Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 Science aims to provide a broad and balanced scientific experience for students at Key Stage 3 level. This incorporates a balance of practical work, investigative work and research. Students can explore all styles of learning that are umbrella-ed under the VAK idea. The Academy uses practical investigation and associated activities to engage students to make them excited and engaged about learning Science while also providing quality first teaching.
The route and expectations for learning are laid out against the AQA publication, which claims to run in such a way that it prepares students for the transition into GCSE.
The topics are laid out in the Key Stage 3 syllabus so that students can build upon knowledge from 7 into 8 that provides the basis of what they need at GCSE.
Topics are split across 7 and 8 under the topic name so that we are ensuring challenge year on year.
Key Stage 3 curriculum has been made challenging anyway with the reform and what can be covered at Key Stage 3 as a lot of topics have dropped down from GCSE.
Assessments are in the form of progress checks so that students are consistently exposed to memory, recall and application. The assessments are short 30 minute bursts in order to provide an accurate snap shot of understanding of each topic and to also provide an up to date progress measure. With in built assessment reflection time, staff are dealing with gaps still very obvious in learning and understanding.
The Science department are also very passionate about targeting recall and retention – a lot of basis of scientific understanding will be covered in KS3 that we should be able to successfully tap into for raising the bar to GCSE.
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 Science aims to provide students will the skills required to achieve their target grades in line with national expectation in a core qualification worth 2/3 GCSEs. As a department, Science also has a passion to ensure that skills acquired in science will set students up for success in the next stages of their academic journey.
Students are to be equipped with the skills to retain knowledge for 6 exams as well as also being challenged on how they can apply understanding to new scenarios and contexts. With this, practical skills are in built throughout the course as per the new requirements from the exam board.
The route and expectations of learning are in place and exist alongside the AQA specification for trilogy science and for separate sciences:
‘Taster’ topics from all three sciences are taught in Yr9 to facilitate the transition from KS3 to KS4. This also allows us to determine the students most appropriate for opting for triple science in Yr10.
Consistent targeting of recall/retention.
Consistent targeting where learning can be applied to new contexts to ensure learning has been successful and to ensure quality first teaching.
Students clearly know when an ‘official’ required practical that is examinable is being carried out.
Assessments are per topic so that the Academy has a very live view of how all GCSE groups are progressing. Students will also sit full specification papers when the content for that paper has been taught. Via marking, test reflection, homework, verbal feedback etc., staff will deal with learning gaps every lesson where appropriate.
As a department, Science very much promotes an ethos of ‘make sure it’s learned not just taught’ (as in Key Stage 3 as well). The expectation across all years is to ensure quality-first teaching in order to improve outcomes for students.