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Pipetting Samples

"Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity,

                                                          and is the torch which illuminates the world."                                                                                                                                                            

Louis Pasteur  



Subject Intent:


Science is changing our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, all students are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Teaching in the sciences involves the process of building upon and deepening scientific knowledge and the understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics, through a spiral curriculum.  Students are taught that science is about working objectively, modifying explanations to take account of new evidence and ideas and subjecting results to peer review. Students develop their use of scientific vocabulary, including the use of scientific nomenclature, units and mathematical representations.


We built the curriculum with the intent that students will:


  • experience a sequential knowledge rich curriculum so that the scope and nature of their study is broad, deep, coherent and practical based.

  • be literate and numerate through the development of scientific vocabulary and learning to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry, problem-solving skills and mathematical skills.

  • have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement when engaging with experiences within the subject.

  • enhance their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development by studying and experiencing examples that serve a variety of purposes, from showing how scientific ideas have developed historically to reflecting modern developments in science and informing students of the role of science in understanding the causes of and solutions to some of the challenges facing society.

  • be prepared for life beyond the school where individuals have an appreciation and understanding for the world around them. This equips our students with the knowledge and skills our society needs to address modern day issues.


Subject Implementation:

  • The five year spiral curriculum has been designed to encompass the key ideas outlined for KS3 and KS4 in the National Curriculum. There are ten key concepts at KS3 which thread knowledge and skills into the 24 biology, chemistry and physics units of the AQA combined science trilogy GCSE studied at KS4. Students study KS3 in year 7, 8 and 9 (autumn/spring term only) and commence their GCSE course during the summer term of year 9.

  • Schemes of learning are developed collaboratively within the department with resources shared and developed further on the science shared area. The schemes of learning follow a consistent format which includes: lesson content, knowledge, skills, success criteria, upgrades, reading, keywords, careers, Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural and British School Values. For each scheme of learning there are a set of lesson folders for each lesson, containing a PowerPoint and associated resources. These are used as a starting point by teachers to differentiate to meet the needs of their students.

  • A blended learning approach is used to promote and develop students’ independent learning through the medium of Microsoft TEAMs.  Tasks are set in lessons and at home and supported by knowledge organisers  which are linked to schemes of learning. Lesson PowerPoints and resources, including the government devised Oak Academy, are available to support learning. Teachers will engage with students through feedback on progress which will enable them to improve and extend their learning.

  • An integral part of the science curriculum is the working scientifically element. The curriculum has been designed to include as many opportunities as possible for experiments and investigations.

  • Student progress is tracked through the use of rigorous, reliable assessments. These include frequent low stake questioning activities: during connects, to enable retrieval of prior knowledge and skills, and the use of Educake, an online assessment resource. On-going assessment also occurs through teacher monitoring of classwork and discussions with pupils.  Additionally formal assessment takes place prior to each data entry point. At KS3 there are two tests and an end of year exam. In KS4 there are end of unit combined tests and PPEs. Assessment outcomes are compared to targets to monitor progress. Specific groups such as SEN, DP, MA are closely monitored and intervention, where necessary, is planned in order to reduce gaps.

Subject Enrichment:

  • Field studies around the school environment, including school field and woodland border, are used to study the distribution of living things in their local community. This is completed when studying ecology and sampling techniques.

  • The ‘Animal Care’ BTEC course is taught at KS4. Additionally, KS3 forms are invited to learn about the Smithills Schools’ animals, their care, welfare, and how to handle them safely during session 0. There is also a weekly Animal Care Club, where students will work alongside the Animal Care Team, in caring for the Smithills Schools’ animals.

  • Previous winners at the North West Manchester Science and Technology Challenge day held at Bolton University. 10-12 gifted and talented year 9 students compete with other schools in a series of practical activities which increases their awareness of the applications of practical science- E-Fit recognition, robot building, vehicle challenge and medical diagnostics.

  • Celebrating Difference Day- two options for students include making soaps/ bath bombs and lip balms or STEM based designing , testing  and racing a balance bike.

  • STEM enrichment club- a weekly lunch time club for KS3 students, with changing themes, which is currently  colours.

  • CREST award- a group of year 9 students attend a weekly after school session where they are designing, building and testing a catapult.

  • Year 7 STEM week – a cross curricular event that runs in a range of different lessons on the theme Elon Musk’s Space X and journey to an Exoplanet.

Subject Impact:

In science, our curriculum will:

  • Ensure the students’ progress by building on previous knowledge and skills whilst creating a path for their learning journey throughout their time at SmithillsSschool and beyond.

  • Prepare students for the next stages in their education.

  • Through the study of the history of science and links to everyday life, develop a cultural capital intrinsically linked to their understanding of what has shaped the world we live in today, allowing them to appreciate how society has been shaped by scientific innovations and discovery. This will allow them to become active citizens in modern day Britain  with an understanding of current economic, societal issues.

  • Ensure students are able to describe scientific processes and key characteristics in common language, but also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They should build up an extended specialist vocabulary.

  • Provide students with opportunities to apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data.

Science Map 2023.jpg

Knowledge Development Across the 5 Years


Year 7

During the transition topic, students begin with safety, lab equipment and a simple scientific investigation.


In Biology, students begin with the topic organisms discovering what plants and animals are made from. They then move onto how the skeletal and muscular system work together to allow you to move. Next, in the topic genes we look at the human reproduction system exploring the changes that take place in puberty and how a new life is created and developed. Finally, moving onto the causes of variation and how this can help organisms to survive.

In Chemistry, students begin with the topic matter exploring how the particle model explains the properties of solids, liquids and gases and what happens when substances change state. This leads onto carrying out simple techniques for separating mixtures. Next in the topic reactions students explore chemical reactions, acids and alkalis and their reactions. In the final topic Earth students find out about the universe and the movement of the Earth and the moon.


In Physics, students begin with the topic forces learning about the different forces and how they change the motion of an object. Next in the topic energy students learn about energy stores, energy transfers and the ways in which we generate electricity. In the final topic electricity students learn about what is happening in a circuit and static electricity.

Year 8

In Biology, students begin with the second organisms topic learning about the breathing system and the damage that can be caused by smoking and taking drugs. Then oving onto the digestive system and the nutrients we need to live and grow. Next in the topic ecosystems students learn how organisms are connected and how they interact within ecosystems. Students investigate the reproductive parts of a plant and the difference between wind and insect pollinated flowers.


In Chemistry, students begin with the second matter topic exploring elements, their physical and chemical properties and the development of the periodic table. Next in the second topic reactions students investigate chemical reactions and the reactions of metals. In the final topic Earth students find out about the structure of Earth and how sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks are formed in the rock cycle.


In Physics, students begin with the second forces topic looking at how to calculate speed and tell the story of a journey with a graph. Then, moving onto learning about pressure in fluids and solids. Next in the topic electromagnets students will model magnetic fields, learn how to make a magnet using electricity and the different ways you can make it stronger. In the next topic energy students will learn about transferring energy with radiation and particles and the different ways to stop energy being transferred. In the final topic waves, students investigate sound waves and hearing. Then, moving onto the properties of light waves, explaining reflection, refraction and how the eye works. 

Year 9

In Biology, students begin with ecosystems finding out about how the body transfers energy from food by the process of respiration and how plants produce food by the process of photosynthesis. In the next topic genes students will learn how you inherit characteristics from your parents, how organisms that exist today have evolved and how we and trying to prevent extinction and preserve biodiversity. In the final topic cell biology students learn cells are the basic unit of all forms of life and explore the different type of cells.


In Chemistry, students begin with the Earth topic finding out about the atmosphere and exploring the causes and effects of global warming. In the next topic reactions students learn what happens to atoms in chemical reactions, how chemical reactions transfer energy and why they are important. In the final topic atomic structure students learn how the periodic table and the model of the atom have developed over time as new evidence emerges. Moving onto exploring the arrangement of elements in the periodic table.


In Physics, students begin with the waves topic learning how the wave model can help to explain wave behaviour. Moving onto the electromagnetic spectrum and some of its uses and dangers. In the next topic electricity students review the year 7 topic and investigate what happens to current, voltage and resistance in a series and parallel circuit.


Year 10


  • The human digestive system and circulatory system are studied including the problems of non-communicable diseases. This leads onto plant organisation and their transport systems .

  • How communicable diseases are spread and how we control the spread of disease.

  • Building on from the organisation topic, how organisms obtain energy by the process of aerobic respiration and how some organism can survive by anaerobic respiration.  Explore how plants harness the Sun’s energy in photosynthesis in order to make food and the factors that affect the photosynthesis reaction.  skills



  • Use theories of structure and bonding  to explain the physical and chemical properties of materials.

  • Use quantitative analysis to determine the formulae of compounds and the equations for reactions and then using quantitative methods to calculate the amounts of substance and concentrations of solutions.

  • Build on ideas about properties of groups for why some metals are more reactive than others. Leading to how metals are extracted (carbon reduction and electrolysis). Explore the reactions of acids and bases.

  • Reactions in which energy changes take place are studies and how these energy changes can be represented.



  • In Physics we continue our study of the atom and particles, and build on our knowledge of energy stores and transfers.

  • This leads us to study electricity; how to generate it; the problems with using it and some of the important components of circuits.

  • The particle model is then used inform ideas around gas pressure, heat transfer and latent heat

  • Atomic structure leads onto radioactive sources, how these radioactive sources very useful but need handling carefully to ensure safety.


Year 11


  • How the processes and organ systems are coordinated and controlled ( Nervous and Endocrine system).

  • Our understanding of DNA, how sex cells are produced for reproduction and how characteristics are inherited. Variation is the basis for natural selection; this is how species evolve. Processes like selective breeding and genetic engineering are explored and evaluated.

  • How materials ( carbon and water) are recycled by the living world. What factors affect type and distribution of organisms in a habitat and  how plant and animals within a community interact. Also how humans are threatening biodiversity.


  • How different factors affect the rates of reaction. Chemical reactions may also be reversible.

  • Crude oil and hydrocarbons ( properties and uses). How cracking of hydrocarbons increasing supply.

  • Analysts have developed a range of qualitative tests to detect specific chemicals.

  • The Earth’s atmosphere has changed and is changing. The causes of these changes are sometimes man-made and sometimes part of many natural cycles.

  • Industries use the Earth’s natural resources to manufacture useful products and how can we sustain resources for future generations. How can we ensure access to drinking water.


  • Forces can be divided into two categories: contact forces and non-contact forces. Forces are responsible for changing the motion of objects.

  • How waves and their behaviour can be described. Modern technologies such as imaging and communication systems show how we can make the most of electromagnetic waves.

  • Electromagnetic effects are used in a wide variety of devices.


Key Skill Development Across the 5 Years

Areas of focus:

  • Working scientifically and practical skills

  • Interpreting, analysing and evaluating scientific information  

  • Reading and writing clearly using key scientific terminology

  • Developing mathematical skills such as: calculations, calculating the mean, median, mode, drawing graphs, converting units, standard forms, etc.

  • Understanding the relevance of science in the world around us and the Universe beyond.

  • How to maintain a healthy lifestyle and understand the social, economic and environmental impact of the decisions we make.

  • STEM opportunities and careers links.

Contact Head of Department:

Mrs Davies -

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