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Challenging the more able learner in science at KS3 and 4
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Challenging the more able learner in science at KS3 and 4

One-day course for secondary science teachers


Date: 4 November 2020

Location: Horticulture House, Manor Court, Chilton, Didcot OX11 0RN

This one-day course is designed to give classroom teachers practical ways to create a learning environment of high challenge and high aspiration. Throughout the day, delegates will explore a range of practical strategies to develop the role of higher-order thinking skills, extended writing and the use of practical activities.

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Attendee Price
Book now


Attendee Price
Book now

Led by NACE Associate Ed Walsh, this course is aimed at secondary science teachers and heads of department who are keen to ensure more able learners are adequately challenged throughout KS3 and 4. Delegates will explore key concepts, skills and practical strategies to inform department-wide provision, as well as recent developments in GCSE courses; approaches to develop higher-order thinking skills; the role of literacy, numeracy and practical work; and effective uses of questioning, assessment and feedback.

This workshop is aimed at:

  • Heads of department
  • Secondary science teachers

9.00am: Registration

Session 1

Role of key ideas

  • How do we identify the ‘cornerstone concepts’ that a secondary science course should develop and what do we expect of able learners in relation to these?

Curriculum outcomes

  • Able learners should be developing the capacity to tackle challenging assessment items. Scrutinising examples of these can reveal quite a lot about the many aspects of higher-order outcomes.

Higher-order thinking skills

  • Able students need to be able to approach concepts and activities in a variety of ways, combining ideas and making connections. This session will look at some examples of ways to develop these skills.


Session 2

Role of practical work

  • How should practical work play a role in the course? Should able learners be doing the same practicals, doing them in a different way or doing different activities? What is the wider role of practical work and how can it be used to support the mastery of concepts and processes?

Role of literacy and numeracy

  • What should the role of literacy and numeracy be? Can we assume that able learners in science will have a better grasp of these and what should the teaching of these skills look like?


  • Different teachers use questioning in different ways – what will support able learners more effectively and how does this relate to assessment practices?

12.45pm: Lunch

Session 3

Assessment and feedback

  • Students should know how to improve and assessment should also provide feedback to teachers about which aspects of provision are effective. How can this be done so that it is useful without being onerous?

Action planning and next steps

  • Identifying how ideas gathered and developed can then be used to make an impact on practice.

3.30pm: Close

  • Understand key concepts, skills, course specifications and how these relate to more able
  • Explore approaches to developing higher-order thinking skills
  • Role of practical work, literacy and numeracy in context of more able
  • Effective uses of questioning to support more able learners in science
  • Assessment and feedback that works for both learners and teachers
  • Identify next steps for your own practice and wider department
  • Workshop leaders

    Ed Walsh
    , NACE Associate

    Experienced science practitioner and consultant, with experience as a head of science and in regional and national advisory roles.

    View profile

    Praesent Erat Ligula, Dignissim
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