Curriculum - Science

Mrs Susan King with students

Curriculum Intent

At Bristol Free School we follow a five year curriculum that equips students to interact with and understand the increasingly technological world around them. It will also equip them for further scientific studies at Key Stage 5 and beyond should they choose this.

Key Stage 3

Intent (based on the National Curriculum)

We aim at Key Stage 3 to foster a love of science and scientific enquiry and challenge students to think about the world around them in a new light.  In Years 7 and 8 learning is structured around 10 big scientific ideas (see Implementation section for further detail) and students should become aware of how these ideas underpin scientific knowledge and understanding.  They should also begin to see the connections between these ideas and understand how they relate to scientific enquiry.

In Year 9 we focus on the foundational ideas from biology, chemistry and physics, building on core knowledge and skills taught in Years 7 and 8.  Content will include a higher level of challenge and seek to establish a thorough and deep understanding of key content and ideas, laying a solid groundwork for further scientific studies.


Years 7 & 8 – the 10 big ideas:

  • Matter
  • Organisms
  • Chemical reactions
  • Earth structure and the universe
  • Genes
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Forces
  • Ecosystems
  • Electromagnets

Year 9 – foundational ideas:

  • Cells and organisation of the body
  • Atomic structure, bonding, and the properties of matter
  • Energy
  • The particle model of matter

Links to KS2:

  • Working scientifically
  • Living things and habitats
  • Animals including humans
  • Properties and changes of materials
  • Earth and space
  • Forces
  • Evolution and inheritance
  • Light
  • Electricity

Relationship to the wider KS3 curriculum:

  • Mathematics: Interpretation and the use of data, rearranging formulae
  • Geography: The relationship between biotic and abiotic factors
  • History: The development of medicine and scientific discovery
  • DT: The application of science
  • English language: Spelling, grammar, punctuation, written analysis, written investigation

Key Stage 4

Intent (based on the National Curriculum)

Teaching in the sciences in Key Stage 4 continues with the process of building upon and deepening scientific knowledge and the understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

For some students, studying the sciences in Key Stage 4 provides the platform for more advanced studies, establishing the basis for a wide range of careers. For others, it will be their last formal study of a subject that provides the foundations for understanding the natural world and will enhance their lives in an increasingly technological society.

Students will follow the appropriate pathway (trilogy combined or separate science) to support their learning needs. The curriculum also seeks to develop the practical skills necessary for a career in a science-related role by incorporating the required practical element of the GCSE curriculum.

Extra-Curricular Ventures/Cultural Capital:

  • Examples of extra/cross curricular ventures and trips include:
  • Science Club
  • Years 7-11 Ecology Club
  • Presentations from Royal Institute of Science
  • Year 12 Liquid Nitrogen and Superconductors – Science roadshow with Badminton School
  • Year 12 Biology Field Trip