Curriculum Statement – Science
At Normanby Primary School, we encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at school. Science teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing a child’s understanding of the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all children should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, children will be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They will be encouraged to understand how key foundational knowledge and concepts can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. This foundational understanding will be consolidated through their appreciation of the specific applications of science in society.
Planning for progress
Science is one of the core subjects in the National Curriculum, and we use the National Curriculum as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements of the Programmes of Study for science. We carry out the curriculum planning in science in three phases (long term, medium term and short term). Each year group has a long term plan developed from their year group Programme of Study. Our medium term science plans, which are taken from the objectives set out on the long term plans, give details of the main teaching objectives for each term and define what we teach. We develop our Medium Term Plans using a range of sources, including commercial on-line resources available from the Ogden Trust and the National Stem Centre. They ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each term. As a school, we teach weekly science lessons to all pupils building upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics. Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly through a variety of means to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that it can be re-addressed throughout the year. Throughout their time at school, children are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class. A key aspect in children making progress, is building upon the science vocabulary previously taught. Children will be able to confidently use specific vocabulary linked to their year group’s programme of study.
High expectations for all
Our fundamental aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in science. We do this through lessons that include a range of teaching and learning styles with the aim of high pupil involvement and engagement. During these lessons, children are encouraged to ask as well as answer scientific questions, using scientific vocabulary that is age appropriate. Teachers are aware of, and work towards, the aims of the School Improvement Plan. This enables the school to focus on areas for improvement. Children are provided with opportunities to use a wide range of scientific resources to support their work.
Teachers enable children to participate in encourage children to use technology in science lessons where it will enhance their learning, as in exploring ideas and concepts. Wherever possible, we encourage the children to use and apply their knowledge and all children are provided with opportunities to participate in cross-curricular activities.
In all classes, there are children of differing scientific ability and attainment. We recognise this fact and provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies – in some lessons through differentiated group work, and in other lessons by organising the children to work in pairs or small groups on investigations. We use teaching assistants to support children and to ensure that work is matched to the needs of the child. This sometimes includes children working in small focus groups.
Promoting Science and Parental Involvement
Parents and carers are informed of the science curriculum through detailed information on year group newsletters sent out every term. Year group welcome meetings at the start of the academic year highlight key objectives and provide parents and carers with an overview of the science curriculum. Weekly ‘drop-in sessions’ can be used to discuss their child’s needs and be given advice on how to support their child’s learning.
As a school, we participate in British Science Week and offer the children the opportunity to learn different elements of science that is not usually taught within their year group. This is delivered through fun, stimulating and practical activities and investigations and will be showcased within each class floor book. We also have dedicated ‘Science Ambassadors’ who meet on a weekly basis and extend their learning through activities provided through the Ogden Trust.
Science is promoted through our school’s social media by celebrating the children’s learning within school and parents are also informed through Marvellous Me.
At times, science will be taught cross-curricular linking in with other areas of the curriculum. Science contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our school by actively promoting the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Children are encouraged to explain, discuss, record and read their scientific questions to encourage them to develop their understanding. Children are provided with plenty of opportunities to develop their mathematical skills in science. During scientific enquiry sessions, teachers ensure that links made to the mathematics Programme of Study are age appropriate and provide the right level of challenge for each individual child. Measurement and statistics objectives are covered when children are collecting their data and calculating the results of an enquiry. Children use and apply science in a variety of ways when using technology. Younger children use technology to communicate results with appropriate scientific symbols. Older children use it to produce graphs and tables when explaining their results or when photographing results and evidence. Science contributes to the teaching of PSHE and Citizenship. The work that children do outside their normal lessons encourages independent study and helps them to become increasingly responsible for their own learning. The planned activities that children do within the classroom encourage them to work together and respect each other’s views. We present all children with contextual real-life problems, which allows them to apply their scientific understanding. The teaching of science supports the social development of our children through encouraging them to work together productively on scientific tasks and to acknowledge the benefits of doing so.
Standards and Attainment
The science leader and the Head of School oversee the standards of children’s work, attainment and the quality of teaching in Science. Teachers use a range of strategies to accurately assess, monitor and track pupils’ progress and attainment in science against the year group Programmes of Study. This is aimed at promoting continuity and progression on moving up through school.
Children are assessed against a statutory requirement objective and a working scientifically statement every term. Key objectives linked to the year group programme of study are assessed after units of work to reinforce short-term assessments, observations and assessment for learning activities to monitor the retention of scientific learning and this is recorded on the school’s science tracking system.
The children’s science books are marked using our school’s marking and feedback policy which include challenges and ‘think pink’ questions to promote the children’s understanding. Parents and carers are informed of their child’s attainment against the year group Programmes of Study, at the end of each academic year, on their child’s report.
Ensuring high quality teaching and learning
Monitoring of the standards of children’s work and of the quality of teaching in science is the responsibility of the science subject leader and Head of School. Data regarding progress of different groups within school is monitored after Whole School Standards Meetings and regular discussions and conversations with children in school provide the science leader with an insight into the science work taking place.
The work of the science subject leader involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of science, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The science subject leader evaluates strengths and weaknesses in the subject and indicates areas for further improvement, to be included in the School Improvement Plan.
As a school, we work closely with Nicky Waller (Primary Science Advisory Teacher) and the Ogden Trust and offer our staff CPD opportunities on a range of scientific areas. All staff within school are offered science CPD opportunities to promote and deliver exciting and stimulating lessons for our children.
Science is visible across school with lots of displays celebrating the children’s science learning. There is an emphasis on promoting scientific vocabulary so that it is embedded within the children’s discussions and work within their science books.
There is a dedicated science display board which all children in school view on a daily basis. This 3d science display incorporates fun science facts for the children as well as promoting scientists and how they have helped to inspire the world.
More detailed information regarding Science at Normanby Primary School can be found in the on the school website.