At Brightlingsea Primary School and Nursery, we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught in Primary Schools, we aim to give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it requires.
The scientific area of learning is concerned with increasing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the world and with developing skills associated with Science as a process of enquiry. Our aim is to stimulate and excite all children’s natural curiosity about phenomena, the universe and promote and encourage respect for living organisms and the physical environment. We aim to ensure that children have the opportunity to think, look, touch, explore, question and evaluate evidence. In this way they will learn to pursue investigations. Above all, they will learn to cherish and enjoy the world around them and see the importance of their contribution to society.
At Brightlingsea Primary School and Nursery, in conjunction with the aims of the National Curriculum, our Science teaching offers opportunities for children to:
Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics;
- Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- Be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future.
- Develop the essential scientific enquiry skills to deepen their scientific knowledge.
- Use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including I.C.T., diagrams, graphs and charts.
- Develop a respect for the materials and equipment they handle with regard to their own, and other children’s safety.
- Develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery.
The National Curriculum will provide a structure and skill development for the science curriculum being taught throughout the school, which is introduced, where possible through a thematic, topic based approach in order to make links with other curriculum areas. This will enable us to deliver a creative scheme of work which reflects a balanced program of study.
We value the importance of enabling children to see Science as an important part of their lives and culture. Therefore all children are provided with equal access to the science curriculum. Diversity among pupils should be used to enhance the learning of all and provide exciting learning opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity or home background. We endeavour to ensure that the science curriculum we provide will give the children the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their skills into the next stage of their education and life experiences. In order to equip children with “science capital”, our curriculum aims to build on and value children’s personal experiences of science and where possible, to personalise the content of the curriculum in a local context.
We recognise the significance for attainment and the enjoyment of science in providing a science curriculum which enables children to become enquiry based learners. We aim to achieve this by placing an emphasis on planning lessons that incorporate hands on practical investigations, regular opportunities to use discussion to stimulate independent thinking and to equip children with the language to be able to discuss their learning and confidently explain their scientific understanding.
Our intention is to build a science curriculum which develops learning and results in the acquisition of knowledge. Therefore our curriculum recognises and values the unique individuality of children’s diverse learning needs and styles. To enable our children to successfully access the science curriculum we aim to ensure that we utilise a variety of teaching strategies in order to overcome potential barriers to learning.
Our science curriculum reflects a belief in children’s learning as a process of revisiting and building on their experiences and understanding of key scientific concepts, vocabulary and enquiry skills. We aim to provide opportunities for pupils to repeat, practise, and reinforce previously learnt knowledge, skills and processes on a regular basis. We believe that this is key in enabling pupils to embed and consolidate their understanding and retain information.
We want our students to value science and to develop an understanding of how wider scientific understanding develops over time. We aim to develop an appreciation of the work of famous scientists and less well known scientists in terms of their impact and influence on the world in which we live. Being able to make connections between the different ideas in science and developing an understanding of the “big ideas” and how they have evolved plays an important part in preparing children for work and life.
Teachers create a positive attitude towards science learning in their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to teaching and learning in science involves the following:
- Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher. Importance is placed on the need to advance conceptual knowledge and understanding together with working scientifically. Planning will identify links with other curriculum areas which allows pupils the opportunity to form meaningful connections between subjects that better reflect the real world. This is a strategy to enable an achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
- Each year group plans opportunities to build on children’s personal experiences to enable children to take responsibility for their learning. Children are encouraged to share their knowledge and understanding, to suggest ideas about what they want to learn and to raise questions about what they want to find out. This ensures that children’s ideas are both valued and that they are actively engaged and interested in their learning. Where possible the outside environment and local area are utilised to provide regular out door learning experiences. These practical hands on experiences enable children to follow their ideas, talk about their learning and extend their knowledge and understanding.
- Working scientifically skills are embedded into lessons. These skills are introduced through direct teaching to ensure that the progression and the development of new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced throughout the children’s school career.
- Teaching key subject specific vocabulary is also a key part out science curriculum. The vocabulary children will need for that unit are identified on the school’s progression document and this builds upon the vocabulary they have learnt in earlier years. The key vocabulary will be identified on the children’s knowledge organisers. Key vocabulary will also be introduced through our Reading sessions.
- In addition to planning opportunities for children to regularly engage in practical hands on science investigations, pupils begin each lesson with a “big question”, concept cartoon, odd one out exercise or a PMI (positive, minus, interesting point) task to consider. This provides a way of developing and consolidating reasoning skills, enabling children to explain and justify their thinking, generate ideas and raise questions using appropriate vocabulary.
- Teachers employ a variety of strategies, adapt and differentiate planning in order to respond to pupil’s diverse learning needs. These strategies include: multi- sensory approaches; using visual aids to support teacher talk; enabling children to record their work in different ways; handling and observing objects; encouraging children to verbalise key concepts through discussion; using videos and presentations, music and drama. Gifted and talented children are identified and suitable challenges are provided.
- To ensure learning and the acquisition of knowledge we will use a clear and comprehensive scheme of work in line with the national curriculum. Progression grids will be used to inform planning. This ensures that prior knowledge, skills and vocabulary are built upon in subsequent year groups.
- Teachers plan opportunities to elicit pupils’ science knowledge and skills at the start and the end of a topic; including the use of KWL grids, key assessed pieces of work, mind maps and concept cartoons. This helps to pitch lessons and also clearly demonstrates progress.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up.
- At the beginning of each topic, children will be provided with a knowledge organiser. These provide children with access to key knowledge of a topic as well as a retrieval tool for vocabulary and meanings.
- Children will access resources to acquire learning through a variety of science equipment, digital technology, secondary resources and school enrichment experiences. E.g., where possible teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts. 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 the class.
- Planning will incorporate the use of “Big Questions” to provide opportunities for children to revisit and consolidate their enquiry skills.
- Assessment for learning is an effective strategy used to inform next steps in children’s learning. Children are also encouraged to assess their own and the work and ideas of their peers against know criteria.
- We provide a variety of opportunities for children to develop an understanding of how wider scientific understanding develops over time and to apply their learning practically to real-life science situations. Children will learn about the discoveries of both famous and unknown scientists and the contributions they have made and the impact they have had on our lives.
- Teachers, where possible plan opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with parents.
- Children are offered a range of extra- curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in the class.
- Regular events, such as Science Week or project days, allow pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
The successful approach at Brightlingsea Primary School and Nursery results in a fun, engaging, high quality science education which provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our science curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also forms part of the units of work. This will ensure that children will achieve the age related expectations at the end of their cohort year. They will be able to retain knowledge that is pertinent to science with a real life context. The curriculum will also ensure that children will be able to question ideas, reflect on knowledge and work collaboratively and practically to investigate and experiment.
Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Opportunities for continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom is embedded throughout the Science curriculum. Through trips and interactions with experts and visits children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links as well as the opportunity to learn from and with professionals. This ensures that children have access to positive role models from the immediate and wider community. From this exposure to a range of different scientists from various backgrounds, all children feel they are scientists and capable of achieving. Our children enjoy science and this results in motivated learners with sound scientific knowledge and understanding.
We will measure the impact in the follow ways:
- Monitor the standards of children’s work and the quality of teaching science. This maybe through lesson observations, book scrutiny, learning works and data analysis.
- Assessing children’s understanding of a topic before and after the unit is taught.
- Marking of written work in books.
- Summative 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 pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
- External moderation of children’s work at the end of each Key Stage.
- Formal reporting of standards at the end of each Key Stage.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum to parents.
The Science teaching and learning is subject to continual review, evaluation and monitoring. The Science Co-ordinator in conjunction with the Senior Leadership Team is responsible for this and will:
- Be responsible for the support of colleagues in the teaching of Science.
- Provide a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school.
- Be responsible for Science input to the school development plan.