Science Curriculum

Key Stages 3&4

Science Curriculum Intent - Key Stages 3 and 4

Our Science curriculum aims to provide the foundations for understanding the wonders of our world and the entire universe through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has shaped our modern society and is vital to the global challenges we face, therefore it is vital that our students understand the essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.

Our students explore the 10 big ideas that underpin scientific knowledge and understanding. Examples of these big ideas are the links between structure and function in living organisms, the particle model as the key to understanding the properties and interactions of matter in all its states, and the resources and means of transfer of energy as key principles of all of these interactions. At KS3, students have 3 to 4 hours a week dedicated to these big ideas. At KS4, students have 5-6 hours. In KS4, students gain qualifications in AQA combined science or AQA biology, chemistry and physics. 

As well as securing exceptional knowledge of these big ideas in science, they develop the necessary skills to make them brilliant scientists. They are be equipped with the skills to help them decide on the appropriate type of scientific enquiry to undertake to answer their own questions. They become experts in collecting, analysing and evaluating data in order to make sense of natural phenomena. Over the course of KS3 and KS4 students gain confidence and mastery in applying mathematical skills to scientific situations.

Students are assessed regularly to determine how well they are developing the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in each big idea. Assessments consist of low stakes quizzing, extended writing tasks, scientific/mathematical skills milestones and progress assessments. Each assessment is used formatively to help student reflect on their knowledge and skills and plan their strategies for future success. Students learn to think critically and constructively through the regular use of peer and self-assessment.

All of our students in science have the opportunity to explore the language of science by reading challenging scientific texts and participating in topical debates that range from climate change to genetic engineering. We explicitly teach them new scientific vocabulary and help them to articulate scientific concepts clearly and precisely.

It is vitally important that our students secure understanding of the knowledge and concepts in each big idea in order to progress. The science curriculum is designed in such a way as to strengthen memory, transference and retention of this key body of knowledge. Each of the big ideas are revisited yearly, prior knowledge built upon and core skills practiced repeatedly. Extended learning tasks are regularly set and designed to test students’ prior learning, their grasp of the language of science and competencies with experimental skills. This spiral approach helps our students to develop into confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic scientists.

We believe that in order for our students to excel in science we need to provide a science curriculum that is engaging and relevant to our students and our community. The big ideas are taught in learning episodes that focus of the principles, processes and models that underpin the big idea. In addition, the science curriculum has strong links with PHSCE concepts such as positive relationships, healthy lifestyles and drug awareness. Learning episodes are challenging and we, as science teachers, have the highest expectations. As reflective practitioners, we use educational research to direct our continued professional development in a collaborative way. We use our passion and expert subject knowledge to secure the best outcomes for all of our students.

Science Learning Plans

Please click the links below to view our Science learning plans.

Science Learning Plan

Big Ideas Mapping Key Stage 3

Science Learning Expectations

Please click the links below to view our Science learning expectations.

These documents show the progress we expect students to make by the end of each term.

Key Stage 3

Y7 Science Learning Expectations

Y8 Science Learning Expectations

Y9 Science Learning Expectations

Key Stage 4

Y10 Separate Sciences Learning Expectations

Y11 Separate Sciences Learning Expectations


Y10 Trilogy Science Learning Expectations

Y11 Trilogy Science Learning Expectations








KS5 Intent Statement - Post-16 Sciences

The Science Faculty at Aston Academy believe wholeheartedly in providing  young people with the opportunity to further their academic studies in science. We understand that many of the world’s challenges such as global warming, climate change and a need for further development of medical solutions will require the next generation of scientists to provide innovative solutions. We aim to give students the knowledge and skills to develop and shape their future in the world of science. We offer a variety of courses including: A-Level Biology, A-Level Chemistry and A-Level Physics, as well as BTEC Applied Science, to meet the needs of students wanting to follow a range of a career paths from nursing, medicine and medical research, to chemical, electrical and structural engineering, and so many more.

A-Level Biology

During the study of A-Level Biology at Aston Academy, students learn to understand the biological world around them, as well as the technological advances that help to solve the healthcare problems being tackled today and tomorrow. We provide students with the learning and skills to be the scientists of the future.

The curriculum builds on key biological principles that students will understand from their previous study and nurture this understanding so that students can further link their learning to the world around them. During the study of A-Level Biology students will have the opportunity to develop their understanding in real-life applications on the expertly run and well established biology field trip. Students will also have the chance to hear from experts in their field by attending experiences such as VIVIT, observing live post mortems on semi-synthetic human cadavers.

By the end of the course students will have gained a recognised qualification with one of the leading exam boards, preparing them for further study or training in the biosciences. They will have acquired not only the knowledge, but the skills to apply them in real-life scenarios, and the opportunity to have honed their practical technique through laboratory work. By studying A-level Biology, students will also have developed teamwork skills, resilience, analytical skills, problem solving and data analysis skills. Our students go on to study in a range of medical fields including medicine and medical research, and so many more exciting careers


Applied Science with optional Forensics Science

Studying BTEC Applied Science and Forensics gives students the opportunity to study sciences in a work-related context. The course gives students a broad overview of many key principles of scientific practice and theory. Students are able to refine their investigative skills as well as develop their scientific knowledge across biology, chemistry and physics. We put the emphasis on biology topics, specifically those relating to disease due to the large number of students who go on to work in a medically oriented career.

Students choosing to opt for the further Forensic Science and Criminology have the opportunity to apply their scientific knowledge to simulated crime scenes and gain hands-on experience in approaching, documenting, photographing and gathering evidence. Gathered evidence is then analysed using a range of scientific techniques, allowing students to develop techniques used in the real world of forensics science.

The BTEC Applied Science curriculum is designed to give students as much experience with all aspects of science in the workplace as possible. Students will have a grounding in theory from all three disciplines by completing unit 1. Unit 2 allows students to develop their practical techniques, while Unit 3 allows them to develop their understanding of the scientific method Unit 8 is designed to give students the opportunity to apply their biological understanding to different organs systems, and the development and treatment of relevant associated diseases.

During the study of Forensic Science and Criminology students begin by learning the basics of crime scene investigation and forensic photography before moving on to apply these techniques in simulated crime scenes. Students then learn the theory behind a wide range of analytical techniques, six of which will be used to analyse evidence collected from the simulated crime scenes.

By studying BTEC Applied Science and Forensics courses students learn how to manage their time effectively  and keep to deadlines. Over time students will develop more independence with their study and completion of assignments as they grow in confidence. They will gain an understanding of all three scientific disciplines, as well as investigative techniques and the scientific method. Further to this students will also develop a range of key transferable skills including analytical and evaluative skills, extended writing, time management, resilience, basic mathematical analysis skills, practical skills, team work skills.

Students have the opportunity to attend events by external providers, such as practical workshops at local universities. An integral part of the crime units involved a trip to Sheffield Crown Court where students get to experience real life criminal cases and discuss the legal system with a Judge.

The course aims to develop independence throughout the course which will prepare them for further education and workplace training. We want students to be able to apply their scientific knowledge to novel situations which includes practical skills such as data analysis and planning. We hope students are able to get a taste of what science looks like in the workplace to be able to inform their decision about what step to take next. Through a combination of group work and independent study students should grow in confidence. Previous students have gone on to study Nursing, Paramedic Science and other public health related courses at the Sheffield Hallam University.


A-Level Chemistry

A-level Chemistry aims to develop students' interest and enthusiasm for all things Chemistry, including interest in further study and careers. Students develop the essential knowledge and understanding of physical chemistry across both years of their studies as this underpins the theories and principles in both organic and inorganic chemistry. This includes the study of the atoms, chemical calculations, the periodic table, carbon-based compounds, mechanisms and chemical analysis.

By studying A-level Chemistry we aim for students to develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods. In addition they will grow confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills. These skills link closely with the other sciences to enable our students to become disciplined scientists.

Students have the opportunity to experience laboratory work at the world renown department of chemistry at the University of Sheffield, where they produce pharmaceutical drugs using industry standard equipment. Our students are very well supported to help develop their mathematical skills and bespoke intervention is offered to all students who require it.

Previous students have used the essential knowledge and skills gained from A-level Chemistry to study courses such as medicine, dentistry, and  veterinary medicine. Many other courses value the problem solving skills gained and so students have progressed onto to study Law.


A-Level Physics

During the study of A-Level Physics students study the phenomena of our universe both theoretically and experimentally. The design of the course aims to provide students with essential knowledge and promote understanding of the different areas of physics and how they relate to each other. Students will be trained in the skills and understanding of the scientific method allowing them to relate their understanding to real-life contexts. The course also builds on students competence in mathematical and problem solving skills. Further to this students develop an understanding of how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how science contributes to the success of the economy and society. This gives students the perfect ground in physics needed to pursue a physics related career. 

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the study of the laws, theories and models of physics and then explores their practical applications.This is through units such as space, nuclear radiation and mechanics for example.   In addition to the subject knowledge outlined above, students will gain skills in problem solving and practice the ability to link conceptual ideas together and then apply them to new or unfamiliar scenarios.  Students’ mathematical skills will develop throughout the course for example in year 12 students will develop their trigonometric skills with regards to resolving vectors, and in year 13 students will develop their usage of logarithms and exponential functions.

Students have the opportunity to attend events by external providers, such as the Physics Masterclass events at the University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge. Students are encouraged to take part in super-curricular opportunities where possible. Many previous students have participated in the University of Cambridge’s HE+ programme, or have enrolled on MOOCs through EdX or other online providers.Additionally, previous students have taken part in the Nuffield Research Placement, and have attended Sutton Trust Summer Schools in Physics or related STEM fields.

Physics is a heavily problem solving based subject, which is a key transferable skill for a wide array of careers and fields of study. Students develop extensive mathematical skills, and with such a high proportion of the course being mathematical-based, they become proficient at explaining ideas and solving problems using mathematics. Particularly through the modern physics topics in the second year of the course, students learn about recent developments and cutting edge research, and how it applies to industry, daily life, and the development of humanity’s collective scientific understanding.

Our aim is that students will finish the course as capable problem solvers, with a solid foundation of knowledge that will allow them to better understand and apply themselves to a wide range of STEM concepts and fields. Although we recognise that not all students will go on to study the subject at a higher level, we hope to inspire students to consider related areas of further study, employment or research.

The rigorous emphasis on scientific conventions and technique throughout the course will prepare students well for higher education, and extended independent study assignments will give them an idea of the kind of work that would be expected of them at university. Previous students have gone on to study Physics at the highest level, including prestigious Physics/Natural Sciences courses such as those at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester.


Science Learning Plans

Please click the links below to view our Science learning plans.

A-Level Physics KS5 Learning Plan

A-level Biology KS5 Learning Plan

Y12 A-level Chemistry KS5 Learning Plan - Organic

Y12 A-level-Chemistry KS5-Learning Plan - Inorganic

Y12 A-level Chemistry KS5 Learning Plan - Physical

Y13 A-level Chemistry KS5 Learning Plan - Organic

Y13 A-level Chemistry KS5 Learning Plan - Inorganic

Y13 A-level Chemistry KS5 Learning Plan - Physical

BTEC Applied Science Learning Plan

Science Learning Expectations

Please click the links below to view our Science learning expectations.

These documents show the progress we expect students to make by the end of each term.

Y12/13 Biology Learning Expectations

Y12 Chemistry Learning Expectations

Y13 Chemistry Learning Expectations

Y12 Physics Learning Expectations

Y13 Physics Learning Expectations

Y12 BTEC Applied Science Learning Expectations

Y13 BTEC Applied Science Learning Expectations






















































Mission Statement

At Aston we are committed to providing high quality learning and teaching, enabling everyone to reach their full potential, whatever their age, ability, gender or ethnicity.

We believe that every person is unique and we work together in an inclusive environment of mutual respect and consideration, valuing everyone's contribution.

Through our partnership with the local and wider community we aim to support our young people in successfully taking their place in society.

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