Our vision for Science at St James’ is that we deliver a rich and hands-on curriculum that fosters curiosity, inquisitiveness and a fascination about our universe and both the living and nonliving things within it. It is our goal that the National Curriculum objectives are taught in a meaningful and relevant way, with topics building cleverly upon the skills and knowledge gained in previous journeys. We aim to mirror Science in the ‘real world’ by following a ‘problem-solving’ planning approach as it is essential to us that we encourage children at St James’ to view themselves as scientists and capable of discovering new and wonderful things. Teachers therefore pose exciting and thought-provoking questions before imparting just enough scientific knowledge for children to then explore and investigate these questions confidently. We believe it is critical that the answers to these questions are always unknown, or at least uncertain, so as to foster excitement and a sense of wonder. It is our goal that children will learn how to be confident observers capable of carrying out careful measurements and fair tests, before critically evaluating their own evidence. We believe it is the scientific experience that is critical; a chance to discover, have fun and make better sense of the world in which they live.
Teachers consistently model a sense of awe and wonder about the world around them and celebrate curiosity within our children, reinforcing an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;
- In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in science, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school, providing full coverage of National Curriculum Science objectives. These have been mapped carefully to ensure that topics build logically and sequentially from one another and are taught when it is both relevant and age appropriate.
- To build upon prior knowledge, increase enthusiasm and embed procedural knowledge into the long-term memory, several topics are deliberately revisited and developed across both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. Plants, for example, is taught in all year groups, up to Year 4. Content is not simply repeated but rather a new focus allows for reinforcement and previous building blocks are cleverly built upon in an exciting way.
- Our teachers follow one of three planning models when creating a Science unit, depending upon the nature and content of each one. However, a ‘problem solving’ approach is at the heart of every topic, as we believe this nurtures our children’s natural curiosity. Children are consistently given the opportunity to investigate interesting questions and be hands-on within the classroom.
- Through practical activities, our teachers will encourage key scientific skills including: observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
- Longitudinal studies are carried out in Years 1 - 4 and these allow children to gather data over time, draw comparisons and describe biodiversity and biomass with reference to weather and habitats. Children carry out rolling predictions and conclusions and are taught to continuously reflect on their findings.
- Teachers at St James’ use precise questioning in class to deepen thinking as well as to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly.
- Scientific resources are drawn upon to aid the understanding of scientific knowledge and, where appropriate we use technology to investigate and record. Children are also given the opportunity to apply their mathematics by presenting their scientific findings through graphs, charts and tables.
- At St James’, we have mapped scientific vocabulary across the school and teachers challenge children to use ambitious vocabulary. Importantly however, we challenge our children to unpick the meaning and ideas that lay within these words to ensure children gain a deeper conceptual understanding.
The impact of this curriculum design will lead to outstanding progress over time, across key stages, relative to a child’s individual starting point and their progression of skills. The vast majority of our children will therefore be expected to leave St James’ reaching at least age related expectations for Science.
Children at St James’ Primary School are passionate about Science and enjoy talking about what they have learnt and how they achieved this learning. They are able to use a range of appropriate scientific vocabulary when talking about their learning, and are confident in using a range of sources to prompt and support these discussions (e.g. learning journeys, Science books, working walls).
In addition to designing a progressive curriculum relevant to the children at St James’, we organise various workshops, trips and interactions with real scientists. Children are encouraged to participate in national engineering competitions and are given the opportunity to join workshops run by STEM ambassadors. Assemblies are conducted by members of our community working within a scientific field so they can better understand how science changes lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
These factors combine to help our pupils become enthusiastic learners and empower them to understand that they have the capability to change the world. This is evidenced in a range of ways, including pupil voice, their work and their overwhelming enjoyment for Science. Children leave our school with the enthusiasm to continue their scientific education at secondary school and are excited about the next stage in their journey.
Please click here to view our Science long term overview.
Please click here to view our progression of scientific knowledge.
Please click here to view our progression of scientific skills.