Science is at the core of understanding the evolution of everything around us and our place within it. At James Cambell Primary School, we want to equipment our children with the sense of curiosity that allows them to explore and enjoy science as well as recognise its application in daily life. We, as a school, are keen to instil an inquisitive nature into our students about the world around them. We encourage our children to question what they learn so they grasp a fuller understanding of concepts. The curriculum is designed to ensure that children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences such as using equipment, designing and conducting their own experiments, arguing and explaining theories confidently. Our children learn to use a range of methods to communicate their scientific findings and present it in a scientific manner, including annotated diagrams, graphs, and concept-maps and using ICT.
As one of the core subjects, we give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it deserves within the curriculum and advocate the teaching of the specific and discreet disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics within their own fields so that children can fully explore the ideas relating to each field. Along with the National curriculum a progression document is used to guide the teaching and learning. Both documents ensure that knowledge and skills progressively build on and are developed from year to year. From Key stage 1 through to Key stage 2; our children have weekly lessons planned by experience teachers with guidance from the science coordinator. Mini-leads from each year group work with the Science coordinator to refine the quality and progression of our bespoke plans and ensure they are filtered into their years teams. James Cambell teachers recognise the importance of activate prior knowledge, and one of our focuses for this year is to ensure that the most relevant knowledge is revisited in lessons in order to support pupils in their new learning. All pupils, including all SEND pupils are included in science lessons and access the lesson from their own starting points.
The National Curriculum is used as a guide for the taught content and a school wide progression document is used to ensure that substantive knowledge and disciplinary skills are taught in tandem, developing progressively from year to year. Children have weekly lessons in Science throughout Key Stage 1 and 2, using planning developed by expert teachers who take on the role of science mini-lead in their year group. These are teachers who have shown excellent subject knowledge and, through learning conversations and regular meetings with the science coordinator, they support their teams to ensure consistent and high-quality science teaching. Our bespoke unit plans develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding within the three specific disciplines.
Central to our teaching is the development of disciplinary skills which look to nurture an inquisitive mind and encourage our children to develop a sense of intrigue of the world around through the five types of enquiry; observation over time, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying and grouping, comparative and fair testing and research using secondary sources. Lessons are designed to make best use of each type of enquiry skill so as to make the learning meaningful and purposeful. Children learn to develop investigative questions which they plan, execute, collect data for and analyse. This encourages an understanding of how science can be used to explain what is occurring, make predictions on how things will behave, and analyse causes & effects. Through these enquiry tasks children are encouraged to lead the learning and make discoveries, rather than just being informed. In Early years, science is taught through learning about the world around them through play and exploration.
Mini end-of-unit tests, concept maps, low-stakes quizzes, test base questions, investigations and composite tasks are just some of the ways that teachers track pupil progress and address misconceptions effectively. In order to prioritise teaching and learning rather than testing, we are looking to replace our end of unit tests with a baseline assessment and end of year test for KS2. The data from these tests would be used to inform teaching and teacher assessment.
Progression in science also takes other subjects into account and, with the technological advancements the last two years have enabled, we are looking for ways to seamlessly integrate technology into lessons, ensuring that these decisions are being made to enrich science learning. Science is also explored outside the taught curriculum. Children are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as external visits and we welcome regular visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class. Regular events, such as the yearly science fair allow all pupils an opportunity to engage and explore scientific solutions to real world problems. These scholarly events involve families and the wider community.