All pupils at Beer C of E Primary School are entitled to be taught the key knowledge and skills in the scientific disciplines to develop understanding of the world around them at an age-appropriate level and in line with the National Curriculum.
We aim to harness children’s natural excitement and curiosity and inspire them to pursue scientific enquiry. Throughout the primary years, children should learn to explain and analyse phenomena, make predictions and solve problems. Teachers should aim to nurture a love for the natural world, excitement for future possibilities in science and provide many opportunities for pupils to respond creatively in their learning.
The National Curriculum statutory requirements must be taught and assessed in each class as a basic minimum. Teachers should be familiar with previous and subsequent year groups’ content in order to link learning and build on previous knowledge. They should also be aware of where a unit of work fits in with the bigger picture of the science curriculum across the primary school – this is essential in ensuring key knowledge is taught and assessed to maintain progression through the curriculum.
Assessment for learning is used continually to adapt teaching to meet the needs of the pupils.
Teachers are also encouraged to follow children’s interests and lines of inquiry without encroaching on the content taught in other year groups.
Science must be by the class teacher. Science content being covered through a cross-curricular link must include a learning objective taken from the year group’s science curriculum and recorded in the science exercise book.
Any changes must be discussed beforehand with the subject leader.
Teachers planning science must consult the school’s progression document alongside the National Curriculum to identify key learning objectives. A schema then needs to be produced to support the key concepts being taught. The schemas are to be referenced at the start of each lesson to promote independent learning and knowledge retention.
There is a Trust wide scheme of work to support the teaching of Science. Teachers may also develop their own resources or source from elsewhere. The subject leader can be consulted at any time to assist with planning, resourcing or support with subject knowledge.
Each topic covered must include working scientifically lessons, teachers can refer to year group. Teachers can refer to our knowledge progression document to ensure specific year group coverage and a progression throughout the school. The Trust scheme of work supports staff to identify key enquiry skills.
Scientific enquiry should be question-led and (over the academic year) must include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. In order to secure conceptual understanding, key knowledge and skills must be taught prior to engaging in enquiry. The subject leader can be consulted for help in identifying and planning suitable opportunities for enquiry in each topic.
Time should be taken to identify and teach the specialist vocabulary associated with each topic (bank of key words for each topic to be taken from the Trust planning materials). The relevant vocabulary should also be included on the schema for each unit.
Vocabulary should be displayed on a working wall in all classrooms; and, in KS2 and form part of the schema and knowledge organiser in exercise books at the start of each unit of work. Teachers should further embed vocabulary using definitions, images and actions to teach, practise and aid recall from memory. This vocabulary should form part of a retrieval quiz at the start of each lesson to aid and promote retention.
Particular attention should be paid to identifying possible misconceptions or confusion with language when a familiar word has a specific meaning in science, e.g. ‘conductor, key, theory, law, reliability, solution, prediction etc.’ Children should learn to spell scientific vocabulary correctly, at an age-appropriate level.
Children should be given opportunities to pronounce vocabulary correctly (e.g. in chorus, in a pair, when answering questions), to use it in context and to revisit the words and meanings regularly throughout the topic.
Science is explored through the children’s understanding of the world and elements of technology. We provide opportunities for children to question, wonder, explore, discover, experiment and observe through direct experiences. The children are introduced to scientific vocabulary to help them further their understanding and are asked open-ended questions, so that they can make predictions and have opportunities to question. Our Early Years provision ensures that children have access to a range of materials that work in different ways for various purposes. Children can use resources and the environment around them to notice similarities and differences, changes over time and discuss their point of view with their peers.
Teachers should plan regular opportunities for pupils to check how well they are learning what they have been taught (for example through low-stakes quizzing, vocabulary checks, concept cartoons, multiple choice hinge questions). Retrieval exercises will take place at the start of each lesson. This develops metacognitive awareness and self-regulation strategies in pupils and informs the teacher in planning next steps in learning, making adjustments as needed.
The National Curriculum calls for opportunities for pupils to: Communicate ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Each topic taught must lead towards an outcome in which pupils are asked to create an individual response to an open question. This could involve project work over several sessions, writing an explanation, creating a poster, small group discussion with an adult assessor, creating a presentation, etc. The variety in pupils’ responses, the correct use of scientific language, explanation of concepts and application of knowledge will assist teachers in assessing the depth at which each pupil has learned the material they have been taught.
The Plan Primary Science Assessment Resources (https://www.ase.org.uk/plan) can be used to support teacher assessment of pupils’ learning with exemplifications of every topic in each year group. Teachers can also access our test papers for each unit if required.
The subject leader can offer support at any time with identifying opportunities for and devising suitable assessment approaches or open questions.
The impact for pupils is that:
- They will become resilient, independent and curious scientists who ask questions which are increasingly based on scientific understandings and finding things out for themselves
- Science will be a high-profile subject throughout the school
- Parents and the wider community will support science learning through trips and visits on regular basis where appropriate
- Children will have an awareness of the full range of scientific careers and pathways available to them and will be keen to pursue STEM subjects at secondary school
- Children will leave for secondary school equipped with the science knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their further education.