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Science KS3 Curriculum

Curriculum Intent (Years 7 & 8)

Science at Sacred Heart has been designed to be accessible, inclusive, and ambitious to allow students to understand the world around us from the study of the universe down to the atom. Students from Year 7 are immersed into practical work to support the scientific knowledge which is explicitly taught to mixed ability groups. Students improve their scientific enquiry skills by developing their data analysis and data presentation skills from their own experimental results which they then use to draw conclusions linking to their scientific knowledge.

Students are given opportunities for retrieval practice most lessons and are explicitly taught maths skills such as ratios, converting units and using and rearranging formulae as part of the science curriculum. Each science is taught on a rota, allowing for one specialism per term. This ensures students are able to develop a secure understanding of that particular science and key concepts are returned to throughout the term e.g., cells in biology or forces in physics to develop sophisticated schemata. 

During each topic, a career related to that field of study is explored, either in class or as a homework, to provide students with an understanding of different scientific occupations available to them if they continue to study the discipline post 16. We want all our learners to be scientifically literate and to be able to critically analyse information they receive from all sources, including social media in addition we would also like some of our learners to be at the forefront of scientific discovery by studying science at undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

We develop a HPL mindset by encouraging our learners to practise and persevere when learning abstract concepts which are revised regularly due to the nature of a spiral curriculum. We encourage our learners to work collaboratively during practical work and address contemporary issues such as global warming, climate change and recycling so that they are well-informed members of society who want to tackle the issues that will affect them in the future.

We conduct project work in the summer which includes research and presentation tasks about scientists from across the world and their individual or group contributions to the advancement of science. This raises awareness about representation of women and minorities in science and reinforces the idea that women from all around the world are working in scientific research and encourages our learners to pursue science as a career.   

We encourage students to develop their scientific understanding outside of lessons by running a STEM club and we are launching the CREST award at KS3. We take advantage of our London location by taking all of year 7 to the Natural History Museum every year and regularly take part in competitions with the Linnean Society or the Royal Society of Biology e.g. The Nancy Rothwell Award, the BioMedia Meltdown project and Young Photographer of the Year which capitalises on their creativity and originality. We organise speakers to engage students with science beyond the scope of the curriculum and reinforce the key big ideas in science.

Themes (knowledge & understanding)
  • structure and function in living organisms,
  • the particulate model as the key to understanding the properties and interactions of matter in all its forms, and
  • the resources and means of transfer of energy as key determinants of all of these interactions.
  • work objectively
  • modify explanations to take account of new evidence and ideas
  • make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding
  • use appropriate techniques, apparatus, and materials during fieldwork and laboratory work, paying attention to health and safety
  • collect, record and process data
  • evaluate results and identify further questions arising from them

Modules Taught

Year 7
Year 8
Year 9

Biology: Cells
Biology: Structure and function of body systems
Biology: Reproduction
Chemistry: Particles and their behaviour
Chemistry: Elements, atoms, and compounds
Chemistry: Reactions
Chemistry: Acids and alkalis
Physics: Energy
Physics: Space
Physics: Sound
Physics: Forces

Biology: Health and lifestyle
Biology: Ecosystem processes
Biology: Adaptation and inheritance
Chemistry: The periodic table
Chemistry: Separation techniques
Chemistry: Metals and acids
Chemistry: The Earth
Physics: Electricity and magnetism
Physics: Light
Physics: Motion and pressure

See separate Biology, Physics and chemistry curricular below for Year 9


Year 7
Year 8

End of year exam – all specialisms assessed

End of year exam – all specialisms assessed

Stretch & Challenge

Extension questions, research tasks, investigative projects.

Enrichment Opportunities

Year 7 trip to Natural History Museum, The Linnean Society Biomedia Competition, Nancy Rothwell award.

Year 9 Biology

In Year 9 students begin the GCSE course in science.  Biology is taught by subject specialist teachers from Year 9 onwards.  We build on the knowledge students acquired in year 7 as we follow a spiral curriculum, which allows us to revisit topics from KS3 and develop the ideas further.  We begin with the topics that are familiar to them including cells, body systems, and bioenergetics but teaching them far more detail than what they have learnt in Year 7 or 8.

A large number of the prescribed practical tasks from the exam board are carried out in Year 9.  This allows us to develop the students ‘working scientifically’ skills including identifying variables, presenting data appropriately and plotting graphs.  A number of these skills overlap with the other sciences and with mathematics, allowing for cross curricular approaches to teaching and learning.       

Students are challenged from the beginning of the course to answer past exam questions in nearly all lessons with additional retrieval practice is embedded at the beginning of each lesson to review the work from previous lessons.  Students study a linear course which begins in Year 9, therefore every summative assessment will test students’ knowledge on everything they have studied in biology up to that point.  Students are also provided with assessment folders to store all summative assessments but more importantly to review these assessments before a new cycle of assessment begins.  

We continue with exploring biology related careers in Year 9 which is achieved via classroom and homework tasks to provide students with a greater understanding of possible careers post 16, post 18 and at graduate level.

All students in Year 9 are given the opportunity to sit the ‘biology challenge’ competition which ‘stimulates curiosity for the natural world and encourages students to take an interest in biology outside of school.’  Many of our students are able to medal with gold, silver or bronze awards and this increases their confidence in their scientific knowledge and encourages them to want to pursue biology post 16.

Year 9 Chemistry

Our Chemistry department at Sacred Heart strives to promote an inclusive, far-reaching,  inquisitive and safe environment for learning.  Through our passion for our subject we want to inspire our students to develop confidence, resilience and a love of Chemistry.  To enable students to develop these attributes we deploy a variety of activities such as scaffolded tasks, independent research, group discussions, problem-solving and practical work.  Outside academic achievement, we want our students to be prepared for their future careers by teaching them transferable skills such as critical thinking, the ability to analyse information and practicality. 

In order to achieve this, we implement a wide range of teaching and learning strategies in line with the 5 goals of Sacred Heart education alongside HPL philosophy.  Embedded within our curriculum are opportunities to address and understand the current scientific issues that our society faces, as well as ensuring an awareness of science in the media which can often be misinterpreted.  At Sacred Heart our ambitious curriculum goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, to provide enrichment opportunities for all students. We provide after school drop-in sessions for KS4 and KS5, organise trips and competitions to challenge students further.  Our students will leave Sacred Heart with ideas of scientific career pathways and how to achieve them.

We strongly believe that Chemistry should be accessible to all students, regardless of their background and ability, equipping them with broad scientific knowledge and skills that can be applied to their lives.  To ensure all learners are engaged in our curriculum we plan according to students’ specific needs.  We allow students to take either double or triple science to suit their interest and to inspire as many students as possible to continue studying Chemistry post-16, including both A-level Chemistry and BTEC Applied Science.

Year 9 Physics

Studying Physics at Sacred High School aims to inspire all our students to become confident, creative, curious, resilient, kind, and respectful individuals that are equipped with a desire to explore our vast and complex Universe and contribute to making positive changes in our world. Our ambitious curriculum is enriching and inclusive and provides exciting and interesting learning opportunities for all students. It explores and creates fundamental knowledge for innovation in technology and research to prepare our students to play a decisive role in the future progress of humankind.  

We use the framework of High-Performance Learning and the active teaching of advanced cognitive performance skills, values, attitudes, and attributes, underpinned by Catholic values and subject skills with a commitment to inclusivity and diversity of opportunities for all pupils through a rich extracurricular programme to enable them to discover and grow their special individual talents, skills, and abilities.  

Our students develop knowledge and understanding of physics principles through opportunities of working scientifically, such as investigating, research testing, and evaluation. They build a deep understanding of physics principles and laws and mature their critical thinking and problem-solving. This helps students to understand the world around them and satisfy their curiosity. Through the study of physics, we encourage all our students to understand and value different cultures, countries, and people as well as have an appreciation of how the world works and science in the media which can often be misinterpreted.    

The physics curriculum follows a spiral path that allows students to revisit topics, further broaden and deepen their scientific knowledge and understanding and at the same time prepare students with a particular passion for physics to study single sciences, A-level and beyond.