Our Intent, Implementation and Impact

Intent: Our purpose and ambition

‘Throughout the years of compulsory schooling, schools should, through their science education programmes, aim systematically to develop and sustain learners’ curiosity about the world, enjoyment of scientific activity and understanding of how natural phenomena can be explained.

The main purpose of science education should be to enable every individual to take an informed part in decisions, and to take appropriate actions, that affect their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of society and the environment.

Science education has multiple goals. It should aim to develop:

  • understanding of a set of ‘big ideas’ in science which include ideas of science and ideas about science and its role in society
  • scientific capabilities concerned with gathering and using evidence
  • scientific attitudes.’

(Big Ideas of Science, p.7. Harlen 2010)

To achieve the aims outlined above the Science department is developing a curriculum that provides a clear pathway to success for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background. We strive to provide every student with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the Universe, starting with the fundamental principles of Forces, Particles and Energy in Year 7 and then applying these principles to more complex ideas in GCSE such as Inheritance, The Atmosphere and Electromagnetism.

We also have a responsibility to provide our students with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will allow them to access the world of work when they leave. We strive to develop their cultural capital by ‘linking curriculum to careers’ (Gatsby benchmark Toolkit, p.16. 2018).

‘Even greater changes, with enormous implications for education, are taking place in the world of work, where technology has made certain types of work unnecessary. The opportunities for middle level labour are diminishing, leaving those occupations which are difficult to automate – mainly lower-level jobs and higher level work that requires uniquely human capabilities. For many, ability to create new products, solve problems and undertake complex tasks will – at least for the moment – be the route to avoiding unemployment with all its social consequences. Globalisation introduces opportunities but also challenges, particularly for those in parts of the world less able to change as rapidly as highly developed countries.’

(Working with the Big Ideas, p.7. Harlen 2015)

By developing a SoL based on The Science of Learning, interleaving of topics and themes, rooted in retrieval practice and that includes frequent, meaningful, impactful feedback, we believe we can unlock the potential of all our students and provide them with a curriculum that is both enjoyable and enabling. 

Implementation: Design, Pedagogy and Assessment

Retrieval- The act of recalling information strengthens the memory of that information

• Low stakes mini-whiteboard quizzes.
• Quick-fire 3/5 “Do now” activities for KS3/4.
• Tassomai multiple choice quizzes in KS4 do now and KS3/4 homework.
• Self or peer quizzing using knowledge organisers.

Spacing- The benefit of incorporating time delays between learning and practice

• The “big ideas” of Science are established in Year 7. The SoL is constructed and sequenced to allow for frequent revisiting of these key ideas in the later units that the students study.
• Quick-fire 3/5 “Do now” activities for KS3/4 designed to revisit earlier ideas.
• All summative assessments are designed to assess all topics covered up to that point, not just the most recent topic.
• Self or peer quizzing using knowledge organisers on topics covered earlier in the year / course.
• Homework has been mapped to ensure that it covers topics studied in a previous term.

Cognitive Load- The amount of information that can be manipulated in working memory

The department is working to review lesson resources and PowerPoints to reduce the cognitive load on the student. This includes but is not limited to:
• The use of direct instruction when appropriate
• The use of Rosenshines principles of instruction
• Adapting lesson PowerPoints to make better use of Dual-Coding
• Minimising the cognitive load placed on students during practical work by ensuring the practical skill is explicitly taught 

Interweaving/ interleaving- The process of weaving concepts throughout the curriculum to ensure that they are learned deeply

The Big Ideas of Science (taken from https://www.ase.org.uk/bigideas ) have been at the heart of departmental planning for several years. In more recent times the department has worked to make deep and more meaningful links between these Big Ideas to ensure Schema become more complex. This has led to the resequencing of several topics to ensure that the weaving of these complex ideas supports the embedding of knowledge into the long-term memory more effectively. 

Schema- A mental template that organises information

• Graphic organisers used when appropriate to help students construct schema
• Use of visualizers to model thinking and provide opportunities to explore metacognition
• Teachers will use questioning and other strategies to ascertain existing schema and build new knowledge onto it 

Automaticity- The ability to do things without occupying the mind with low level details

• SLOP (Shed Load Of Practice) activities are being developed to support the deliberate practice of recalling and applying knowledge.
• Self or peer quizzing using knowledge organisers.

Working-memory (WM)- The 15-30 second window in which you can ‘juggle’ a limited number of items

• New key terms are introduced carefully with supporting examples in line with Rosenshines Principles of Instruction.
• Strategies to reduce the cognitive load on working memory in exams are taught and modelled on the visualizers.

Long-term memory (LTM)-The memory storehouse which is effectively infinite

The strategies listed on this document provides students at Gateacre increased opportunities to commit more knowledge to their long-term memory.  

IMPACT: Attainment, Progress, Knowledge, Skills and Destinations

By the end of each year we want our students to have:

Year 7

  • Mastered the basic principles of working scientifically. This includes confidence in using the scientific method (planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating an investigation).
  • Grasped the Big Ideas of Forces, Energy, Particles, Atoms, Reactions, Waves and Cells.
  • Applied these fundamental principles to more complex themes such as Body Systems and Acids and Alkalis.
  • Developed an awareness of the courses available to them at GCSE and A-Level.
  • Developed an awareness of the opportunities Science can provide for them beyond school (careers etc).
  • The ability to call on appropriate strategies to support their learning such as the use of Knowledge Organisers and self-quizzing.

Year 8

  • Mastered the principles of working scientifically ready for GCSE. This includes confidence in using the scientific method (planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating an investigation).
  • Developed their schema based on the Big Ideas of Forces, Energy, Particles, Atoms, Reactions, Waves and Cells.
  • Applied these fundamental principles to more complex themes such as Adaptations, Reactions of Metals and Electromagnetism
  • Developed an increased awareness of the courses available to them at GCSE and A-Level.
  • Developed an increased awareness of the opportunities Science can provide for them beyond school (careers etc).
  • The ability to call on appropriate strategies to support their learning such as the use of Knowledge Organisers and self-quizzing.

Year 9

  • Applied the principles of working scientifically at GCSE. This includes confidence in using the scientific method (planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating an investigation).
  • Further developed their schema based the Big Ideas of Forces, Energy, Particles, Atoms, Reactions, Waves and Cells to GCSE Combined Science level.
  • Applied these fundamental principles to more complex themes such as Chemical bonding and Infection & Response.
  • Developed an increased awareness of the courses available to them at GCSE and A-Level including the option of choosing Separate Sciences at GCSE.
  • Developed an increased awareness of the opportunities Science can provide for them beyond school (careers etc).
  • The ability to call on appropriate strategies to support their learning such as the use of Knowledge Organisers and self-quizzing on targeted areas of development in their schema.

Year 10

  • Applied the principles of working scientifically at GCSE. This includes confidence in using the scientific method (planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating an investigation).
  • Have well developed schema based the Big Ideas of Forces, Energy, Particles, Atoms, Reactions, Waves and Cells to GCSE Combined Science level.
  • Applied these fundamental principles to more complex themes such as Quantitative Chemistry, Radioactivity and Homeostasis.
  • Developed a full understanding of the courses available to them at GCSE and A-Level. Those studying separate sciences will have made an informed choice based on their intended career path.
  • Developed an increased awareness of the opportunities Science can provide for them beyond school (careers etc).
  • The ability to call on appropriate strategies to support their learning such as the use of Knowledge Organisers and self-quizzing on targeted areas of development in their schema.

Year 11

  • Mastered the application of the principles of working scientifically at GCSE. This includes confidence in using the scientific method (planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating an investigation).
  • Mastered schema based the Big Ideas of Forces, Energy, Particles, Atoms, Reactions, Waves and Cells to GCSE Combined Science level.
  • Applied these fundamental principles to more complex themes such as Inheritance, Chemical analysis and Magnetism.
  • Developed a full understanding of the courses available to them at A-Level / post-16. Those studying separate sciences will have made an informed choice based on their intended career path. All students will know how science can support their progression to their next destination.
  • Developed an increased awareness of the opportunities Science can provide for them beyond school (careers etc).
  • The ability to confidently call on appropriate strategies to support their learning such as the use of Knowledge Organisers and self-quizzing on targeted areas of development in their schema.