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Curriculum Intent

At St Thomas’ Centre we want all pupils to become confident, articulate and curious learners, regardless of their starting point. We want our pupils to be able to appreciate and understand the rapidly changing world around them and to become tolerant and responsible members of their local, national and global community. We believe that Science has the potential to develop the knowledge and skills that allow pupils to succeed at these levels, and our Science curriculum is designed in a way to support and nurture our pupils’ journeys to achieving this.

Our science curriculum is designed to instil pupils with a genuine sense of excitement and curiosity. It is both relevant and engaging, allowing pupils to explore new ideas through scientific methodology, whilst creating memorable learning experiences. To this end, we ensure that pupils develop a practical approach to science, by routinely planning and carrying out laboratory investigations. This approach is supported by wider educational opportunities provided in and out of lessons that embrace local, national and global developments or issues.

Key Stage 3 overview

At Key Stage 3, Science lessons are carefully planned so that pupils follow a logical and progressive curriculum that gradually builds on previous learning. Links to other subjects are reinforced and explored, providing a powerful and meaningful learning experience for our pupils. Importantly, gaps in knowledge and understanding are identified and addressed so that pupils have sufficiently strong foundations to further their learning at Key Stage 4. Throughout Key Stage 3, the main underpinning themes in science are developed, including; cells and organisms, force and motion, energy and waves, particles and matter, and Earth science.

Key Stage 4 overview

As pupils progress through Key Stage 4 we aim to develop scientific thinking even further by encouraging the application of essential scientific skills; hypothesising, designing and testing, observing, recording and communicating scientific ideas. Therefore, there remains a strong focus on the use of practical work in years 10 and 11. This is supported by the way scientific ideas flow and develop through the curriculum, which helps to nurture a deeper understanding of science and its place in the world today.

Pupils will study AQA Combined Science: Trilogy Award at either Foundation or Higher Tier. Assessments take place in the summer term of year 11 and are comprised of 6 written exams as detailed below:



Assessment type

Biology paper 1

Biology topics 1–4: Cell Biology; Organisation; Infection and response; and Bioenergetics.

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

Biology paper 2

Biology topics 5–7: Homeostasis and response; Inheritance, variation and evolution; and Ecology.

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

Chemistry paper 1

Chemistry topics 8–12: Atomic structure and the periodic table; Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter; Quantitative chemistry; Chemical changes; and Energy changes.

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

Chemistry paper 2

Chemistry topics 13–17: The rate and extent of chemical change; Organic chemistry; Chemical analysis; Chemistry of the atmosphere; and Using resources.

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

Physics paper 1

Physics topics 18–21: Energy; Electricity; Particle model of matter; and Atomic structure.

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

Physics paper 2

Physics topics 22–24: Forces; Waves; and Magnetism and electromagnetism

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes