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The United Curriculum for science provides all pupils, regardless of their background, with:

Substantive knowledge:

  • Ensuring pupils master core content through the development of key concepts and timely revisiting of key knowledge
  • Sequencing the curriculum and selecting knowledge to allow for gradual development of vertical concepts – the ‘big ideas’ in science – to provide firm foundations for KS3 and KS4
  • Preventing common misconceptions that are often formed at an early age and prove problematic at the later stages of pupils’ science education
  • Purposefully teaching appropriate knowledge that goes beyond the KS1 and KS2 national curriculum, to aid current and future understanding, and to smooth the transition to KS3
  • Encouraging pupils to apply and make connections between the disciplines of science, the wider curriculum and the wider world

Disciplinary knowledge:

  • Sequencing Working Scientifically elements so that they are explicitly taught and practised alongside the substantive knowledge, and regularly reviewed and built upon across the years and key stages
  • Making deliberate and explicit links to other curriculum areas – particularly geography and mathematics – to ensure there is a consistent approach to teaching content, and that pupils are always first taught content in the most relevant subject. For example, pupils are taught how to construct bar charts or calculate the mean in mathematics before they are applied in science
  • Planning practical tasks that have a clear purpose: to demonstrate or prove substantive concepts, or to allow pupils to deliberately practice working scientifically skills in a relevant context

Curiosity and excitement about science:

  • Selecting examples and applications of science that inspires pupils’ curiosity about the world and natural phenomena
  • Ensuring that all pupils can see themselves reflected in the science curriculum, by highlighting present-day role models and the contributions of scientists from a wide range of backgrounds; and considering social and cultural values around scientific ideas

Teachers plan the following:

  • A knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including vocabulary) all children must master 
  • A sequence of learning
  • A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression and depth 
  • Low stakes quizzes which are used regularly to support learners’ ability to retrieve and recall knowledge and increase space in the working memory 
  • Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning in a philosophical/open manner   
  • Trips and visits from experts who will enhance the learning experience  

Assessing impact is assessing how well pupils have learned the required knowledge from the implemented curriculum. It is not about lots of tests, or meticulously comparing pupils’ outcomes at the start and end of each unit.

If pupils can keep up with a well-sequenced curriculum that has progression built in, they are making progress!

The United Curriculum has this progression built in, and so teachers and subject leads just need to be confident that pupils are keeping up with it.

This can be done through:

Formative assessment in lessons

There are opportunities for formative assessment in the lesson slides provided, and teachers should continually adapt their lesson delivery to address misconceptions and ensure that pupils are keeping up with the content.

Low-stakes summative assessment

A post-learning quiz is provided for every unit. These questions usually take the form of multiple-choice questions, and aim to assess whether pupils have learned the core knowledge for that unit. These should also be used formatively, and teachers should plan to fill gaps and address misconceptions before moving on.

Books and pupil-conferencing

Talking to pupils about their books allows you to assess how much of the curriculum content is secure. These conversations are used most effectively to determine whether pupils have a good understanding of the vertical concepts, and if they can link recently taught content to learning from previous units. (They should not be used to assess whether pupils can recall information, as low-stakes quizzes can gather this information more efficiently).