Developing extended writing skills for GCSE science

Resources to help teachers improve performance in pupils’ extended writing for GCSE science assessments over the long term.


This approach is based on the idea that pupils eventually write best if they are first helped to work together to think and talk in a structured way.

The resources are organised in steps tables which can help teachers guide pupils to move from writing simply to producing more complex extended writing.

The steps tables include descriptions of what pupils can be expected to achieve when they improve their skills in:

The steps table includes:

  • suggested strategies for moving pupils from one step to another;
  • exemplification of what pupils can do at each step.

These tables are designed to support planning for learning, not planning for assessment, and can be used to support progression in learning and to encourage increased progression to post-16 science courses.

The steps are not levelled or graded, as securing progress to a particular step in an individual aspect would not lead to the attainment of a particular overall grade. You could use the tables to:

  • judge a pupil’s starting point within each aspect to gain a holistic view of the learning needs of that pupil in GCSE science
  • support progress as far as possible in the identified aspects by suggesting opportunities to take the next step in learning.

Some pupils will progress further than others in some aspects and will be more able to achieve higher overall outcomes in their science GCSE courses.