Curriculum Design for Secondary School Science

Explore a range of approaches to designing your scheme of learning and learn how to build an improved science curriculum.

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Curriculum Design for Secondary School Science
  • Duration3 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more
  • AccreditationAvailableMore info
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Discover the key components of a strong secondary school science curriculum

On this course, you’ll be introduced to curriculum design for teaching science to students aged 11-19 years.

You’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches, as well as how support for teachers can be modelled to support effective learning for students.

You’ll consider how practical work and maths skills for science can be embedded in a curriculum and how progression can be mapped effectively.

Through videos, discussion and tasks, you’ll engage with other teachers, share your experiences of planning science schemes of learning, and plan for future curriculum development.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Designing a science curriculum that works well for students and staff is a challenge. Identifying what works well, and what could be improved is not always easy to do, given the wide range of different approaches taken to designing secondary science programmes. This course from the National STEM Learning Centre is designed to give you a starting point to evaluate your own current science curriculum and begin to identify where changes might be made to increase the effectiveness of your schemes of learning, as well as where things work well. We will look at different curriculum models and the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of approaches, as well as how the day-to-day support for teachers can be modelled to support effective learning for students.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds The important aspects of effective practical work and embedding appropriate mathematical skills for science within a curriculum will be explored and how progression can be mapped effectively. Through a series of videos, discussion and tasks, you will engage with other teachers, sharing their experiences of different ways of planning science schemes of learning, and be supported by the National STEM Learning Centre to enhance your curriculum and plan for future development.


  • Week 1

    Designing your framework

    • What does a good curriculum look like?

      Different schools, areas of a country, settings, socio-economic factors and even teacher attitudes can affect how a curriculum works. What are the key features of an effective science curriculum and what it is actually for?

    • Choosing the level of detail

      We’ve considered the purpose of a scheme of learning. How might the format you choose make a difference to teaching and learning?

    • Supporting non-specialists

      Teachers who are experienced subject specialists often intuitively understand how students learn a topic and where they are likely to have difficulties. How can curriculum design support non-specialists?

    • Building science capital

      How can a scheme of learning support students who might otherwise have become disengaged with science?

  • Week 2

    Practical work and progression

    • Practical science

      Practical work is often seen as a key part to science, and something that differentiates it from many other subject areas. Does practical work always lead to learning?

    • Types of enquiry

      Enquiry activities are useful to allow students to put their learning into context. Many science activities are based around 'the fair test'. However, there are more types of enquiry.

    • Planning for progression

      Students need multiple opportunities to practice and develop each practical skill. Here, we look at a backwards planning approach to ensure students can cope with complex experiments.

  • Week 3

    Assessment, mathematics and literacy

    • The implications of assessment

      A good curriculum should have lots of opportunities to assess in different ways. But what if students haven’t understood the topic or there are major misunderstandings - do you still move on to the next topic?

    • Mathematical skills

      Building mathematical skills for learners within science is a key concern for many teachers. How can we scaffold progression in these skills, as well as support teacher’s knowledge and understanding?

    • Literacy

      Student’s literacy skills need to be developed throughout the scheme of work, and supported with appropriate scaffolding techniques.

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the key features of an effective science curriculum and scheme of work for students aged 11-19 years.
  • Assess the advantages and disadvantages of different curriculum models for secondary science.
  • Identify progression routes though science subjects to maximise learning.
  • Discuss the implications of assessment practices on curriculum planning.
  • Evaluate the development of mathematical skills and extended writing across the curriculum.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for heads of department, or aspiring heads of department, and teachers with responsibility for curriculum planning in secondary science subjects.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. My background is chemistry and physics secondary teaching, as well as having been a Head of Science.

Professional development leader at the National STEM learning centre.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

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