Curriculum introduction - Science

Curriculum Intent

The Science department at Walton-le-Dale High School is comprised of Science and Psychology. All students study Science and they also have the possibility to choose to study Psychology as an option subject which adds huge breadth to our curriculum. When pupils leave Walton-le-Dale, we aspire for them to be well rounded, upstanding citizens with knowledge and values that benefit society. Our curriculum is planned to do just this, equipping them with the scientific skills to allow them to leave us and follow any pathway that they choose.  We ensure that our curriculum does not just focus on the scientific knowledge, but we also embed literacy and numeracy through-out to ensure that students have the maximum exposure to these skills and that when our students finish the course they are able to see the crossover of science and other subjects.  We expose students to scientist case studies through-out the course so they can link their understanding to real world scientists. Pupils work independently and in groups which helps foster the school ethos and support the ASPIRE framework that Walton-le-Dale is built on.  We hope to equip our students with the skills to solve a range of issues they may face such as climate change to simply making healthier lifestyle, choices we envision students using science to benefit society every day. The schools ethos ASPIRE encourages all students to aspire to be their best, by aspiring ourselves to teach our subject to the best of our ability to every student, we fulfil our departments visions and purposes.  It is a firm belief of the department that students enjoy learning when they feel successful, so we allow them every opportunity for this to happen through assessment for learning, low stakes retrieval and copious amounts of practise.

We have designed our curriculum to support this ethos. We allow students to build on their scientific knowledge as they progress through each year of learning.  We aim to instil a culture of wonder and enjoyment in our students through the topics that they study.  Our students follow the KS3 National Curriculum during Year 7 & 8, running part way into Year 9.  This allows them to gain the knowledge and skills they need to then move onto GCSE Science.  The KS3 course covers the breadth of the national curriculum, delving deeper into certain topics.  We ensure that practical skills are interwoven within the curriculum, allowing students to have the opportunity to be assessed on their practical abilities.

We have chosen the AQA specification to follow at GCSE.  The vast majority of our students follow the AQA Trilogy Specification, which offers two tiers of entry: Higher and Foundation.  We also offer separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics to those students who show a particular affinity for Science.  The course offers a wide variety of topics which students can relate to real-life as they learn topics that cover concepts to do with the human body, plants, energy, forces, atoms and the periodic table. 

Students also have the option of choosing to study the OCR GCSE Psychology specification.  It is designed to inspire and engage learners by providing a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study which develops an understanding of the ideas and values that characterise ‘self’ and others. Students are equipped with a psychological literacy that enables them to apply their knowledge and skills in their everyday lives, including making informed decisions about further study and career choices.  The course aims to encourage students to use specialist vocabulary, psychological concepts and conventions to engage in the process of psychological enquiry. By acquiring knowledge and understanding of psychology, students should develop an understanding of psychological issues, the contribution of psychology to individual, social and cultural diversity and how psychology contributes to society. OCR have enriched the qualification by working with ‘Time to Change’, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.  This course culminates in an un-tiered exam, allowing all students the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.


Programmes of Study

KS3: Pupils study variety of topics across biology, chemistry and physics incorporating working scientifically skills throughout. The topics studied are:




Cells & tissues

Cells, Tissues and Organs

Reproduction and Variation

Ecological Relationships and Classification

Digestion and Nutrition

Systems and Processes

Plants and Photosynthesis





The Particulate Nature of Matter

Atoms, Elements and Compounds

Pure and Impure Substances

Chemical Reactions

Chemical Reactions (2nd time)


Earth and the Atmosphere

Reactions of Acid

The Periodic Table


Energy and Magnets


Motion and Matter

Energy (2nd time)



Waves (2nd time)

Energy (3rd time)




KS4: Pupils study biology, chemistry and physics at GCSE. The topics studied are:




Cell Biology


Infection & response


Homeostasis & response

Inheritance & evolution



Atomic structure & periodic table

Bonding & structure

Quantitative chemistry

Chemical change

Energy change

Rate & extent of reaction

Organic chemistry

Chemical analysis

Chemistry of the atmosphere

Using resources



Particle model of matter

Atomic structure



Magnetism & electromagnetism

Space physics (triple only)


Marking and Assessment

KS3: Pupils are tested on biology, chemistry and physics once every term. Progress is based on pupil’s assessment scores against their cohorts and levelling ladders.

KS4: Pupils are tested at the end of each GCSE topic (24 topics in total). Year 11 mock exams take place in Year 10 in May and again in Year 11 when appropriate content has been covered. Final exams take place in May/June.

General feedback is given regularly. Verbal feedback in lessons is often used, alongside self-assessment and teacher assessed tasks within pupils' books.



Two-tier exams (foundation and higher) for all combined science pupils. This includes two papers for each of the three sciences which are 75 minutes long.


Two-tier exams (foundation and higher) for triple science pupils. This includes two papers for each of the three sciences which are 105 minutes long.


Revision Guides/Supporting Resources

KS3: KS3 revision guides are available upon request. Students are also set revision-based homework tasks on educake.

KS4: CGP revisions guides can be bought through ParentPay. Set 1 have separate sciences, Set 2 have higher combined science and the remaining sets have foundation combined science.

We also make use of educake and SENECA for homework and revision tasks.


Staff Details

Miss Balmforth - Head of Department

Mr Golden – 2nd in Department

Mr Martin – Teacher of Science

Mrs McClelland – Teacher of Science and Progress Coordinator (Year 8)

Miss Parker – Teacher of Science

Miss Lappin – Teacher of Science

Miss Halsall – Teacher of Science & Psychology


Careers and Progression

The knowledge base provided would assist students wishing to follow any career path, scientific or not. The skills developed in science are transferable across life.

Examples of careers linked to science include medical professions, disease research, space exploration, computer design, prosthetic design, sport science, engineering and technicians.

Level 3 study of Biology, Physics or Chemistry does require study of that subject, and at least 1 other science. Each college has its own grade for entry requirements, but you can expect it to be a grade 5 or 6.

There is also potential for progression on to a wide range of university degrees on this route.


Progress Ladders - Science