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St Swithuns CE Primary School

Science

Intent

At St. Swithun’s Primary School, we believe that a high quality science education provides the foundations children need to understand the world around them through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Our intent is to stimulate and excite children’s curiosity about our universe and to prepare all our children for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world today and in the future.  Supported by a culture of equality and aspiration we aim to remove disadvantage so that every child believes in themselves and can thrive. The discoveries, innovations and significant scientists introduced reflect the diversity of our community, enabling all children to have high aspirations and see themselves within the world of science.

Recognising that children learn science best by doing and seeing; we deliver a fun, practical and engaging high-quality curriculum that inspires the next generation to succeed and excel in science. These broad and balanced range of opportunities actively develop understanding of how to work scientifically through different types of scientific enquiries (comparative and fair testing; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; observing over time; research using secondary sources) that help children to answer specific questions about natural phenomena and events around them.  We encourage children to explore and understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of society and the future of the world, encouraging and supporting the development of science capital. Our children will understand how major scientific ideas and specific scientists in the past have contributed towards societal change – impacting on industry, medicine, business and improving quality of life. By implementing an inclusive, progressive, creative and inspiring curriculum with real-life links, we ensure children have a meaningful conceptual understanding of the essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. We encourage children to raise their own questions for exploration and develop transferable skills such as observation, communication and teamwork.

Implementation

At St. Swithun’s Primary School, science is taught consistently, once a week for up to two hours. The curriculum builds on prior learning with progression throughout the school. Consideration is given to the order in which knowledge is taught so that children can relate their learning to previous learning. There are key concepts that children must know by the end of year 6 – these are the milestones of learning. Recall opportunities relating to the milestones are built into the planning regularly so that children ‘know more, remember more and can do more’.

Science Milestones 

Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves science being taught in planned, and arranged, topic blocks which reflect exactly what content, knowledge and skills are critical for pupils to progress through the curriculum in each year. There is a clearly mapped curriculum coverage document for each year group demonstrating how these topics progress across the years including EYFS. Each key strand of science across the three disciplines of biology (plants; animals including humans; living things and their habitats; evolution and inheritance), chemistry (everyday materials; uses of everyday materials; rocks; states of matter; properties and changes of materials) and physics (seasonal changes; Earth and space; light; sound; forces and magnets; electricity) is covered and revisited in line with the National Curriculum so that pupils retain and build upon prior learning.

Science topic blocks include cross curricular links to enable the achievement of greater depth of knowledge and clearly defined high quality outcomes. Planning involves teachers creating practical, engaging lessons with opportunities for precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning and allows for any misconceptions to be addressed.

In Saplings and Key Stage 1 children observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and physical phenomena. Children begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. Children use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas and communicating them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables with the help of ICT, if it is appropriate

At Key Stage 2 children learn about a wider range of living things, materials and physical phenomena. Children make links between ideas and explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar situations in their lives and consider the effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. Children carry out further systematic investigations, working independently and in small groups. They use a range of reference sources in their work and are encouraged to talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT.

Scientific enquiry skills are embedded in each topic the children study and these topics are revisited and developed throughout their time at school. All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and investigations, as well as being encouraged to question the world around them and become independent learners in exploring possible answers for their scientific based questions. Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout their time at St. Swithun’s, and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. Science sessions include ‘Bright Ideas’ time to promote questioning and deeper thinking.

In addition to this, teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.  Through enrichment days, such as ‘science week’, we promote the profile of Science and allow time for children to freely explore scientific topics.

Impact

The impact of the teaching of an engaging, high quality science curriculum at St. Swithun’s Primary School is that it will provide children with the foundations for understanding the world that they can take with them once they complete their primary education.

With particular regard to the location of our school, close to a range of scientific communities, it is important that children are aware of the possibilities for careers in science. We aim to create a culture of high scientific aspirations for their future study, careers and adult life.

By the time children leave St. Swithun’s Primary School they will:

  • not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the science curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives.
  • Be equipped with the scientific skills and knowledge that will enable then to be ready for the secondary curriculum and for life as an adult in the world outside the classroom. 
  • have developed a rich scientific vocabulary which will enable to articulate their understanding of key scientific concepts.
  • have developed the skills of investigation – including: observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
  • made links between science and other subjects.
  • understand that part of science is failing and that problem solving helps us to overcome these failures.
  • have a clear understanding of how scientists both past and present have contributed to society's understanding of the world around them.
  • understand the role that science and other STEM subjects play in solving some of the key problems facing the world, such as climate change.