Science Curriculum Intent
Our Science Lead is: Mr Moult
Our Science Link Governor is: Mr Curry
"A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through 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 should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes."
The National Curriculum
At Pittington Primary it is our aim that all children transition to year seven with skills, knowledge and understanding through our encouragement for them to have a sense of awe and wonder about the world around them and our celebration of their inquisitive minds.
Through a wide range of purposeful, planned and structured learning opportunities from the moment children enter our school, they will acquire specific skills and subject knowledge to gain an understanding of scientific processes and an understanding of the purpose and implications of biology, chemistry and physics in every aspect of their daily life, stages of education and future life experiences.
Science in our school will harness the natural curiosity of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, promote respect for living organisms and the natural environment and ensure that our children will acquire scientific knowledge, be able to retain what they know and recall what they’ve learnt in subsequent year groups, so becoming more knowledgeable and independent learners as they move through the key stages.
Pittington Primary will ensure that appropriate resources and support are provided to allow all children to access and engage with learning this core subject. Communication and explanations of scientific vocabulary, knowledge and understanding will be accepted in a range of formats such as pictorial, models or verbal as well as written explanations to ensure that children of all abilities can participate fully with this curriculum. Enrichment opportunities within school will ensure all our children have experiences to make links between their learning and the world in which we live. Opportunity to further enhance their experience of scientific ideas will be promoted through homework and the sharing of information about regional science exhibitions and events. Learning opportunities will enable all children to work collaboratively, apply their reading, writing and speaking skills to raise questions and make observations, methodically plan and safely carrying out investigations. On their transition to Key Stage Three our children will have the resilience and confidence to independently initiate scientific enquiry and investigation.
Pittington Primary School is committed to giving all of our pupils every equal opportunity in all aspects of school life. Our aim is to offer an inclusive curriculum that is relevant and adapted to the needs and abilities of all pupils. We ensure inclusive opportunities for raising self-esteem and celebrating success so that all learners can reach their true full potential.
At Pittington Primary School we are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers irrespective of race, religion, gender, disability, belief, sexual orientation, age or socio-economic background. We provide an environment which enables every pupil to feel safe, encourages good health and wellbeing, and promotes relationships that are trustful and respectful. We believe that every teacher is a teacher of all children including those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) and it is our duty to value each individual child to enable them to enjoy learning through an inclusive curriculum. It is our aim to continue to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which all those connected to the school feel proud of their identity, where all children have the ability to participate fully in school life, and where children are confident learners both for now and for their futures.
We tackle any type of discriminatory behaviour or prejudice through the positive promotion of equality, by challenging bullying and stereotypes and by creating an environment which champions respect for all. We provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed and to reach the highest level of personal achievement. We work in partnership with parents, carers, staff, governors and local services within our community to prepare children from Pittington Primary School for life in a diverse society. We believe that diversity is a strength, which should be reflected and celebrated by all who learn, teach and visit Pittington Primary School.
Fundamental British Values
British Values is defined by the Department for Education as:
- Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process
- Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies to England
- Support for equality of opportunity for all
- Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
- Respect for and tolerance of difference faiths and religious and other beliefs
At Pittington Primary School, we ensure that the fundamental British Values are introduced, discussed and permeate the ethos and work of the school. The curriculum provides a vehicle for furthering and deepening an understanding of these concepts.
We actively encourage the children at our school to be unique, creative, independent and open-minded individuals who respect themselves and others in our school, the local community and across the wider world.
Our aim is to nurture our children on their journey through primary school so that they can grow into caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who can, and will make, a positive difference to society across Britain and the world.
At Pittington Primary School, science is learnt each week and given the time needed to ensure that a positive learning attitude is created and expectations reinforced, so that all children can achieve success in this core subject. The learning environment and teaching strategies help to keep all children engaged and inspire them to want to investigate the world around them, including the school grounds, through group discussions, presentations, demonstrations, videos, practical explanations, experimental work, as well as child-led instruction where this is possible and appropriate. Learning activities focus on developing our children to enquire, observe, locate sources of information, plan investigations, select appropriate equipment and use it safely, measure, record and analyse results and communicate findings. The classrooms display resources (either permanent or for specific lessons) which are used to engage a child’s natural curiosity. An overview of the associated learning opportunities in science are displayed on the subject webpage within the school website.
Science is delivered by teachers who undergo CPD opportunities as a key part of the ongoing development to incorporate evidence based best practice for teaching this subject.
Curriculum planning for science is in three phases: long, medium and short term.
Our Long-Term Plan ensures the breadth and depth of the activities delivered across the school to ensure coverage as set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five and the National Curriculum to allow the children to experience a wide range of creative and practical activities
During the learning opportunities our children build from prior learning and consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles within the areas of biology, chemistry and physics through a focus on practical science, allowing the children substantial opportunities to demonstrate working scientifically by generating scientific questions and collaborating with their peers.
They take ownership of their learning to make predictions, solve challenges and explain scientific phenomena using an enquiry-based approach to working scientifically and applying their learning to contexts that link with both their out of school experiences and within school the link with regional, national and worldwide science institutions.
The medium-term plan gives detail of each unit of work for each term. They identify learning objectives and outcomes for each unit and ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each term. Enrichment opportunities enable the incorporation of links to other subjects.
The short-term plans are of discrete weekly science lessons that ensure full coverage of the curriculum and where necessary, copies of these are stored centrally. A cross-curricular approach with thematic links is only used when it reinforces the understanding of previously taught science.
We have planned the topics in science so that they build on prior learning opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we also build progression into the science scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
Vocabulary should be displayed on a working wall in all classrooms and, in KS2, form part of a title page or concept map recorded in exercise books at the start of each unit of work. Teachers should further embed vocabulary using definitions, images and actions to teach, practise and aid recall from memory.
- spell scientific vocabulary correctly, at an age appropriate level.
- identify and dispel misconceptions
- avoid confusion with homonyms that have a specific scientific definition
A high proportion of learning science incorporates our children engaging in practical science which allows them to understand a concept, but will also be recorded in a range of appropriate formats that may include:
- written accounts including: instructions, reports and explanations
- annotated diagrams
- spreadsheets (data collection)
- charts, graphs and tables
- model making
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
We recognise the importance of working scientifically in the EYFS as a key area of learning. There are three strands under Physical Development (Health and Self-Care), Understanding the World (The World) and Expressive Arts and Design (Exploring and Using Media and Materials). In both the outdoor and indoor learning areas there are opportunities for both child-led and teacher directed exploratory play. The children are encouraged to follow their curiosity, explore using their senses, observe, predict, investigate and be creative when following their natural inquisitiveness.
Key Stage One (KS1)
Within KS1 children recognise how to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding through a range of scientific investigations, where children work individually, in pairs or in groups. We cover scientific aspects relating to plants, animals (including humans), everyday materials, seasonal changes and living things (including their habitats) as prescribed within the National Curriculum’s Science programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2.
When children leave KS1 we expect them to be able to:
- convey their knowledge of processes associated with biology, chemistry and physics
- apply knowledge to understand the world around them
- understand methods of scientific enquiries
- know current uses of science
- retain and recall scientific vocabulary
Key Stage Two (KS2)
Within KS2 children continue to recognise how to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding through a range of scientific experiments, where children work individually, in pairs or in groups. We cover scientific aspects relating to plants, animals (including humans), rocks, light, forces, magnets, living things (including their habitats), states of matter, sound, electricity, materials (including properties and changes), earth (including solar system) and evolution (including inheritance) as prescribed within the National Curriculum’s Science programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2.
When children leave KS2 we expect them to be able to:
- develop knowledge and understanding of processes associated with biology, chemistry and physics
- apply knowledge to understand the world around them
- understand and apply methods of scientific investigation
- know current uses of science and consider future implications
- retain and recall scientific vocabulary
Organisation, Planning and Resources
Sufficient science equipment is stored in resource area cupboards and unsupervised access by children is not permitted. The borrowing and return of resources is the responsibility of school staff. Staff are advised to inform the science leader of broken, damaged or lost equipment so that replacements can be ordered. Resources are checked annually by the subject leader and in the intervening periods any damaged or defective equipment is reported to them by staff so that replacements can be ordered. Equipment which is of concern should be removed from the Resources Area immediately. Our school library contains books to support individual science research undertaken by children.
Health & Safety
The importance of safety in science is emphasised routinely. If an injury occurs then Pittington’s first aid policy will be followed, the incident will be written in the school accident book and parents/carers will be notified. In addition, the medium-term planning highlights where explicit teaching of safe practice is necessary. Teaching staff carefully plan lessons to ensure any experiments comply with all school Health and Safety procedures and will be provide a safe and secure environment for children to learn. Teaching staff discuss with our children the hazard, risk and what can be done to minimise the risk to prevent harm to themselves or others, both during the lesson and elsewhere.
Children are informed of any risks before carrying out any investigations and will be actively involved in the process of agreeing any precautions for the activity. The purpose of the experiment and all hazards and safety precautions are thoroughly outlined. Children are encouraged to consider their own safety and the safety of others at all times.
Children are instructed to always wash hands carefully before starting and after completing food related science lessons, prior to which all ingredients are checked for allergens identified in a child’s care plans.
To help clarify, children are explicitly taught about not tasting berries growing on shrubs, avoiding looking directly at the sun, preventing small magnets and batteries from being swallowed, household mains power, etc.
Any experiments or trips which are considered a particular risk will need a Risk Assessment Form to be completed and discussion with the Science subject lead prior. Certain practices and procedures for investigation and experimentation during lessons will require teacher focused supervision. A small group of children will have the undivided attention by a supervising adult. Non-teaching adults will be thoroughly briefed before the activity on the nature of the risk by the teacher in charge.
In addition to staff following the safe practice agreed by the school during the risk assessment process, colleagues will undertake a risk assessment during curriculum planning for the practical work being undertaken
If necessary the subject leader will consult the Be Safe 4th Edition: Health & Safety in School Science & Technology for Teachers of 3-12 Year Olds document.
A range of opportunities to engage our children with home life experiences are conveyed to parents and carers of all key stages. In addition, school staff may offer after school activities led by themselves or outreach volunteers from local institutions or societies. We aim to provide a range of opportunities for all key stages and recognise the value this has in promoting their understanding of science within their everyday lives or discover aspects of science that appeal to their personal areas of interest.
Assessment in science is an ongoing process. Teachers will make informal judgements about a child’s progress and attainment from observation, listening, discussion and marking. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher uses their assessment to plan for future learning. Written or verbal feedback is given to the child to help guide their progress. Older children are encouraged to make judgements about how they can improve their own work.
At the end of each content, teachers will decide on a child’s level of attainment noting which children are:
- working above age-related expectations
- working at age-related expectations
- working towards age-related expectations
These judgements will be made in line with the 2019 assessment sheets and a portfolio of exemplification is being compiled during 2020. The science subject leader currently uses the school website to demonstrate age related expectations in science for each age group in the school.
Teachers report to parents/carers the assessment of attainment in both? the interim and end of year reports. This information is then passed on to the cohort’s next teacher.
SIMS data will be used by the subject leader to identify children that demonstrate more academic aptitude than expected for their age and there will be a concerted effort to ensure that they have access to extra-curricular activities and trips to extend their learning opportunities.
Role of the Subject Leader
The role of the Subject Leader is to provide leadership and direction for their subject area and ensure that it is managed and organised to meet the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum as well as those of the school. The Subject Leader, in conjunction with the Senior Leadership Team, has the responsibility for securing high standards of teaching and learning in their subject area as well as playing a major role in the development of school policy and practice. Throughout their monitoring activities, the Subject Leader ensures that practices improve the quality of education provided, meet the needs of all children, raise standards of achievement across the school as well as raising the aspirations of all children. The Subject Leader should liaise with the SENCO to ensure that children with special educational needs are able to fulfil their full potential within the curriculum.
The Subject Leader plays a key role in supporting and motivating teachers, and other staff, across the school. Subject Leaders assist the Senior Leadership Team to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning to inform future priorities and targets for the subject area. The Subject Leader should lead by example, by setting high standards in their own teaching.
Subject Leaders are allocated time to monitor their subject areas. These times include staff meeting time, twilight CPD sessions and non-contact time within the school day. Monitoring activities include:
- Observing lessons
- Work samples
- Talking to staff
- Talking to pupils
- Monitoring planning
- Analysing data
- Monitoring displays – this includes wall displays, Learning Journeys
- Auditing resources
- External review from an eternal professional
The Subject Leader identifies needs in their own subject area and recognises that these must be considered in relation to the overall needs of the school. The Subject Leader must understand how their subject area contributes to whole school priorities and to the overall education and achievements of all pupils. There are opportunities throughout the year for Subject Leaders to discuss the strengths and weaknesses within their subject areas to a governor who is specially linked to the subject area as well as meeting with the Curriculum Committee.
Opportunities for the development of all staff will be provided in order to enhance the quality of science within the school. The needs of the teaching staff will be identified through the monitoring and evaluation of the subject which is undertaken by the science subject leader and will be done in conjunction with the whole school development plan. The science lead will ensure that any development opportunities undertaken by staff are disseminated throughout the school where necessary to further enhance the quality of this subject and therefore directly impact on the positive outcomes for our children. Teaching staff will be encouraged to ask for support with their planning, teaching and assessment when deemed necessary.
At Pittington Primary we have a successful science curriculum where children have access to a range of activities and have positive, successful experiences will empower children to have a sense of awe and wonder for the world with which they interact.
Children learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links and involvement of out-reach role models and those parents/carers with scientific related professions. Our children act as though they are scientists, enjoy the subject and this results in motivated learners with sound scientific understanding. Children will be prepared for the next step in their life journey and in a position to participate fully in the learning of biology, chemistry and physics both formally in education and beyond.
If you would like more information about our Science Curriculum please contact Mrs Lee, Headteacher by clicking here