Curriculum is the key issue of the day, and this course will apply cutting edge thinking to the construction of a rich and meaningful science curriculum. By studying developments in educational policy and evidence from the cognitive sciences, this course will give attendees the intellectual tools to think more deeply about their curriculum and make purposeful changes. The course will weave together theoretical discussions of curriculum with practicalities like how a curriculum is best implemented in the classroom.


  • Understand key terms to use when discussing curriculum
  • Develop awareness of recent thinking on curriculum
  • Improve ability to map and structure an effective science curriculum
  • Take away practical and easily implemented tools for improving a science curriculum
COURSE DATES London Monday 18 November 2019
  • Heads of Science
  • Directors of Science
  • Science lead practitioners
  • Heads of key stage
  • Teachers of Science
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 11.30am
What is the purpose of a science curriculum?

  • What do we mean by curriculum?
  • Intent, implementation and impact: different prisms of analysis
  • What is the point of a science curriculum: powerful knowledge, cultural capital and science capital
  • Knowledge and skills: which comes first?
  • Knowing and understanding: what does it mean to get better at science?
  • Content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge: how is what we know different to what we want our students to know?

11.30 – 11.45am
Discussion: coffee break

11.45 – 12.30pm
What are the different types of knowledge in secondary science?

  • Understanding and incorporating methods to think about knowledge in a sophisticated way
  • Mapping knowledge according to its properties:
    • Procedural/declarative
    • Abstraction/concrete
    • Objectivity/subjectivity
    • Realism/nominalism
    • Debatable/established
    • Semantic density
    • Substantive/disciplinary
  • How is knowledge structured in our students’ minds?
  • Which knowledge is vertical and which knowledge is horizontal?
  • Understanding and evaluating the “Big Ideas” of science

12.30 – 1.00pm
Specifying knowledge: thinking about building a curriculum

  • The power of the Core Question in planning for learning
  • Core and Hinterland: what do I actually want my students to remember?
  • The role of canonical examples in supporting deep thought
  • Becoming a content-led teacher: how to let the science speak first

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.10pm
Planning for knowledge

  • Building knowledge into your long term planning: retrieval, interleaving and spiralling
  • Sequencing: the most important curricular concept?
  • Building knowledge into your medium term: which units should go first?
  • Implementing your curriculum in the classroom and upskilling your staff

3.10 – 3.30pm
Impact: assessing your curriculum

  • The principle of “backwards design” and the role of assessment
  • Assessing curricula and assessing pupils: what can one tell you that the other can’t?

3.30 – 3.50pm
Inspiring the scientists of the future

  • How can I build my curriculum to produce brilliant, creative scientists who are passionate about improving the world?
  • Round-up and conclusion

Adam Boxer

Adam is an experienced chemistry teacher working at a school in North London. He is an established speaker and as well as providing CPD in schools has presented at a number of national conferences including Wellington Festival of Education, Teach First Summer Institute, ASE National Conference and EdFest Rosey, Switzerland. Adam’s resources are used by thousands of teachers across the UK and his blog receives tens of thousands of hits each month. He has published articles about education in peer-reviewed journals and is one of the leading voices promoting innovative and evidence-based practices in science education. He has recently hosted an online symposium on the topic of curriculum in science which featured contributions from some of the leading voices on curriculum including Tim Oates, Christine Counsell and HMI Alan Passingham.

View all courses led by Adam Boxer >

science curriculum