Valued – Inspired – Prepared

Westhaven School is a unique learning environment with high expectations for learners who experience barriers to learning for a range of reasons. We promote a calm environment that enables everyone to learn. The golden thread that permeates our curriculum and our conduct through every school day are the core values that shape our learners to be:

  • safely independent
  • confident communicators
  • respectful citizens
  • resilient learners
  • inquisitive thinkers

The Westhaven Way is our ethos and it underpins our daily approach to behaviour and learning.


Safely Independent 
All learners have access to a variety of practical investigative work (in a dedicated science laboratory from Key Stage 3). Learners are encouraged to work as independently as possible, including using a wide range of scientific equipment and methods. Learners are also taught IT skills in order to collect and process data and they learn to follow a set of instructions.
Confident Communicators 
All of the practical work in science is carried out in groups, this emphasizes that science is a collaborative subject and the learners have to communicate respectfully with each other. In addition, much of the learning and assessment involves discussions, therefore the learners are able to develop the confidence to share their ideas with the rest of the class
Respectful Citizen
As part of the science curriculum, learners learn about many ‘real life’ issues such as climate change, recycling, the availability of fresh water, the spread of pathogens and disease. Through teaching an understanding of the issues facing the world in the future, learners are encouraged to think about issues that affect the whole world as well as their local community and to respect their environment to safeguard it for the future.

Inquisitive Thinker
Encouraging inquisitiveness is the main purpose of teaching in science, from the early years curriculum right through until Key Stage 4. The entire nature of science is to encourage inquisitiveness and a curiosity about how things work. 

Resilient Learners
Learners learn that in science, sometimes things do not go exactly as planned and that is ok, and that it is the nature of ‘experimenting’.

The Westhaven science curriculum is in line with the outcomes and expectations of the National Curriculum for science. The curriculum is differentiated and delivered in ways that are most suited to the different levels of the individual groups. For example, the Prepare to Learn Key Stage 3 groups have fewer science lessons each week, therefore the topic areas they study may be less extensive but more experiential than the Ready to Learn groups, who may cover extra areas and at a higher level (for example they may spend more time learning to process data).

The Westhaven Curriculum for science aims to ensure that all learners:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics
  • are able to access learning through the use of augmented communication tools, including signing and the use of Widgit symbols
  • develop an understanding of the nature, processes, and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are exposed to use real-life examples as much as possible as well as making use of our school grounds and local community (e.g. the beach).
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future (e.g. through trips to local amenities such as Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station and Wessex Water processing plants)

The Westhaven Curriculum map

  • the topics within the three strands of science (biology, physics chemistry) are distributed over the 2 or 3 years rolling programme with an emphasis on revisiting and building on previous learning
  • the “working scientifically” strand is covered over the course of the learners Westhaven journey 
  • the Key Stage 3 curriculum is covered over 3 years to give learners the opportunity to cover every aspect of the curriculum before moving on to the qualification courses in Key Stage 4
  • the Key Stage 4 Entry Level course covers 6 units over 2 years, with 1 biology, 1 chemistry and 1 physics topic studied in year 1 and the remaining 3 units covered by the Easter of the second year
  • the GCSE course is in 2 sections, with the aim of covering the first section in the first year and the second section by March of the second year, to allow revision time for the May/June exams

Science is a core subject, therefore all learners (with the exception of W6 learners) access science lessons as part of their curriculum offer.

The lessons are allocated as follows:

  • Key Stage 1: 2 x 30 minute lessons per week
  • Key Stage 2: 2 x 30 minute lessons per week
  • Key Stage 3 Prepare to Learn: 1 x 1 hour lesson per week
  • Key Stage 3 Ready to Learn: 2 x 1 hour lessons per week
  • Key Stage 4: 2 x 1 hour lessons per week

The teaching of science at Westhaven 

In EYFS, KS1 and KS2, science is taught by the class teacher in their classroom. In KS3, all science is taught by the Head of Science (subject specialist) in the designated science laboratory. 


Science is taught using a range of resources, some produced by specialist companies and others specifically made to suit the needs of the group. 

At the end of each topic in Key Stage 3, an end of topic test (devised by the head of Science) is used to check the learners’ levels of understanding. This is used alongside the continuous assessment and feedback of the learners’ work in lessons to assess progress and attainment. 

The language of science

At Westhaven we believe in using the correct scientific vocabulary across the school and throughout all of the key stages and learners are encouraged to learn and use this vocabulary correctly. Learners are supported in using this language with the use of augmented communication throughout the school. Scientific vocabulary is introduced from the very start of a learner’s journey at Westhaven and is explicit on the curriculum map which identifies new and revisited vocabulary.  There is an emphasis on decoding scientific words, i.e. translating Latin root words to enable understanding, for example; photosynthesis = light, making or ‘making with light’. The learners are also encouraged to ‘play’ with the sounds of the words and to link their learning to their phonics knowledge. 

  • we follow the AQA science qualifications at both Entry Level and GCSE
  • the GCSE course (AQA GCSE Combined Science Trilogy)is a double award, therefore the learners receive 2 GCSE’s for the one course
  • the qualification offer every year is based on the cohort 
  • Science is a core subject therefore it is compulsory for all learners to access science up until the end of Key Stage 4 
  • at Key Stage 5, science is offered on an individual basis. In 2021/22, one post-learner accessed the AS Level Biology course