At Brookvale Primary School, we have designed a Science curriculum which enables children to confidently explore and discover the world around them. Through a well-planned, knowledge-engaged, enquiry-based curriculum, we aim to create fun and stimulating science lessons that:
- Nurture children’s natural curiosity, enabling them to understand and care for the world in which they live;
- Develop lively enquiring minds and children’s ability to critically question.
- Help construct substantive knowledge in the inter-related disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics;
- Provide opportunities to work practically and safely, investigate concepts and phenomena, make choices, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ scientific thinking;
- Develops their ability to explain natural phenomena using a wide range of scientific vocabulary.
As they move through the curriculum, children will also develop a deep understanding of how scientific knowledge and understanding has both developed and changed through time with the advancement of technology, and will explore ideas that impact them as individuals within a local and globalised context. We have endeavoured to create a curriculum that positively celebrates a diverse range of scientists in STEM and the impact they have had on the scientific community.
Science in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Within our Early Years Foundation Stage, children experience Science using all of their senses on a daily basis. Exploration across the three disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics is provided through a cross-curricular approach. Learning may be specifically planned with a Scientific objective or may be spontaneous as a result of a range of stimuli or well-planned continuous provision which could include;
- The changing world;
- Children’s experience around them such as the weather;
- Materials in our in and outside classroom environments;
- Themes encountered in stories;
- Children’s experiences and interests from outside school which spark discussion or exploration;
- Topical news stories in the media.
Learning about, and through, Science in the Early Years allows children to begin to make sense of the world around them, building on what they already know. Early Science links to all other EYFS areas of learning, such as developing communication and language skills, mathematical skills and building vocabulary. In terms of children’s personal and social development, Science provides opportunities to encourage children’s appreciation of variety within our world and to begin to understand that others may view aspects of our lives differently.
Science in Years 1 through 6
From Years 1 through 6, we ensure high standards of teaching and learning in Science by following the Rising Stars ‘Switched on Science’ scheme of learning as a basis for our curriculum, adapting and enhancing this as appropriate for the needs of our cohort. Adherence to this scheme ensures children cover all statutory requirements required of the National Curriculum programmes of study for Science. This approach also ensures children view science through the lens of ‘working scientifically’ as a significant proportion of lessons develop knowledge through one of the seven types of investigation: descriptive investigation, comparative investigation, experimental investigation, making observations, asking questions, creating hypotheses and conducting experiments.
As a core subject, Science is timetabled to ensure that sufficient time is allocated to deliver all of the required objectives. In Key Stage 1 and 2, Science is timetabled for two hours each week, whether as a block or two, one-hour lessons, allowing the necessary time for children to develop a secure schema of concepts taught. All lessons incorporate opportunities for short, medium and long-term retrieval so that children’s long-term memory of scientific concepts is assessed regularly and this information is used to inform future lessons, specifically in planning retrieval tasks at the beginning of lessons.
Tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary has been carefully planned and sequenced for all units so that children are able to articulate their learning using appropriate scientific vocabulary.
Assessment in Science
Teachers use key questions, introduced at the beginning of each lesson, as an assessment tool to assess whether children are able to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills as outlined in the Science Curriculum. Mid-unit assessments are used during the sequence of teaching to asses how much substantive knowledge children have acquired. Teachers use this information/data to inform their teaching for the remainder of the unit. End of unit assessments are planned by teachers to assess the cumulative knowledge and skills acquired over a unit and use this to inform teacher assessment at termly pupil progress meetings.
From Spring term 2023, Rising Stars standardised assessments will be used to triangulate teacher assessment. Where pupils are identified as not making sufficient progress during termly pupil progress meetings, in-class interventions and specific actions will be implemented to ensure all children acquire the necessary knowledge and skills required of each unit, allowing them to successfully proceed with their learning in the next unit of the science curriculum.