At St Bartholomew’s, we embrace science as a fun and engaging subject that promotes a natural curiosity in all of our children. Our science curriculum is broad and balanced and allows children to apply their scientific understanding to other subjects and to make links across others areas of the curriculum when learning about science. Our science curriculum promotes independent thinking as we encourage children to research, investigate and problem solve. Science also offers application of maths and English skills from measurement and presenting data to scientific debates and explanations of methodology. We believe in using practical equipment to allow children to conduct a range of investigations and models to ensure that abstract scientific concepts are understood.
At St Bartholomew’s we are passionate in the aim that all children leave our school scientifically literate. This means that they have enough knowledge and understanding to make choices and debate issues that affect them and their world. This includes the consideration of world issues (for example: the global goals) and decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
We have built a cycled curriculum that is cohesive and sequential. Our planning includes all content outlined in the National Curriculum (2014). We have allocated the topics to link with the rest of the curriculum and considered seasonal times in the year when necessary. However, our curriculum is flexible as staff can discuss if they believe topics would work better in a different term. We can also revisit topics throughout the year to consolidate the learning (especially in topics such as KS1’s seasonal changes when the changes can be seen at different points in the year). Our science curriculum is inclusive to all learners as we ensure that science lessons challenge the thinking of all learners whilst supporting the needs of our most vulnerable learners.
Knowledge and skills are outlined on knowledge organisers written specifically for each topic. How each topic’s learning and skills relate to prior and future learning can be seen on the knowledge organiser. Working scientifically skills are taught throughout the year and are mapped and assigned to the most appropriate topics where they can be explored thoroughly. These skills have been assigned to KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 according to the national curriculum and are displayed on the cover of each science book.
All children have the right to high quality science teaching and learning. Children with SEND, those with English as an additional language and children who have had less access to science at home are supported to access their learning so that no child is denied the experience and enjoyment of a full science curriculum.
Our curriculum encourages deeper and broader thinking and promotes independent learning. Methods to challenge and promote critical thinking for all can be seen on knowledge organisers. At St Bartholomew’s we want to produce lifelong science learners. We ensure that children understand the range of careers that use science and how they themselves use science in their daily lives. Famous scientists are studied during related topics and their important work and findings are celebrated. We celebrate influential female leaders and important scientific discoveries from all cultures to encourage our children, regardless of their gender or race, to consider a career in a STEM industry.
When areas for development in science teaching and learning are identified, we support our staff through targeted and specific coaching and mentoring packages. The science lead delivers regular training to teachers to raise the standards of science teaching throughout the school. Constant professional development ensures greater progress for all learners. We overcome barriers to learning through ensuring that all staff have strong subject knowledge and the confidence to teach all topics to a high standard.
All topics begin by teachers establishing children’s current knowledge and prior learning. Misconceptions are then quickly identified in lessons through effective assessment for learning and topics adapted to ensure that new learning builds upon the children’s current skills and knowledge. Misconceptions are seen as teaching points and are addressed with the children to encourage new learning opportunities.
When abstract concepts are being taught, teachers use models to represent important scientific theories and ideas. Models are used to help children explain abstract concepts. Difficult concepts are taught through practical activities and through conducting investigations wherever possible. This ensures that children understand how to plan, carry out and draw conclusions about their learning and apply this understanding to new concepts. Children do this through small group work to ensure that every learner is actively involved.
We believe that it is important for the children in this school to experience all aspects of investigative science. Throughout their school life, pupils will carry out a variety of tests where they will be exposed to problem solving, observing, measuring, analysing secondary sources and making models. Children learn how to conduct a fair test and how to check the validity of their results.
The different types of investigation are displayed in each KS1 and KS2 classroom and are referred to during the science lesson. Each class in KS1 and KS2 has a science working wall. Vocabulary for the topic is added to the wall when it is known by the children. Photos of key scientists with a small biography are included when applicable. Many resources are used to support the learning within science. However, we also arrange a number of educational visits and in house workshops to support learning. We hold an annual science week to promote science careers and a passion for science. This also provides a wonderful opportunity to share their experience of science in the workplace and for children to share their learning with their parents.
Children with SEND are supported with their learning through carefully scaffolded tasks and being exposed to scientific vocabulary prior to lessons. It is sometimes necessary to support those with a higher level of need further, through 1:1 adult support or a specialised curriculum to ensure their needs are met fully.
All children are encouraged to see themselves as scientists in all lessons. A child who is a talented scientist is a child who is constantly curious, thinks about a range of ways to answer a question, makes links between prior and current learning, thinks logically, is methodical when conducting experiments, understands there can be more than one answer to a question and is able to evaluate their results and conclusions.
Our teachers assess learner’s understanding, address misconceptions and adapt their teaching accordingly every lesson so that all of our children make at least good progress in science. Specific verbal and written feedback enables children to correct their own misconceptions and build upon their learning through further challenging questions. Regular summative and formative assessments inform future planning and ensures that teachers have a knowledge of their pupils’ progress.
All teachers understand the sequence of learning because knowledge organisers specify the order in which the lessons should be taught as well as stating the knowledge and skills that should be covered within each lesson. At a result of the children discussing all of the learning for their topic at the start, they have a good understanding of the knowledge and skills they will need to gain to be successful scientists. Consequently, the children are aware of what they will learn during their lessons, the skills they will develop and the vocabulary they will use. The children monitor their own progress by completing their topic front covers over the course of a series of lessons. The science lead monitors the progress through these and pupil voice interviews.