Curriculum Information for Science

Science Curriculum Intent

Our vision for Science at Tottington High School is for all students to develop a passion for science, to promote inquisitive, independent and resilient young scientists who are relentless in their pursuit for excellence. Science developments influence our lives and are vital to the future prosperity of our world. Our science curriculum enables students to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about scientific phenomena. All students are encouraged to understand how science can be used to make predictions; formulate experimental methods; conduct experiments; and analyse and explain results.

Science Curriculum Purpose

Our curriculum principles are to:

  • Adapt our curriculum to meet the unique needs of all of our learners.
  • Stretch and challenge all learners, taking into account different starting points.
  • Improve effective literacy and communication skills – therefore creating learners who are confident and competent at listening; speaking; reading and writing.
  • Develop key scientific skills including math skills.
  • Enthuse students to love science by conducting regular practical experiments and link this to key scientific concepts. 
  • Embed a range of wider opportunities and experiences for all, to ensure our learners have an educational experience that is rich and varied.
  • Encourage further study in science and to inspire students to work towards a scientific career.

As a result, the Science curriculum will:

  • Inspire learners to become confident; inquisitive; independent and resilient scientists who develop a love of learning science.
  • Provide a stimulating environment that integrates discovery and exploration into learning and which takes into account individual needs, strengths and starting points.
  • Develop successful learners who are able to apply scientific knowledge and understanding correctly to both familiar and unfamiliar contexts in the world.
  • Enable learners to understand how science fits into society and thereby encourage them to make a positive contribution to their local and wider community.
  • Enable learners to use a range of mathematical skills that can be applied to the world in which they live.
  • Enable learners to critically evaluate and refine methodologies, and judge the validity of scientific conclusions that are presented to them in the media.
  • Enable learners to critically analyse qualitative and quantitative data to draw their own logical, well-evidenced conclusions.
  • Enable learners to use their knowledge and understanding of science to further their science education beyond Tottington High School and/or to pursue a scientific career.

Science Learning Journeys

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The Science curriculum has been strategically designed and sequenced to provide a logically cumulative development of knowledge, skills and understanding both within topics and linked across topics in key stage three and four.   

Our focus is based on key ‘Big Questions’ for each topic and each lesson for the three science disciplines. This allows the pupils to clearly see what the key learning opportunities are and how they are linked throughout the curriculum. 

In addition to the progressive sequencing of knowledge and skills, there is carefully planned assessment of prior learning and retrieval practice throughout the curriculum. This enables us to address any misconceptions and gaps in knowledge to ensure that key concepts become embedded in the learning of Science which will help our students to aim high and achieve success. 

Students become increasingly independent from Years 7 – 11, building confidence in key scientific skills and developing a greater depth of understanding in each topic. 

To support deeper learning within our curriculum, staff use metacognitive strategies to help pupils to succeed in their lessons. This involves a series of steps within each lesson that begins with activating prior knowledge in a retrieval activity, then moves on to key learning activities that promote independent learning skills, before ending in structured plenaries to consolidate and review the success of intended learning outcomes.

Teachers meet and greet pupils at the door. Clear seating plans are in place. 

At the start of each topic:

  • Students receive a progress tracker with clear lesson learning outcomes, a glossary and a knowledge organiser. Students stick these in books at the start of the topic. 
  • Progress trackers: Teachers use the learning outcomes on progress trackers as questions/tasks during lessons, and students refer to progress trackers to inform them of progress and learning. Based on this information, teachers plan for future learning to enable students to confidently achieve intended learning outcomes. Students also use these resources to catch up on missed learning and revise for formative and summative assessments. Teacher feedback is closely matched to learning outcomes on the progress tracker. 
  • Glossaries: Students are guided to refer to glossaries to look up key terms/words used in lessons. Teachers include key words/terms on their title slide. Students can use glossaries to revise and formulate revision questions for assessments.
  • Knowledge organsiers: Teachers use these for low-stakes testing such as quizzes / progress checks. Students use these to research and find answers for low-stakes assessment activities. Students use these to revise and formulate revision questions for assessments.
  • An activity is planned for students and teachers to assess prior learning to explore possible topic misconceptions. This enables the teacher to effectively plan appropriate learning and teaching activities for that topic.

In each subsequent lesson:

  • A strong start with retrieval practice (review of relevant prior knowledge to activate schemata ready to build new knowledge into long term learning).
  • Teachers help students to link this content to previous and future learning.
  • Small amounts of new knowledge are presented at a time with the opportunity for students to apply and practice this.   
  • Regular low-stakes questioning of all students using strategies such as wait time, cold calling and no opt-out. Students are strategically targeted, without only focusing on those who always volunteer answers. Resilience is developed by not accepting ‘I don’t know’ as an answer, and promoting research to discover answers independently. Teachers use this formative assessment to plan future learning opportunities where appropriate. 
  • Model answers and worked examples are regularly provided where appropriate.   
  • Students have opportunities for extensive independent learning practice in some class activities and in project based learning.    
  • A strong finish with a structured plenary to consolidate and review the success of intended learning outcomes.
  • Students ensure all books and equipment are packed away and all pupils calmly wait behind desks to be dismissed. 

Teachers complete book checks every lesson to provide feedback on presentation, literacy and to ensure work is completed to a high standard. Live teacher feedback in lessons enables students to check, mark and improve their work.  A range of strategies are used including:

  • Whole class front of class feedback on the board/PP after work checked
  • Live sampling during lesson with feedback on the board
  • Peer/self-assessment

Formative assessment:

Formative assessment is consistently used every lesson in the form of retrieval practice, low-stakes testing, questioning strategies and plenaries to consolidate and review the success of intended learning outcomes.

Teacher marked formative assessment tasks are used at key points within a topic or at the end of a topic. Their purpose is to help students and teachers to identify what is going well in the topic, and areas to develop. Students get the opportunity to improve their answers and act on individual teacher feedback tasks to help develop their knowledge and understanding. 

Summative assessment:

There are two summative assessments per academic year.  These assessments include about 80% content from topics covered since the last summative assessment point, and 20% content from previous topics to help students to consolidate and improve learning throughout the curriculum. 

Teachers use the data obtained to reteach areas that the whole class needs to develop, and provide each student with individual personalised feedback to enable them to make progress.

Teacher feedback:

Feedback is personalised and directly linked to tasks on assessments to enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding.

Teachers use the data obtained to plan immediate/future learning activities to help pupil progress.

Homework at key stage 3 is carefully designed with weekly tasks that aim to boost key scientific skills. Students receive a termly skills task booklet.

Homework at key stage 4 is a range of exam style practice questions with interactive Seneca assignments based on areas to develop that are identified from assessments.

The curriculum is enriched further with regular science clubs; science based projects; educational trips; professional guest speaker events; dedicated career focused lessons; and Crest Award projects. Science club invites key stage 3 students to explore a range of short and long-term topical science projects, offering a range of practical self-discovery opportunities. Key stage 3 science-based projects are embedded into a curriculum topic per year which provides students the opportunity to research, plan and create a model or carry out an experiment to discover key aspects of a key curriculum linked science theme. Educational trips include whole year trips to science fairs; space topic project based visits to Jodrell Bank; ecology and evolution topic visits to Chester Zoo; particle physics topic visits to CERN in Geneva; genetics topic visit to Manchester Museum. Dedicated career project lessons include becoming and architect of fairground rides, becoming a dentist and investigating tooth decay, and becoming a nutritionist to create meal plans. Crest award provides the opportunity for students to develop experimental skills and apply scientific understanding to a wider context.

Our department are passionate about improving the science capital of our students so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills for the next stage of their journey.

We understand the importance of equipping pupils with the scientific knowledge and skills to understand and question the world around them. 

The subject of science at Key Stage 5 can be linked to a variety of different fields, from those well-known academic pathways such as aerospace, engineering and medical, to less well-known connections such as fashion and beauty. 

We would hope that pupils will go on to choose to study higher education in the form of A-levels in Biology, Physics or Chemistry or diploma courses such as animal management at college.

Further details can be found about post-college study on the UCAS website: