Special education teaching resources
education, Teaching

A Topic Based Year Long Approach to the New Science Curriculum

The introduction of the new KS4 science curriculum has prompted me to look at how we can implement the changes in a meaningful way for our students. Primarily ASD but with a range of needs and challenging behaviour.

There were 2 options:

Approach 1

  • Change the headings and titles of existing SOWs to new KS3,4 curriculum
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics.
  • Tweak and polish
  • Add some content

This approach is:

  • Time effective
  • Resources in place
  • No difficulties in implementation
  • Ticks the boxes


  • Does not address student attainment.
  • Does not address new pedagogical approaches.
  • Does not provide challenging accreditation.
  • Justification for content in KS4 very difficult.

Approach 2

  • Curriculum Redesign – Project based frameworks
  • Explicit cross curricula links.
  • Identify and focus on core skills, needs and local area.
  • Differentiated accreditation schemes (Outstanding special schools offer these)

This is:

  • Time intensive – All SOW, MTPs LTPs need rewriting and linking to other curricula areas.
  • New resources need developing
  • Longer bedding in period

But it does:

  • Enhance relevance of curriculum provision.
  • Encompass new pedagogical approaches, OFSTED friendly.
  • Provide challenging accreditation for HA. Allows for focus on core skills for LA
  • Utilise local resources and area (Community Cohesion)

I really wanted to follow the second approach so to sell it delivered the following presentation

Science Presentation

This is the rough outline of what our year long topic would look like


It means that teachers are free to teach each area for as long as they need, recover specific points and tie learning into other things that happen throughout the year. It also meant that if the student hasn’t met the LO’s by the end of term they can be built in later on. I looked at the John Muir Award as a way of trialling this approach this term and will be contacting them shortly.


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