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Science at Totnes Progressive School

Foundation – overview of teaching 
The KS2 curriculum is taught on a two-year rolling programme and roughly mirrors the chronological narrative which is followed in Foundation English and Humanities. This runs from the Big Bang through to Ancient Rome. Exceptions to this are made to cover additional required content including electricity and circuits, some of the materials subject and human development which is taught alongside the relevant PSHE scheme. Teaching the course in this way allows topics to be covered multiple times throughout the two years helping to cement ideas and concepts which will be further developed upon in KS3.
Students have one lesson a week with a specialist science teacher. There is a focus throughout on working scientifically and developing critical thinking skills. The programme is highly practical with opportunities for the students to plan, do and evaluate their own investigations as well as drawing conclusions from secondary sources.

Living things & their habitats
Life cycles
Animals including humans
Changes & development
Health & nutrition
Evolution & inheritance
Fossils & change over time
Variation & adaptation
Chemistry Topics
Properties & changes in materials
Material properties & uses
Separation techniques
Chemical & physical changes
Physics Topics
Earth & Space
The Earth & Moon
The Solar System
Resistive forces
Simple machines
Properties of light
Changing voltage and its effects
Circuit symbols

Foundation Assessment
Assessment at KS2 is by continuous teacher assessment with ongoing feedback provided throughout the course. Students are taught how to approach unfamiliar situations using their knowledge of how science works, and this, in combination with their Maths and English assessments, is used to generate an idea of what their attainment might look like at GCSE. 
KS3 Science - overview of teaching
KS3 students follow a ‘spiral’ curriculum, which identifies major themes in science and builds on their knowledge and application of concepts each year. These major themes prepare the students for the concepts they will meet in KS4, and provide that underlying knowledge to give them the best chance of success at GCSE. Woven into these themes are opportunities to improve skills in mathematical application, and development of how to work scientifically through practical investigations. 
The teaching at KS3 is undertaken by one teacher for each year group; this enables the teacher to gain a comprehensive understanding of each individual student and how they approach their work, whilst also providing the student with consistency and regular support. Students have three science lessons a week, and rotate through the subjects of physics, chemistry and biology. 

KS3 Course information - AQA KS3 Science Syllabus

Year 7
Year 8
Physics Topics
Contact Forces
Energy Costs
Energy Transfers
Work Done
Properties of Waves
Uses of Waves
Chemistry Topics
Particle Theory
Separation Techniques
The Elements
Periodic Table
Metals and Non-metals
Types of Reaction
Reaction Energy
The Universe
Structure of the Earth
Earth’s Resources
Biology Topics
Plant Reproduction
Human Reproduction

KS3 Assessment
Students complete a baseline assessment on entry to year 7, which is then analysed to get an idea of their understanding of scientific concepts and how to work scientifically. The baseline assessment is used alongside teacher judgement to give an approximate idea of attainment at GCSE. They are also assessed at the end of each topic with a 30 minute assessment, followed by a feedback lesson that addresses any persistent misconceptions or gaps in knowledge highlighted by the assessment. Throughout their lessons, students are informally assessed on skills such as experiment design, use of equipment, precision and accuracy, constructing graphs, drawing conclusions from data, and critical evaluation of practical methods. They will also be asked to draw on skills from across the curriculum, such as communication of ideas through analogies and models, using and rearranging equations, constructing lines of reasoning, evaluating sources of evidence, and discussions around the ethical uses of science.
Students are also assessed at the end of KS3 to see how their skills have developed over the two years, and also to provide a more realistic idea of attainment at GCSE. This, alongside information provided by the KS3 teacher, can then be used by the subject specialist GCSE teacher to give a well informed predicted grade. 
KS4 - overview of teaching
All students undertake the AQA Combined Science (Trilogy) course, which provides them with two GCSE grades. These grades are calculated from the completion of six written exams taken at the end of Year 11 - two each for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For more information on the grading scale used, see the AQA website. Throughout the course, students are expected to complete a number of required practicals for each subject. These have replaced the coursework element of previous courses; they are designed to give students a working understanding of more up-to-date methods used in science, and a sample of the practicals are expected to appear in the GCSE exam. 
  • Yr9 topics
    • P1 Energy 
    • P2 Electricity
  • Yr 10 topics
    • P3 Particle Model of Matter
    • P4 Atomic Structure and Isotopes
    • P5 Forces
  • Yr 11 topics
    • P6 Waves
    • P7 Electromagnetism
  • Yr9 detail (topics/modules/skills)
    • C1 - Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
    • C2 - Structure, Bonding and Properties of Matter
  • Yr 10 detail (topics/modules/skills)
    • C3 - Quantitative Chemistry
    • C4 - Chemical Changes
    • C5 - Energy Changes 
    • C7 - Organic Chemistry
    • C8 - Analytical Chemistry
  • Yr 11 detail (topics/modules/skills)
    • C6 - Rate and Extent of Chemical Change
    • C9 - Chemistry of the Atmosphere
    • C10 - Using Resources
  • Yr9 topics
    • B1 Cell Biology and Transport
    • B2 Organisation
  • Yr 10 topics
    • B3 Infection and Response&

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