Key Stage 3

The principal focus of our Science teaching in KS3 is to develop a deeper understanding of a range of scientific ideas in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Students should begin to see the connections between these subject areas and become increasingly aware of the big ideas underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding. These big ideas are:

  • Forces
  • Electromagnetism
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Matter
  • Reactions
  • Earth
  • Organisms
  • Ecosystems
  • Genes

The content of our curriculum has been designed to spiral through these big ideas so that ideas are met and developed through different contexts. Students develop their knowledge and understanding and will then apply this to a range of contexts, both familiar and novel.

Students are encouraged to relate scientific explanations to phenomena in the world around them and start to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations. Students should recognise that science is at heart a practical subject and will develop their skills in How Science Works (Working Scientifically), carrying out a range of practical and investigative work throughout the key stage. Through the content delivered students will be taught:

Scientific attitudes

  • pay attention to objectivity and concern for accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility.
  • understand that scientific methods and theories develop as earlier explanations are modified to take account of new evidence and ideas, together with the importance of publishing results and peer review.
  • evaluate risks.

Experimental skills and investigations

  • ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of the real world, alongside prior knowledge and experience.
  • make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding.
  • select, plan and carry out the most appropriate types of scientific enquiries to test predictions, including identifying independent, dependent and control variables.
  • use appropriate techniques, apparatus, and materials during fieldwork and laboratory work, paying attention to health and safety.
  • make and record observations and measurements using a range of methods for different investigations; and evaluate the reliability of methods and suggest possible improvements.
  • apply sampling techniques.

Analysis and evaluation

  • apply mathematical concepts and calculate results.
  • present observations and data using appropriate methods, including tables and graphs.
  • interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements and data to draw conclusions.
  • present reasoned explanations, including explaining data in relation to predictions and hypotheses.
  • evaluate data, showing awareness of potential sources of random and systematic error.
  • identify further questions arising from their results.


  • understand and use SI units and IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) chemical nomenclature.
  • use and derive simple equations and carry out appropriate calculations.
  • undertake basic data analysis including simple statistical techniques.

Useful Resources

  • BBC KS3 Bitesize
  • CGP Revision Guides
  • The Abbey Grange DRL

Key Stage 4

In science, we aim to:

Develop scientific thinking:

  • the ways in which scientific methods and theories develop over time.
  • using a variety of concepts and models to develop scientific explanations and understanding.
  • appreciating the power and limitations of science and considering ethical issues which may arise.
  • explaining every day and technological applications of science; evaluating associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and making decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • evaluating risks both in practical science and the wider societal context, including perception of risk.
  • recognising the importance of peer review of results and of communication of results to a range of audiences.

Develop experimental skills and strategies

  • using scientific theories and explanations to develop hypotheses.
  • planning experiments to make observations, test hypotheses or explore phenomena.
  • applying a knowledge of a range of techniques, apparatus, and materials to select those appropriate both for fieldwork and for experiments.
  • carrying out experiments appropriately, having due regard to the correct manipulation of apparatus, the accuracy of measurements and health and safety considerations.
  • recognising when to apply a knowledge of sampling techniques to ensure any samples collected are representative.
  • making and recording observations and measurements using a range of apparatus and methods.
  • evaluating methods and suggesting possible improvements and further investigations.

Conduct analysis and evaluation

  • applying the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data.
  • presenting observations and other data using appropriate methods.
  • translating data from one form to another.
  • carrying out and representing mathematical and statistical analysis.
  • representing distributions of results and making estimations of uncertainty.
  • interpreting observations and other data, including identifying patterns and trends, making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  • presenting reasoned explanations, including relating data to hypotheses.
  • being objective, evaluating data in terms of accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility and identifying potential sources of random and systematic error.
  • communicating the scientific rationale for investigations, including the methods used, the findings and reasoned conclusions, using paper-based and electronic reports and presentations.

Use scientific vocabulary, units, symbols and nomenclature

  • developing the use of scientific vocabulary and nomenclature.
  • recognising the importance of scientific quantities and understanding how they are determined.
  • using SI units and IUPAC chemical nomenclature unless inappropriate.
  • using prefixes and powers of ten for orders of magnitude (e.g. tera, giga, mega, kilo, centi, milli, micro and nano).
  • interconverting units.
  • using an appropriate number of significant figures in calculations.

Useful Resources