1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
Science lessons at KSA are designed to encourage pupils to think for themselves, to question the natural world around them and to consider how theories about science evolve over time as new technologies make way for new discoveries. When pupils leave KSA they emerge informed, scientifically literate, and well able to hold their own intellectually at University and beyond.
In order to achieve this, our pupils begin their science journey in EYFS. Throughout Primary, pupils revisit the key ideas of animals, plants, everyday materials and fundamental physics each year, with mapped vocabulary building in complexity and an ambition to embed a practical aspect into every unit. From Nursery to lower KS2, children primarily focus on biology in order to develop their understanding of the world around them, with more chemistry and physics units being introduced later. This means that children transition into Secondary with a secure body of knowledge and a developing set of scientific skills. Primary unit design and implementation is supported by specialist science teachers to ensure that children of all ages learn accurate science that challenges and stretches their thinking about the world around them.
At KS3, our pupils have embarked on the pilot ARK science mastery curriculum which aims to equip pupils with the skills required to be successful scientists at GCSE, A-level and beyond and is based on current academic research. The KSA science department has a prominent role in the development of the ARK Science Mastery curriculum, and is using expertise gained from GCSE and A-level science teaching and examining to increase the rigour of lessons in Year 7 and Year 8. By the end of Year 8, pupils will have visited all the big ideas of science,and had regular opportunities to develop their skills in working scientifically and reflect on them as they go along. The aim is that the transition to GCSE will be unrecognisable to pupils as they will have already become accomplished in the necessary skills and have developed their ability to apply these to unfamiliar or new scenarios.
At GCSE and A-level, our pupils follow the AQA schemes of learning. Within the department we have two AQA examiners who are able to share learning from marking each year and provide advice and guidance to other members of the department. The timetable provides us with enough time to teach the GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy specification to all pupils, who are taught the higher specification in Year 9 before tiering decisions are made, to ensure every pupil has the opportunity to achieve a level 5+. We value the importance of practical work, and regular practicals are carefully scheduled into our long-term plans along with time to practise specific key skills. We also undertake practical afternoons in Year 11 so that pupils have extended opportunities to practise their practical skills outside of the constraints of a 50-minute lesson. A small group of pupils have opted to complete the extra learning required to take examinations in the separate sciences in their enrichment and independent learning time.
2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
The science curriculum is driven by the passion and knowledge of the leaders of the school. Over the past three years the science curriculum has constantly been reviewed and adapted based on lesson observations, unit outcomes, planning reviews and exam results. Unit orders have been changed based on feedback from subject audits, and collaboration has been the driving force behind the resourcing of the curriculum. We are now at a stage where the order of units has been established for KS2 to KS4, and overviews for each unit are in place. The curriculum leads are improving existing Knowledge Organisers (KOs), and writing models for the final writing outcomes in primary to give to the teaching staff to allow them to best prepare themselves and the children to achieve academic success. At secondary, individual teachers are now improving the quality of planning using intellectual preparation to develop the existing plans to include how best to teach the essential knowledge and key skills. Progression through Long Term Plans is reviewed in line management meetings, with flexi-time integrated into the secondary LTPs to ensure that the curriculum delivery time is not impacted by unforeseen circumstances. The quality of planning is not yet consistent, so coaching and modelling is being used to support all staff with a vision of planning being of consistent quality by 2020-2021.
All teachers of secondary science are scientists with a science-related degree. At A-level, teachers specialise depending on the specific degree that they have obtained. We are conscious that our team for 2019-2020 is young and inexperienced, with tutor fellows and non-specialists delivering the subject at primary, and NQTs delivering at A-level. We have therefore been seeking further opportunities to provide CPD to develop delivery quickly. Primary staff receive training once a half term in Deliberate practice. Deliberate practice enables teachers to teach with precision, create lessons where children think more actively and apply knowledge across different formats. Science-specific secondary CPD takes place fortnightly within the department, during which science-specific pedagogy is developed and practised. We also engage at a network-level with CPD and lead the network in the provision of biology CPD, advice and guidance. Our department development plan is focused on developing staff’s skills in planning, delivery, assessing and responding. For example, our A-level physicist has been enrolled on a STEM course designed to support first time teachers of A-level and has visited other departments in the network where ALPs scores have been high. All A-level staff have taken part in an AQA online course to review the 2019 examinations and the learning outcomes from these.
All pupils are expected to read within science, with comprehension used in lessons and as part of homework and pre-work in secondary. KOs and glossaries are provided in the same style that they are provided in English when looking at non-fiction to ensure consistency and familiarity. No learner is held back in science lessons. We set high expectations for our scientists and our lessons are rigorous. We scaffold lessons and resources where necessary so all children, including SEND and EAL can feel successful. In lessons, children receive sentence starters, word banks, vocabulary with synonyms or a definition and visual references to aid in their learning. In every primary classroom, the subject working wall is utilised by all teachers to support children in their learning. In secondary, lessons are differentiated with independent tasks increasing in complexity to allow for progression of skills. Small group teaching and re-teaching is used when necessary to support learners. As pupils progress in the school, they become responsible for determining their own level of understanding and starting points when completing independent tasks. They are given flexibility around the completion of specific tasks and practical activities and have access to stretch tasks in lessons.
3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
In primary, teachers are provided with an overview of the unit they will teach, written by the Head of All-through science. As we spiral knowledge in science, teachers are given the previous cohort’s assessment of knowledge; red for ‘not learned’, amber for ‘partially learned’ and green for ‘learned’ to inform teaching. Using the well-worn path in lessons, teachers give over the shoulder feedback. During the lesson, there are many opportunities for children to deliberately practice their knowledge in a format that the teacher can review ‘in the moment’. This allows teachers to complete formative assessment so that they gain an understanding of the direction of learning. Progression in primary science is shown through pupils’ books, their unit writing outcomes, KO quizzes and yearly subject audits undertaken by staff.
In Year 7, the new science mastery curriculum includes exit tickets which are checked at the end of every lesson. This leads to a formative ‘pre-mortem’ ahead of the following lesson to identify what needs to be adapted to ensure full understanding before the learning is moved forward. In Year 7 and 8, pupils complete formative mastery quizzes for every unit of study. Data for these is collated and reviewed to identify areas that require re-teach and students that require extra support. In Years 9-13, end-of-unit summative assessments utilise past exam paper questions and are marked by the teacher. The pupils are given individualised feedback and targets, and a re-teach lesson is planned to fix any whole class misconceptions. All data from end-of-unit assessment is recorded to build a picture of the learning journey. This is then used during the revision period to target any weak topics. The outcome of these assessments can trigger a review of the long-term plan, and discussion about this is conducted in line management meetings.
In line with the secondary school policy, summative assessment takes place three times in the year, in addition to the more regular formative assessment. These assessments are cumulative in nature and set centrally by ARK. The benefit of completing these summative assessments is that they provide an opportunity to compare the outcomes of our students to others in the network. These form the basis of grades reported to parents and students, although the results of formative assessment are factored in where relevant.
Blue - Physics
Green - Biology
Yellow - Chemistry
Primary Knowledge Organisers
The science department is proud of the opportunities provided to students to develop their scientific understanding of the world beyond the classroom. Over the past three years our students have engaged with many organisations and scientists, as outlined below:
- Co2024 are currently engaged in a three-year partnership with the Natural History Museum. This involves visiting the NHM every year to meet scientists and learn more about the projects the museum is involved in. It is hoped that through this partnership the students will gain a greater understanding of the career opportunities available to them in science, and the museum can learn more about how best to communicate their work with their younger visitors.
- Many of Co2022 have gained their Silver CREST Award due to our engagement in a research programme looking at the effective implementation of the CREST Award in schools. To gain the award, students had to design their own science project, conduct experiments and present their results to a group of external scientists.
- We have been on a number of cross-curricular trips with the geography department. This year, co2022 had the opportunity to head to Hyde Park to complete both a biology and geography investigation. In sixth form, we run a yearly trip to Kew Gardens for students to see the biology they are learning in action.
- Our sixth form scientists have lots of exposure to scientists currently working in specialist fields. We have had speakers in to discuss research in zoology, genetics, stem cell research and engineering to name a few. Our A-level physicists attend a climbing trip yearly to learn about tension and strain outside of the classroom.
- Co2022 triple scientists had the opportunity to learn about Hydrogen fuel cells from BNP Paribas. BNP Paribas brought with them a Hydrogen-fuelled car to allow the students to see how the technology can be applied to reduce our impact on the environment. Read the article here: https://kingsolomonacademy.org/news/year-11-hydrogen-car-session
- Every year, we celebrate British Science Week across the school. We invite scientists to visit from all sectors, and work with Westminster Council to provide opportunities for our students to work with local companies to find out more about what they do. This year, we took a group of students to a drama workshop organised by the Natural History Museum followed by a play about Evolution and Darwin and Lamarck’s contribution to this. We also took a group of students to The Rhythm Studio’s Sonic Pi Workshop to learn about how to create their own music and code.
- All year groups take the opportunities available to us due to our proximity to the London museums. We have run countless trips to the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Wellcome Collection and Museum of Zoology.
Every year, more students gain places at university to study science-related degrees. We are proud that as our A-level results improve year on year, our students are able to gain places on increasingly competitive courses at some of the top universities in the country.
Fatima – Studying MBBS Medicine at Imperial University
Joshua – Studying BSc Biology at St Andrews University
Zein – Studying BSc Chemical Engineering at UCL
Shaimaa – Studying BSc Biomedical Sciences at Kings College London
Eddy – Studying BSc Chemical Engineering at Birmingham University
Besmel – Studying BSc Optometry at City University
Zahra – Studying BSc Biomedical Sciences at Reading University
Gellila – Studying BSc Biomedical Sciences at Reading University
Mostafa – Studying BSc Mechanical Engineering at Queen Mary University
Adel – Studying BSc Aeronautical Engineering at Queen Mary University
Nikita – Studying Medicine in Denmark
Tasnim – Studying BSc Clinical Pharmacology at St Georges University
Tahmid – Studying BSc Mechanical Engineering at Lancaster University
Jannat – Studying BSc Biomedical Science at Kingston University
Isir – Studying BSc Pharmaceutical Science at Kingston University
Nadia – Studying BSc Medical Sciences and Engineering at UCL
Thaer – Studying Meng Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London
Susan – Studying MPharm Pharmacy at UCL
Belkacem – Studying BSc Biomedical Engineering at Kings College London
Aamir – Studying BSc Biomedical Sciences at Warwick University
Nedhal – Studying BSc Biological Sciences at Royal Veterinary College
Majida – Studying BSc Child nursing at Middlesex University
Ghadeer – Studying BSc Optometry at City University
Tasneem – Studying BSc Biomedical Science at Reading University
Fatema – Studying MPharm Pharmacy (Foundation) at Reading University
Bshayer – Studying BSc Materials Science (Foundation year) at Queen Mary University
Gloria – Studying BSc Biochemistry at Keele University
Nadia – Studying MBBS Medicine at Imperial College London
Nafisul - Studying MPharm Pharmacy at Kings College London
Mohammad – Studying Meng Mechanical Engineering at Warwick University
Maha – Studying BSc Astrophysics at Sussex University
Lauryn – Studying BSc Biochemistry at Aberdeen University
Amira and Noshin - Studying BSc Biomedical Science at Brunel University
Ayman – Studying Meng Mechanical Engineering at Brunel University
Sami – Studying MPharm Pharmacy at Hertfordshire University
Akidah - Studying MPharm Pharmacy at Kingston University
Mohammed - Studying BSc Biology at Middlesex University
Hala - Studying BSc Biology (Foundation) at Queen Mary University
Erisa - Studying BSc Nursing at Buckinghamshire New University
Shakeel – Studying BSc Chemical Engineering at UCL
Nusrat – Studying BSc Pharmacology at Queen Mary University
Kamal – Studying MEng Chemical Engineering at Aston University
Emmanuel – Studying BSc Biology at Coventry University
Daniella – Studying BSc Biological Sciences at Liverpool University
Mohammad – Studying MSc Chemical Engineering at Sheffield University
Khadija – Studying BSc Chemistry at Royal Holloway University
Daniel – Studying BSc Chemical Engineering at LSBU
Jessica – Studying BSc Biology at University of West England
Hager – Studying BSc Electrical Engineering at LSBU
Christian – Studying BSc Biological Sciences at Middlesex University