”It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it’s is the one with the most adaptable to change”

– Charles Darwin 


Why do we teach this? Why do we teach it in the way we do?

At the Horizon School we believe that all students are part of the local, national and global communities. We aim to provide students with the powerful knowledge of Biology to promote social mobility, deepening students’ knowledge and understanding of everyday scientific concepts and vocabulary.  We want to develop students’ curiosity and excitement for science through scientific enquiry, the development of practical investigation skills and to make students aware of common ethical issues in Science. By linking lessons to the world of work, this will hopefully develop students’ understanding of the importance of science in the world around us and inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers

In order for students to play an active part in each of these areas it is important that our students learn through the enquiry processes. By working scientifically, it allows students to work in similar ways to scientists. There are two dimensions for each working scientifically process, know and apply. It is imperative students can apply their knowledge to unfamiliar content and situations as this is how they will be assessed in their terminal GCSE exams.


Furthermore, Biology empowers students with knowledge of understanding of the world around them and science in the news. Students are able to analyse the quality of data presented to them in the media and draw their own conclusions. Biology educates students, helps them to generate solutions for everyday life, monitor their health and understand the science behind major global challenges.

The study of Biology at the Horizon School will empower students to become active members of society, giving them the tools and the skills to navigate not only the world of work but also their worlds outside work.

We strive to ensure that our students learn by analysing, communicating, enquiring and problem solving so that they become better citizens of the world they live in. Individual students will be taught at their level of ability and targeted in specific ways that allow them to access the qualification at the level suitable to their needs


What do we teach? What does this look like? Why is it sequenced in this way?

For many students at The Horizon School, limitations in their literacy & numeracy skills has an overwhelming impact on their ability to access a mainstream curriculum.  We, therefore, place great emphasis on these in all subject areas with targeted intervention being applied to some students.  Within the Science curriculum a great emphasis shall be placed on mathematical skills needed to access the science course. GCSE science has 15-20% mathematical requirement, where in the higher papers questions assessing maths requirements are not lower than that of questions and tasks in assessments for the Foundation Tier in a GCSE qualification in mathematics.  There will also be cross-curricular links taking place with the English department to improve literacy outcomes, writing techniques and to support extended writing in science.


Regular assessment throughout the year informs staff and students of progress and attainment. Students are increasingly aware of strengths and weaknesses, and are able to address these in class and at home using their personalised guides.


Year 11’s at The Horizon School follow a condensed curriculum and are placed on a Pathway either Support (Grade 1-3), Core (Grade 4-5) or Higher (Grade 6+).  This curriculum is personalised based on assessments and gaps in learning. 



What will this look like? By the time students leave our school they will:

At the end of Key Stage 4 we aim for all students to have achieve a minimum expected grade and encourage students to exceed this through mastering the content at their allocated tier. 


Our KS3 Science Curriculum aims to ensure students:

  • Cover the biology, chemistry & physics content of the NC
  • Lessons have a focus of both content and process
  • Pupils apply their knowledge to unfamiliar contexts
  • Work scientifically to master each topic
  • Discuss limitations and evaluate improvements to investigations


Our KS4 Biology Curriculum aims to ensure that students:

  • Use scientific theories and explanations to develop hypotheses
  • Present observations and other data using appropriate methods
  • Use scientific vocabulary, terminology and definitions
  • Reason like scientists, recall and use their knowledge in questions that link different areas of the curriculum to develop coherent arguments and explanations


In order for this to happen, the Science leader (Mrs Neary) and the SLT take responsibility for the monitoring of the Science curriculum and the standards achieved by the students.


Data is collected half termly and reported to the SLT. All teachers contribute to a termly Pupil Progress meeting where the data is analysed and targets are made by highlighting ‘stuck’ pupils and focusing on next steps.

The Science lead will monitor for appropriate pitch and progression at least once every half term.

This monitoring takes the form of:

  1. Lesson observations and feedback
  2. Learning walks and student voice conversations
  3. Planning scrutiny followed by support where necessary
  4. Books scans on a frequent basis
  5. Termly data analysis

Career Opportunities

Science is often overlooked by students as a qualification which is only needed if they want to become a ‘’scientist’’. Students need to be given the opportunity to see how science is used in everyday life and in the world of work, from the technology they use to the risks and benefits of eating certain foods. The importance of a science qualification must to promoted to show how it is required for further education, training programmes and apprenticeships.

The skills needed to succeed in GCSE Science are transferable to almost all professions. In Science students must be able to:

  • Think critically and problem solve
  • Gather and Interpret complex information
  • Develop opinions and back them up with evidence
  • Show empathy
  • Think creatively
  • Work collaboratively and develop excellent communication skills.

These skills are essential in almost all professions and the Science department will look to match these skills on a lesson by lesson basis to the career’s individuals are interested in. Additionally, being scientifically aware is an essential skill as a citizen of the UK and the global community. This gives students cultural literacy and makes them far more employable.


Defining spiritual, moral, social, cultural development within Science


Within the Science curriculum pupils are given the chance to explore the world in which we live and the effects on the environment, looking at where life comes from and wonders of the natural world. Pupils explore creation of new life through reproduction; exploring reproduction allows pupils to discuss different cultural and moral values of reproduction, allowing for discussion of different religions and faiths.

Exploring our place within the solar system allows us to discuss life on other planets. Pupils are given the opportunities to express their views by extensive questioning and answering.

Within lessons pupils work in small groups, testing and drawing conclusions from fact, giving them an understanding of the differences between fact and opinion. By exploring fertility treatments, cloning, transplants, selective breeding and the conflicts with abortion, pupils can gain an understanding of the moral and ethical issues regarding different faiths and cultural differences giving them the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and religious views looking at things from a different perspective. This gives pupils an understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others.

Positive Feedback

The staff at The Horizon School, Hartlepool take time to listen and build relationships with all the students.

Annais (Student)

I have a better relationship with the teachers at The Horizon School, Hartlepool. They listen to me and help me with my work

Sean (Student)

Teachers have high aspirations for pupils and their next steps in life...Pupils are well prepared to leave school after Year 11.

OFSTED Inspectors