At St James’ Blackburn Church of England Primary School, we are scientists! We want our children to know that they can achieve whatever they want to and come forensic scientists, microbiologists, toxicologists or astronauts! The science curriculum has been carefully designed through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics, to ensure all pupils develop their understanding and skills whilst creating a curiosity about natural phenomena. We want pupils to remember their Science lessons in school and embrace the opportunities they are presented with that may sometimes be out of reach. For example, inspiring pupils through visits to the Science and Industry Museum. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient learners. We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the Science National Curriculum but prepare them for later life by ensuring they can explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.
We want children to learn from the local area they live, to respect diversity and be proud of where they come from. We want them to learn about influential scientists and how they have changed our lives. They should know how science is vital to the worlds prosperity. For example, exploring how animals and plants influence the eco-system in our local area.
The Science curriculum has been created to ensure that high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. The curriculum follows the programmes of study from the National Curriculum for each year group. Science is considered a core subject at St James’ and we encourage staff to deliver a discrete lesson every week, focussing on one topic every term or half term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. As a school, we find this teaching approach works well as it allows adequate time for the subject to be taught and ensures the children’s knowledge is secure and is being retained into their long term memory.
The Science curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression through yearly curriculum overviews. Children will be able to access a curriculum which will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Key vocabulary and key learning is supported by a ‘sticky knowledge organiser,’ which supports multilingual children with their vocabulary acquisition and understanding to support their learning and understanding throughout each topic. This helps children build up an extended specialist vocabulary and will support them to articulate their scientific thinking clearly.
A scheme of work has been created for each topic which highlights and outlines the objectives for each Science lesson. The schemes of work focus on providing all children with engaging activities and resources; to help children to achieve each national curriculum objective. Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question followed by a previous knowledge quiz which is linked to the objective and the previous lessons learning, to ensure that the children understood the objective and are able to apply their learning and understanding in order to enhance their learning. Plans are adapted regularly based on the children’s’ needs and the vast majority of Science lessons are taught discretely, with meaningful links made across subjects where appropriate. For example, Year 4 use their knowledge of water and it states of matter alongside the Geography topic of the Water Cycle. Also, Materials is taught in every phase so that is is revisited. In KS1, the children look at the pracitce uses of ‘Everyday Materials’. In Year 4 they explore ‘States of Matter’ and look at solids, liquids and gases, changes of state, evaporation, condensation and the water cycle. In Year 5 the children examine changes to materials that create new materials that are not usually reversible.
As a school, we believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their own learning. Within each year group, scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding is planned in a sequence to ensure children can progress to the next stage with a secure understanding. ‘Working scientifically’ is not taught as a separate strand but is instead embedded within the content of Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
At St. James’ we measure the impact of our Science curriculum by assessing the topics termly, with both a formative and summative approach. Staff will use this information to inform their short term planning and tailor plans to meet the children’s specific needs and interests. These assessments are collected frequently and analysed as part of the monitoring cycle which informs future planning, so that provisions can be adapted accordingly. Continual assessment of Science allows us to provide the best possible support and challenge for all children and ensures we have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in Science. Additional assessment tools include: Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Pupil Voice, marking of books and Book scrutinises.
By providing a Science curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth scientific knowledge and an insight into some of the scientists who have shaped our world. They should leave St James’ with a fondness for Science, remembering their inspiring lessons and experiences in school. Pupils will be resilient and independent scientists with the ability to think independently and raise questions about working scientifically. Children should be confident in taking the initiative in planning and carrying out scientific investigations, in a variety of different contexts. They should be confident in demonstrating their scientific knowledge and understanding through explanations, problem solving and reporting their findings.