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The RSB's curriculum committee, supported by the primary working group and a student curriculum working group, are developing a framework for a coherent 5-19 biology curriculum.

Why develop a framework?

Over the last five years the UK school education system has undergone a number of changes. there have been several rounds of curriculum reform, bringing in new content and ways of assessing students' understanding of science as well as their development of a range of skills.The respectability for compulsory 5-19 education is devolved to each of the home nations' own governments; the systems are different in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Royal Society of Biology is working with the bioscience community to inform its position on a coherent 5-19 framework to support future curriculum development, and through the curriculum committee aims to ensure the biology curriculum at all education stages and through all qualification routes is as relevant as possible and prepares students for their next steps in life - whether they go on to study biology at university, use biology in a related career, or use their biology knowledge in their personal life as citizens.

Mapping the biology curriculum

The Royal Society of Biology's curriculum committee are working towards developing a coherent 5-19 biology framework, by mapping the statements pertaining to biology subject knowledge from the current National Curriculum in England into five big questions, with identified themes within each.

In February 2018 we published a leaflet presenting for the first time our mapping of a coherent 5-19 biology curriculum, following a consultation this map has been updated and is presented as part of a special edition of School Science Review Framing the secondary science curriculum alongside articles from the Institute of Physics and Royal Society of Chemistry who are undertaking similar work. RSB's article Developing a framework for the biology curriculum reflects on our approach so far, and the rationale behind some of the decisions made mapping a coherent curriculum for biology.

In 2020 we will be publishing a suite of documents detailing our framework for a biology curriculum.


In 2018 we presented our approach so far and map for a coherent 5-19 biology curriculum at the Salters' Institute Centenary event Framing the secondary science curriculum - where next? and spoke to teachers at July's Inspiring Science Teachers Conference held at IOE and at ASE's November Northern Conference. We kicked off 2019 with a series of sessions at the ASE annual conference, jointly presented with IOP and RSC and will be continue to engage with teachers and other stakeholders as we develop the framework, including:

ASE Futures Conference 2019 Curriculum Design


This page will be updated regularly with details of upcoming engagement events and consultations on the contents of our framework

For more information please contact Lauren McLeod, Head of Education Policy.

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