Saturday, 23 February 2013

Writing New Schemes of Work

The new national curriculum gives us the opportunity to review our schemes of work. I have been reviewing what we deliver and the considering the purpose of our curriculum over the past few months, but now I need to act ready for September.

I have asked myself a few questions that I need to consider and allow for in the writing of schemes of work. The appear below in no particular order.

  1. What resources, techniques and lesson styles will support students with low level literacy or slow processing skills?
  2. What resources do we need to incorporate into lessons to help EAL students develop their level of English and understand the science being covered while their specialist vocabulary is low.
  3. At key stage 3 are we using the interests of the students to engage them and help understand the relevance of what is being taught?
  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of our students and how do our schemes of work use that?
  5. How are the skills needed at GCSE being developed at Key Stage 3?
  6. How does the curriculum prepare the students for the science they will need in their everyday lives?
  7. Does what we do at GCSE prepare students for A-level? Does it encourage students to continue with science to A-level?
  8. What methods can we use to differentiate work and what will this look like in a scheme of work?
  9. What contexts will engage students (especially girls)?
  10. How are G&T students identified and then stretched and challenged?
  11. How do the schemes of work support intervention methods?
  12. How are lessons and series of lessons structured to allow marking to support progression?
  13. What does a good science lesson "look" like?
  14. How will scheme of work help to promote independent learning?

In terms of things that I feel I would like to include in the scheme of work:
  1. lesson activities
    1. questions
    2. resources
    3. presentations
    4. worksheets
    5. support resources
    6. practical requisitions and risk assessments
    7. descriptions of activities
  2. learning objectives
    1. differentiated
    2. including skills
    3. knowledge
    4. linked to prior and future learning
  3. learning outside the classroom
    1. field work
    2. homework/prep
    3. competitions
    4. trips
    5. ICT resources to support optional extra curricular work
    6. revision resources
  4. overview of the scheme and the progression of ideas throughout it

Other things to consider:
  1. time scale of rewrite
  2. review of the schemes
  3. how to store, share and organise resources
  4. where should assessment fit into the scheme?
  5. what life skills should we be delivering?
Lastly, is it possible to collaborate with other heads of science in the GSA or Allied Schools?


  1. Helen, what a really comprehensive checklist for reviewing and writing a scheme of work. I can't fault it. I only hope you have time you need to make a good job of it. I have just retired after over thirty years of science teaching and curriculum development and I would only want to say a couple of things. Collaboration within the department and between schools is the key. Duplication of effort is such a waste. On balance I have always prefered to err on the side of making a scheme of work comprehensive. Good teachers can always leave stuff out and adapt it to play to their strengths. Newer, less confident staff find it much harder to add things to a skeleton scheme.

  2. I agree about providing a comprehensive scheme - even as an experienced member of staff it is much better if there is more resources and suggested activities so I can more easily adapt the schemes to the needs of my classes.

    And again the point about collaboration is well made. I don't think that my department can possibly do all the work as we are few. I will be great to collaborate so that a) we get support with the workload but also b) so we get ideas about teaching and learning from outside of the school.