At Gillingstool Primary School, high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding and appreciating the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and it is vital to the world’s future prosperity and sustainability. All pupils 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, pupils 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.
Our curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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;
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
At Gillingstool Primary School, scientific enquiry skills are embedded in each topic the pupils study and these topics are revisited and developed throughout their time at school. Topics, such as plants, are taught in Key Stage One and studied again in further detail throughout Key Stage Two. This allows pupils to build upon their prior knowledge and increases their enthusiasm for the topics whilst embedding this knowledge into the long-term memory.
All pupils are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and investigations, as well as being encouraged to question the world around them and become independent learners in exploring possible answers for their scientific based questions. Specialist vocabulary for topics is taught and built up, and effective questioning to communicate ideas is encouraged. Concepts taught are reinforced by focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions.
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following:
- Science is taught weekly and is linked with topics wherever possible. Some units are taught discretely. Planning is based on a school-wide science scheme of work from EYFS to Year 6.
- Working scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed year on year and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching.
- Each topic has a knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including vocabulary) all pupils should master;
- Pupils complete a low stakes quiz which is carried out at the start and end of units, allowing pupils to see their own progress and encourage retention of knowledge;
- Pupils go on trips and have visits from experts to enhance the learning experience;
- A whole school Science Week is held every two years, which fosters enjoyment of science, develops cross-curricular links and encourages discussion and teamwork. It allows all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills.
At Gillingstool Primary School, our science curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression year on year. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Tracking of knowledge in pre and post learning quizzes;
- Pupil discussions about their learning;
- Regular teacher assessment;
The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the science curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives.