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Implementing a robust KS4 science curriculum at Clacton Coastal Academy

Implementing a robust KS4 science curriculum at Clacton Coastal Academy

Clacton Coastal Academy is a KS3 Science Mastery partner school and piloted Science Mastery KS4 from 2023-24. We spoke to Connor Stewart, the Science Mastery Lead, and Sam Bevan, a Science Mastery teacher, to find out about how they were getting on with the new Science Mastery resources.

Deeper planning

Before the science team at Clacton Coastal Academy started using the KS4 Science Mastery lessons, they did not have a complete bank of central resources to use and were spending a lot of time writing resources from scratch. As Mastery Lead, Connor Stewart has seen a shift where they now “have a chance to really think about” how they are adapting the lessons for particular classes, leading to what he describes as “deeper planning”. Sam Bevan agreed and pointed out how “convenient it is having the worksheet there, so you don’t spend time having to create one yourself or having to look for one”.

Developing exam skills

When asked about whether Science Mastery KS4 supports students in developing exam skills Connor replied “100%! In Y10 and Y11 resources, they either have exam questions built into them or they have those extra resources”. The ‘extra resources’ Connor is referring to are ‘Mark It’ worksheets and ‘Exam Practice’ worksheets where students are given support in understanding command words, how to structure extended writing answers and how to apply a mark scheme.

Supporting reading skills in every lesson

KS4 Science Mastery lessons contain three different options for ‘Do Now’ activities at the start of each lesson, including a ‘Read Now’ that contains a longer text with comprehension questions. The school has been using these to support their priority of developing reading and for the key skill of extracting information from a text. Connor says, “It’s something we weren’t doing enough of but now we all get to do it every lesson and that’s great!”. According to Connor, the way the ‘Read Now’ tasks are structured, allows students to link their knowledge to the upcoming lesson and is suitable for all learners.

Breaking it down

There are tricky bits to teach in KS4, such as calculations in chemistry, but Science Mastery has allowed teacher Sam Bevan to break down questions using the new ‘I-We-You' cycle within the lesson to improve understanding because “...the way the questions are broken down is clearer so that students get to grasp it easier”. Having the ‘I-We-You' cycle built into the lesson, including model answers, is also a real time saver, Sam explained. They allow for a real granular focus on the best implementation for the students in the classroom to help them reach their full potential.

A positive impact on students and teachers

Although it was acknowledged that it is still early days – the KS4 pilot resources were only rolled out at the school in spring 2023 – Connor Stewart has already noticed that his “students have a more positive attitude and their understanding is more concrete”. This may be in part due to what Connor says is a “more consistent approach” from teachers across the department. The detail and support given in the resources give all teachers access to the subject knowledge and hinterland needed to teach great science lessons.

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