- Education with Character
- Science Laboratories
- Technician’s Skills Workshops
Within the Science Faculty at Accrington,we believe in the adage “ Children’s learning is not a rehearsal. They never get a second chance. Our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life. Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits (KASH) they need for success in their Science education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual and to allow all children to become active and economically self-sufficient citizens.
We follow the United Learning Key Stage 3 and GCSE Science Curriculum.
Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum. We value subject expertise here in the Sciene Faculty and as such pupils are taught at GCSE within subject specialisms (Biology, Chemistry & Physics) in both AQA Trilogy and AQA Triple Science. This ensures that pupils are making the best possible progress as their teacher can stretch and challenge them, engage them with their expert subject knoweldge, and accurately assess and feedback on the progress being made in that subject area. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to plan together and collaborate. Our timetable on a Monday has been changed to provide “Golden time” to allow our teachers to collaborate and work on subject development as we believe this collaboration is vital.
Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our pupils’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with Faculty Leaders at Accrington and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.
Within the Science Faculty a mastery curriculum ensures our pupils develop a deep understanding of each topic area, which is developed further, at a higher level, at GCSE. A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain this secure understanding. In our lessons we expect to see all pupils grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for pupils who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.
The UL curriculum includes on foundational topics in year 7 (eg Cells, particles, Energy), which are required for further study in science. For example, ‘7CP Particles’ contains many elements that are necessary for accessing concepts found in later topics: diffusion; pressure; compounds, mixtures and elements. The year to year sequencing of topics is intended to reflect this progression of knowledge acquired being necessary to access further knowledge and that progression in science is defined by building knowledge on top of knowledge.
There is a move away from differentiation as a concept, whereby students may be subdivided into ability groupings within a class and given different tasks, towards planning towards the top of the range within a group and scaffolding up.
Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:
- Demonstration: Teacher presents new information in small steps (I)
- Guided practice with models, prompts and scaffolds (We)
- Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from the teacher (You)
At each point, teachers check understanding of all pupils by asking lots of questions and providing feedback. We use a framework of instructional coaching at Accrington to allow our teachers time and space to develop their practice.
The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriuculum by ensuring that pupils regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons with our Academy “live in 5 strategy”. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.
In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.
In KS3, the KPI tasks feature regularly within teach topic, and constitute the assessed work for the topic. Where appropriate, students will be expected to produce extended response writing. Many KPI task encourage an investigative project, where students devise a hypothesis and plan, carry out and analyse the data from an investigation into it. The KPI tasks are marked through either Teacher deep marking, peer assessment or self assessment.
Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum. Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense. We are passionate about ensuring this character education though our “Accrington Aspires” programme of form time/assemblies/Every child matters days and a broad range of extra-curricular activities which ensure we focus on developing the whole child.
With thousands of pupils across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to devleop common assessments in most subjects. These are summative assessments which allow pupils to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.
We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.
The culmination of our curriculum is that pupils leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our pupils as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all pupils to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.
By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone.
Our curriculum structure works through a two-week timetable where every day has 5 x 1 hour lessons plus a registration / tutor time at the start of the day..
To find out more about our curriculum please contact our Vice Principal in charge of Quality of Education Mrs Christine Williams on Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org or see our Curriculum policy.
Our guided choices booklets also give us more detail on the programme of Guided choices from KS3 into KS4.
We have 2 brand new, spacious, state of the art Science laboratories, equipped with Apple TVs and new subject specific apparatus.
5 standard Science laboratories with interactive whiteboards and all traditional scientific apparatus required to explore the wonders of the subject.
A virtual Science laboratory equipped with computers for scientific research and a lecture-style approach to lessons.
Preparatory rooms and a staff workshop to allow quality preparation and design of the learning provided by the departmental staff.
Our technicians run a number of workshops aimed at teaching valuable practical skills to students taking or hoping to take Science A-levels. These workshops focus on the skills required for Science practicals. We feel it’s very important to equip our students with the necessary skills to carry out difficult and complex Science procedures independently, such as:
- Standard solutions
- Serial dilutions
- Health and safety
Our technicians are always more than happy to help out any student after school with an experiment they wish to try out or recap. This can be any pupil at any key stage. Their aim alongside the teaching staff is to raise achievement in Science education through practical skill enhancement and application.
Click on Teacher name to read full bio
Mr J. Peel
Sodium Sodium Sodium Sodium Sodium Sodium Sodium BATMAN! I have always had a love of the Sciences (and Science jokes!). I have engaged with all three disciplines throughout my career as a Research Scientist and a Teacher. My particular interests are Biochemistry and Proteomics (Protein Chemistry) as such my favourite activity in Science lessons are always the practicals. Experiments, investigations, demonstrations and the occasional (frequent) explosions are the best part of Secondary Science and I aim to please with all of my classes!