The science curriculum aims to nurture a healthy curiosity about our universe and equip pupils with the confidence to ask questions and engage in science-based discussions which affect their own lives, the progress of society and the future of our world. Scientific processes are built upon and developed over time through systematic investigations and engaging first-hand experiences of the biological, chemical and physical processes that make up their world.
The school implements a science curriculum which is progressive and embeds the teaching of ‘working scientifically’ objectives throughout. Pupils develop the scientific attitudes of curiosity, cooperation, creativity, sensitivity to living things and critical reflection through the ‘Understanding the World’ area of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and these form the foundations of their scientific enquiry skills.
The principal focus of teaching in key stage 1 provides pupils with opportunities to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. Pupils are taught the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:
- asking simple questions
- observing closely, using simple equipment
- performing simple tests
- identifying and classifying
- using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
- gathering and recording data to help in answering questions
The principal focus of teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. Pupils are taught the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:
- asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
- setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
- making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
- gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help answering questions
- recording findings using scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
- reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
- using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
- identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
- using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings
The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. Pupils are taught the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:
- planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
- taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
- recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
- using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
- reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
- identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments
We meet National Curriculum expectations for science through a coherent scheme of study that is progressive throughout the school, and ensures there is a focus on both knowledge and skills. Working scientifically objectives are described separately in the school’s curriculum planning and implementation, but are always taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content. Throughout their time in school, pupils are supported to develop a secure understanding of each block of key knowledge and concepts before progressing onto the next stage and this is planned out clearly in the science ‘progression of teaching’ document. Pupil learning is directed towards specifically identified end points in the scheme of study and opportunities to systematically assess, revisit and assimilate learning into pupils’ long term memory are planned for using the school’s ‘knowledge and understanding passports’. Opportunities to observe processes and natural phenomena in the outdoor environment are prioritised throughout every stage in school. Our curriculum is enriched by our commitment to providing pupils with real life, hands-on learning opportunities: all pupils partake in farm school activities, walks around the local area and visits such as Scotswood Community Garden, Williby Rocs and Marsden beach. The school’s STEM curriculum plans out clear links between mathematics, computing, design and technology and science and is enhanced through visits to local engineering employers such as Nissan, enterprise week experiences, trips to the Hancock Museum and the Centre for Life and expert visitors in school such as Techy Tots. Teachers are committed to adapting and extending the science curriculum for all pupils’ abilities and prior starting points. Its implementation throughout school supports Valley View’s core values by fostering curiosity, collaboration, teamwork, resilience to failure and a willingness to be challenged.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before and after the unit is taught.
- Continuous assessment of pupil discussions about their learning.
- Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.
- Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Moderation staff meetings where pupils’ books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.
- Marking of written work in books.
We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about science, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences now and in the future.