quickly addressed and opportunities for intervention to address gaps are also provided within and outside of lessons.
  • We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As students’ knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
  • Working scientifically, skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed throughout the years, in keeping with the topics.
  • Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various ‘Working Scientifically’ skills, in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
  • Students are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as STEM club, visits to museums, university talks and Big Bang events, to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
  • Regular events, such as Science Week, allow all students to come off-timetable, to access broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.

Impact

The successful approach used in the St Michael’s Science Department ensures that all students will not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the science curriculum offered at our school, but will also develop skills that will equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives.

All students will:

  • enjoy and be enthusiastic about science in our school
  • become increasingly independent in science, selecting their own tools and materials, completing pupil lead investigations and choosing their own strategies for recording data, as well as develop their analytical and evaluative skills
  • have a richer vocabulary, which will enable them to articulate their understanding of taught concepts
  • have high aspirations, which will see them through to further study in science, work in science-related environments and successful adult lives.

Curriculum Journey

Curriculum SMSC & British Values

Options Information

Exam Specification

Biology GCSE Exam Specification

Chemistry GCSE Exam Specification

Physics GCSE Exam Specification