Science lessons at Elms School embrace the knowledge-engaged curriculum, from Early Years to KS4. The curriculum demonstrates a balance between knowledge and skills, drawing equally on both areas and thereby reflecting the practices of science. Significant and immediately relevant topics, such as alternative energy sources, climate change and the growth of antibiotic resistance, are taught cross-curricularly to provide context and meaning for our learners.
Our science curriculum map reflects the 10 big ideas of science and the National Curriculum across the stages; delivery within the classroom focuses on the needs of the learners to enable access to these concepts. It allows us to successfully build on prior knowledge and practical ability developed in the previous stage, revisiting topics in increasing depth and encouraging learners to make connections within their growing understanding. The curriculum is fully-linked to our progression model from Early Years through to KS4. This includes skills and knowledge.
Scientific skills of observation, classification, planning, measurement, recording, analysis and evaluation are developed appropriately across the stages. They are complimented by practising prediction and inference skills to reflect the scientific process. Communication is a vital aspect of science lessons in each stage, supporting the other scientific skills and reinforcing the importance of choosing the most effective way to share information in any context.
These skills will be built and developed through practical activities within the classroom and when appropriate, outside of it. Elms School participates in British Science Week and also holds a Health Awareness Day. These are supported by other subjects and across each phase. Funding for the practical primary science classroom has been a focus for the faculty this year, and staff enjoy creating opportunities for student-led investigation in science lessons across biology, chemistry and physics-based topics.
Secondary science lessons provide daily opportunities for learners to use a wide range of equipment and chemicals safely and competently. This supports their understanding of more abstract concepts as they cover areas of the curriculum in greater depth. They appreciate this and work carefully, with curiosity and determination. Students are frequently asked to think about the way science-related topics are discussed in the media. If they leave Elms School sufficiently confident to participate in science-related debates as adults, then the journey has been worthwhile.
Students from Year 8 to Year 11 are taught by a subject-specialist. All students are entered for Entry Level Certificate as a pre-GCSE course with relevant breadth and depth across biology, chemistry and physics. For some students, GCSE Chemistry will be taken in addition in Year 11 if appropriate.
22nd February 2021