Science

Science Curriculum

Intent

The Science curriculum aims to generate an excitement and curiosity about scientific phenomena, alongside the knowledge, concepts and skills that students require to understand and thrive in the modern world. We encourage our students to think critically, evaluate evidence, draw informed conclusions, and consider the role that science plays in both our everyday lives and a global context. The curriculum is designed to cover a broad range of content, with particular focus on the key concepts necessary to develop a secure understanding of the foundations of biology, chemistry and physics.

The Science curriculum has been carefully designed to build the students’ knowledge and expertise over 5 years or 7 years for students who go on to study A-level sciences. The content is split into three strands – Biology, Chemistry and Physics – and the sequence of learning within each strand is shown in the table below.

 

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

Year 7

Cells

Body Systems

Reproduction

Particle Model

Elements, Atoms and Compounds

Reactions

Acids and Bases

Forces

Sound

Light

Space

Year 8

Food and Digestion

Photosynthesis and Respiration

Genetics

Ecology

The Periodic Table

Solutions

Reactivity Series

The Earth

Materials and the Environment

Electricity and Magnetism

Energy

Motion, Pressure and Moments

Year 9

Communicable disease

Preventing and treating disease

Cell structure and transport

Cell division

Organisation and the digestive system

Organising animals and plants

Rates and Equilibrium

Balancing Equations

Crude oil and Fuels

Earth's Atmosphere

Earth's Resources

Chemical Analysis

Atomic Structure

Conservation of Energy

Energy transfer by heating

Energy Resources

Electric circuits

Electricity in the home

Particle model

Year 10 (students move on to Single (SS) or Combined Science)

 

Non-communicable disease

Photosynthesis

Respiration

Nervous system

Hormonal coordination

Homeostasis in action

Reproduction

The Periodic Table

Structure and Bonding

Chemical Analysis

Chemical Calculations

Chemical Changes

Radioactivity

Forces and motion

Pressure

Waves

Year 11

Variation and evolution

Genetics and evolution

Adaptations, interdependence and competition

Organising an ecosystem

Biodiversity and ecosystems

 

Electrolysis

Energy Changes

Organic Reactions

Polymers

Using our Resources

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Light

Electromagnetism

Space

 

In Years 7 and 8, students are taught in mixed ability sets, and usually have two science teachers. Each student has 6 hours of Science lessons per fortnight.

In Year 9, students are moved into sets, and now have three specialist teachers – one for each of the sciences. Each student has 10 hours of Science lessons per fortnight

In Year 10, students move on to their GCSE courses – either Single Science or Combined Science. Single Science students will achieve three GCSE grades at the end of Year 11, while Combined Science students will achieve two. Consequently, there is more content to learn on Single Science, and more to revise, than there is on Combined. On either pathway, students will have three specialist teachers, can access the full range of outcomes (from 9 to 1) and are eligible for A-level science assuming they meet the entry criteria. Single science students will have 12 hours per fortnight, while combined science students will have 10 hours per fortnight. For more specific details about each pathway, please read the sections at the bottom of this page.

Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students

In accordance with our whole school policy, science teachers place SEND and Pupil Premium students at the heart of their lesson planning.  We are ambitious for all students, and teach the full curriculum to all classes.

In Science, we provide for the progress of SEND and Pupil Premium students by using inclusive strategies that benefit all students and are particularly supportive for vulnerable learners. These include:

  • Delivering a curriculum with a clear and deliberate structure that aims to secure knowledge and build confidence
  • Providing knowledge organisers that describe the knowledge needed for each unit
  • Teaching in mixed ability sets and delivering the same content to all students, so that none are excluded from any aspects of the curriculum
  • Delivering a broad and diverse curriculum that develops the cultural capital of all students.
  • Developing inquiry-based skills that will benefit students throughout their academic education and beyond
  • Explicitly teaching revision techniques and encouraging students to reflect upon strategies that are most effective for them
  • Ensuring all students have access to regular practical activities, ICT and the school library
  • Providing an outstanding programme of extra-curricular activities and ensuring that PP/SEND students are prioritised for these opportunities. 
  • Targeting differentiated questions at PP/SEND students
  • Clearly identifying PP/SEND students in our seating plans and mark books
  • Marking PP/SEND students’ books first giving clear actions for improvement which necessitate student response
  • Prioritising PP/SEND students for our intervention sessions, run by a STEM HLTA.

Retention

Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. Regular low stakes testing is embedded in all lessons, which begin with a retrieval activity that probes retention of learning from recent lessons and those earlier in the course. Each chapter also includes an online homework quiz, and a lesson designed to consolidate long-term retention of key knowledge from that topic.

Assessment

Each chapter contains:

  • A teacher-assessed task that focusses on a threshold concept or key skill for that chapter. This will be marked by the teacher, and students will be given feedback followed by a specific, individual action for improvement.
  • An online homework quiz split into two sections. The first part tests recall of content from the knowledge organiser. The second part requires the students to apply their knowledge and is targeted at threshold concepts and common misconceptions for that chapter.
  • A consolidation lesson that provides curriculum time for the class teacher to feedback on the two assessments above, and give students a ‘next step’ task to demonstrate progress.
  • In Year 9,10 and 11 the students also sit a progress check at the end of each chapter. This is a low-stakes assessment that is peer or self-marked in the lesson so that students receive instant feedback.

In addition to the above, a variety of assessment activities will be used by science teachers in lessons. These activities are designed to probe student understanding and retention of knowledge and will be used by the teacher to respond to the needs of individual students.

Three times per year the students will complete a larger assessment. These papers will be synoptic, and cover all content taught so far. Students will receive feedback on these papers, and specific actions for improvement.

Contact details

Head of Science: Miss Kyriakides & Mr Briggs - akyriakides@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.ukibriggs@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk
Head of Biology: Miss Rose - hrose@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk
Head of Chemistry: Miss Eccleston - aeccleston@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk
Head of Physics: Mr Briggs - ibriggs@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk
Key Stage Three Co-ordinator: Miss Carter – ljcarter@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk


Progression to Post-16

A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Applied Science, as well as links to many more vocational and academic courses in fields as diverse as Psychology, Engineering and Sport Sciences.

The below sections provide more detail about the assessments and grades awarded on Single and Combined Science.

Combined Science

How it’s assessed

6 Exam Papers, each 1 hour and 15 mins long.

There are two papers for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

We split content into Chapters in line with the Oxford University Press GCSE Science Textbooks. The chapters covered by each exam paper are:

Biology Paper 1:

B1 to B9 – Cells and Organisation and Disease and Bioenergetics

Biology Paper 2:

B10 to B11, B13 to B18 – Biological Responses, Genetics and Reproduction, Ecology

Chemistry Paper 1:

C1 to C7 - Atoms, Bonding and Moles, Chemical Reactions and Energy Changes

Chemistry Paper 2:

C8 to C9, C12 to C14 – Rates, Equilibrium & Organic Chemistry, Analysis & Earth’s Resources

Physics Paper 1:

P1 to P7 – Energy and Energy Resources, Particles At Work

Physics Paper 2:

P8 to P11, P12 to P13, P15 - Forces in Action, Waves, Electromagnetism

Examination Board:   AQA

Grading system: Students achieve a double grade, which is equivalent to two GCSE grades. For example, if a student achieved a 6-5 this would be equivalent to one grade 6 and one grade 5 GCSE. The double grade is calculated using an average of student performance across the 6 exam papers.

 

Single Science

How it’s assessed

6 Exam Papers, each 1 hour and 45 mins long.

There are two papers for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

We split content into Chapters in line with the Oxford University Press GCSE Science Textbooks. The chapters covered by each exam paper are:

Biology Paper 1:

B1 to B9 – Cells and Organisation and Disease and Bioenergetics

Biology Paper 2:

B10 to B18 – Biological Responses, Genetics and Reproduction, Ecology

Chemistry Paper 1:

C1 to C7 - Atoms, Bonding and Moles, Chemical Reactions and Energy Changes

Chemistry Paper 2:

C8 to C15 – Rates, Equilibrium & Organic Chemistry, Analysis & Earth’s Resources

Physics Paper 1:

P1 to P7  – Energy and Energy Resources, Particles At Work

Physics Paper 2:

P8 to P16 - Forces in Action, Waves, Electromagnetism and Space

Examination Board:   AQA

Grading system: 9 to 1, with a separate grade for each of three sciences. These three grades can be completely separate so, for example, a student could achieve a grade 5 in Biology, a grade 7 in Chemistry and a grade 9 in Physics.

Biology Knowledge Organisers

Chemistry Knowledge Organisers

Physics Knowledge Organisers

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@@DidcotGirls09:36 AM - 20th June, 2024 We’ve enjoyed three wonderful days of open mornings this week, with visitors experiencing ‘everyday excellence’ across the site with out fabulous transition mentors. The sun even made a very welcome appearance ☀️ pic.twitter.com/sHpuJXfUrd
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