At St. William of York, we aspire to ignite the spark of scientific curiosity within each child, nurturing their passion for exploration, discovery, and lifelong learning. We believe that science education plays a vital role in nurturing creativity, developing critical thinking, and promoting a deep understanding of the natural world. Our primary goal, therefore, is to develop a science curriculum that fosters a healthy curiosity about the world, enabling our children to question, explore, and investigate the world around them. We strive to cultivate a sense of wonder and awe in our children, encouraging them to ask meaningful questions and seek answers through scientific enquiry.
Through our programme of study and in conjunction with the aims set out in the National Curriculum, we aim to ensure that all children:
- Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
- Are equipped with a wide range of scientific vocabulary, enabling them to effectively communicate and comprehend scientific concepts and processes.
- Have the opportunity to participate in hands-on enquiry-based learning experiences where they actively engage in scientific investigations and experiments. To facilitate this, we are committed to utilising our school's natural environment whenever possible.
- Are encouraged to take ownership of their own investigations (where appropriate) and decide which of the five enquiry types is most suitable.
- Have opportunities to plan and ask their own questions. We believe in fostering their skills such as observation, data collection, analysis, and evaluation.
- Are able to access the curriculum by ensuring it is fully inclusive, catering to the diverse needs and abilities of every student.
At St. William of York, we foster an appreciation for science by offering a diverse and engaging curriculum. Our teachers actively promote a positive attitude towards science in their classrooms while consistently setting high expectations that enable all children to achieve. In order to ensure high standards of teaching and learning in science, we implement a curriculum where there is a clear progression of knowledge and skills that are taught and built upon each year. Science is taught every half-term and planned in collaboration with the subject lead and class teachers. Each unit is based upon one of the key science disciplines - biology, chemistry or physics - and follows a logical and coherent sequence. The curriculum is designed around the statutory requirements for Primary Science and ensures full coverage of the National Curriculum’s aims.
- At the beginning of each topic, teachers employ formative assessment strategies such as KWL grids, mind maps, and quizzes to assess children’s prior learning, which allows them to address any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge, and then tailor the curriculum to match the needs and abilities of the children.
- The use of appropriate scientific terminology is emphasised in each lesson, with the teacher providing clear examples and explanations. This approach enables children to effectively express their ideas, establish connections with prior knowledge, and enhance their overall scientific understanding.
- We encourage cross-curricular links, fostering connections between science and subjects like design technology, art, and maths. By doing so, children have the opportunity to apply their scientific skills and knowledge to other areas of learning. This approach enhances their understanding and enables them to see the practical applications of science in different contexts.
- Children are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They are given opportunities to plan and carry out their own investigations. They will develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information.
- Children will present their findings using scientific vocabulary, drawings, labelled diagrams, bar charts and tables.
- 'Working scientifically’ skills are integrated with conceptual understanding and explored through engaging activities.
- The assessment process is informed by various sources, including end-of-unit assessments, quizzes, classroom observations, verbal feedback, pupil voice, and pupil book studies.
- Children will have the opportunity to revisit and consolidate their learning throughout the year through our ‘scientists' topic.
- Through extracurricular initiatives like "Science Week," we aim to promote the importance of science within our school community. These events offer children the chance to explore scientific topics in a self-directed manner, encouraging curiosity and discovery.
- We arrange educational trips to enrich and enhance learning experiences whenever feasible. Additionally, we use our school grounds and garden to facilitate outdoor learning, fostering connections to the world around us and creating valuable learning opportunities.
- CPD opportunities are available to staff to ensure high levels of confidence and knowledge are maintained.
- Within the foundation stage, science runs through the strand of ‘Understanding the World’ (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage) and is implemented through hands- on exploration as the children explore the natural world around them.
At St. William of York, we gauge scientific progress by evaluating each child's capacity to acquire sustainable knowledge, enhance their memory retention, and articulate their understanding. Our curriculum approach ensures that every child receives an engaging, enjoyable, and high-quality science education. By establishing a solid foundation of knowledge, we equip our children with the necessary tools to comprehend the world around them. Our emphasis on science education cultivates a sense of enjoyment and enthusiasm among the children. They become confident in employing scientific vocabulary and effectively explaining scientific concepts. We strive to connect scientific knowledge with real-life contexts, enabling children to retain information more effectively. We provide opportunities for outdoor learning in our school garden, allowing children to engage in hands-on experiences that further their exploration of scientific concepts. Children are encouraged to embark on their own explorations and investigations, fostering a spirit of curiosity and self-discovery. They are empowered to question ideas, reflect on their knowledge, and collaborate with their peers to conduct investigations and experiments. Through these practical experiences, children develop their ability to reason and provide scientific explanations. Our Science curriculum empowers children with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in Key Stage 3 science. It equips them with the tools to confidently question and explore the world around them.
Pupil Assessment and Attainment
The impact of our science curriculum can be measured and monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities.
- In KS1 and KS2, children are assessed against the National Curriculum objectives stated in the Medium Term Plans for each half term.
- In EYFS, children are assessed through observations under the ‘Understanding the World’ strand.
- Working scientifically is continually assessed within lessons and is tracked within Y1 and Y2, Y3 and Y4, and Y5 and Y6.
- During lessons, progress of learning is measured through observations, questioning, quizzes, discussions, live marking and feedback. This is then used to identify gaps and misconceptions in learning, which are then used to inform planning and teaching.
- Children will complete post- assessment questions at the end of each topic to assess their learning and inform their next steps. This supports teacher assessment during the year as well as the monitoring of data to aid in planning for the development of the subject.
- At St. William of York, all children have a voice. Pupil voice questionnaires provide children with an opportunity to express their views, attitudes and experiences towards science. This feedback allows us to tailor our curriculum and teaching methods to the needs of the children.
- The subject leader will measure impact through monitoring activities, including learning walks, lesson observations, book looks, conversations with children, conversations with staff and analysis of teacher’s assessments every half term.
- Teachers are well supported and opportunities for professional development are provided