Statement of intent
Science is at the core of understanding the world’s past, present and future and our place within it. To show children the world through the lens of science is to equip our children with skills needed to live and be a part of an ever-changing planet. At Elmhurst Primary School, we recognise the importance of experiencing the joys of Science and understanding its application in every aspect of daily life. As a school keen to foster children who are curious and inquisitive about their world, we have a focus on the practical elements of science and encourage children to ask questions about the world around them. The curriculum is designed to ensure that children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences such as using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. We encourage pupils to use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including annotated diagrams, graphs, concept maps and using ICT. Throughout, we endeavour to ensure that the Science curriculum our children experience is exciting and innovative as well as building core skills and knowledge.
As one of the core subjects, we give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it deserves within the curriculum and believe in teaching the specific and discreet disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics so that children can fully explore the ideas relating to each area. The National Curriculum is used as a guide for the taught content and a school wide progression document is used to ensure that substantive knowledge and disciplinary skills are taught in tandem, developing progressively from year to year. Children have weekly lessons in Science throughout Key Stage 1 and 2, using planning developed by expert teachers who take on the role of science mini-lead in their year group. These are teachers who have shown excellent subject knowledge and, through learning conversations and regular meetings with the science coordinator, they support their teams to ensure consistent and high-quality science teaching. Our bespoke unit plans develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding within the three specific disciplines. Elmhurst teachers recognise the importance of knowing more and remembering more, using rhymes, song and oral rehearsal to activate prior knowledge, and one of our focuses for this year is to ensure that the most relevant knowledge is revisited in lessons in order to support pupils in their new learning. All pupils, including all SEND pupils are included in science lessons and access the lesson from their own starting points.
Central to our teaching is the development of disciplinary skills which look to nurture an inquisitive mind and encourage our children to develop a sense of intrigue of the world around through the five types of enquiry; observation over time, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying and grouping, comparative and fair testing and research using secondary sources. Lessons are designed to make best use of each type of enquiry skill so as to make the learning meaningful and purposeful. Children learn to develop investigative questions which they plan, execute, collect data for and analyse. This encourages an understanding of how science can be used to explain what is occurring, make predictions on how things will behave, and analyse causes & effects. Through these enquiry tasks children are encouraged to lead the learning and make discoveries, rather than just being informed. In Early years, science is taught through learning about the world around them through play and exploration.
Mini end-of-unit tests, concept maps, low-stakes quizzes, test base questions, investigations and composite tasks are just some of the ways that teachers track pupil progress and address misconceptions effectively. In order to prioritise teaching and learning rather than testing, we are looking to replace our end of unit tests with a baseline assessment and end of year test for KS2. The data from these tests would be used to inform teaching and teacher assessment.
Progression in science also takes other subjects into account and, with the technological advancements the last two years have enabled, we are looking for ways to seamlessly integrate technology into lessons, ensuring that these decisions are being made to enrich science learning. Science is also explored outside the taught curriculum. Children are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as external visits and we welcome regular visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class. Regular events, such as the yearly science fair allow all pupils an opportunity to engage and explore scientific solutions to real world problems. These scholarly events involve families and the wider community.
The impact and quality of our science curriculum is evidenced in the fact that the school has achieved a Gold award in the nationally recognised ‘Primary Science Quality Mark’ and we are due to apply for re-accreditation here. Even more importantly, the success is visible in our pupils who are motivated and engaged in their science lessons and demonstrate a sound understanding of scientific concepts.