KS3 Science – what are you doing?

As leader of achievement for all KS3 at my school and a county science network the above question interests me a lot.

For the last couple of months I have been planning on organising a county INSET day for 150 science colleagues across the county and more. I may blog more about this in the future especially what went well and what could be improved.

As local middle schools attended it was decided to run a KS3 workshop while the GCSE exam boards were presenting to KS4 colleagues. I decided to lead the workshop to put use of the training I have had recently  from STEM learning network to become a science CPD lead facilitator.

I knew I would have around 30 to 35 colleagues from across middle and secondary schools that had chosen to attend my workshop session. I decided to run it using a jigsaw type activity with each table group discussing the 5 questions I posed and then each table group labelling themselves A to E. After all the questions were discussed I then got all the As together to discuss what was deliberated in the original table groups. This was written on A3 sheets which I collected in.

Here is a brief overview of the topics and some of points raised and a link to other teaching and learning ideas shared on the day


  • Mix of 1-9 and statements- however these are not used as much
  • Some have present, predicted and potential levels
  • Lots of schools have used conversation charts from levels, A-G grades to 1-9 grades
  • One schools that uses present grades also use + & – to indicate above and below expectation


  • Don’t do a lot of a intervention at KS3 bar the usual seating plans in the science classroom
  • One school runs a drop in clinic – should this be enforced for students who are not on track from their latest reports?
  • Most schools focus their revision on KS4 and/or literacy and numeracy

Attainment & Assessment

  • Multiply choice marking with tracing paper
  • Mastery statements are used by some schools as is levels – Levels Vs Words
  • Levels (1-9) are counterintuitive
  • –          What does a 1/1+ mean in science? Is it ideal to inform of this?
  • Students being told one thing at KS2, this is different at KS3 and then changes at KS4

Marking and Feedback

  •  Don’t mark give feedback
  • Write a note of feedback notes
  • 1-20 codes in front of books and refer to these during marking

SoL feeding into GCSE

  • Make KS3 GCSE based
  • Use different practicals from the required practicals to avoid repetition
  • Use specialist teachers from Y7
  • Use of Kerboodle and Google +
  • Students to have 3 HW booklets that are project based per year. One per week for each subject in school. Each booklet takes 1 week to complete. Students are able to improve on completion and use google forms to self mark

The powerpoint I used during the lesson can be found and downloaded for free here


Once posted to twitter Kristy Turner pointed me in the direction of her blog on the same theme.

You can follow Kristy on twitter here .


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