At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we adhere to the aims set out in the National Curriculum to provide a broad and balanced Science curriculum that is accessible for all our pupils. Our aim is to promote a love of learning about science by bringing it to life and developing the children’s natural sense of curiosity. We want to our children to recognise the awe and wonder of the subject by using exploration and providing opportunities for them to experience the world with all their senses. We endeavour to instil an appreciation of how science is reflected in the world around us and learn about the science that is an intrinsic part of their daily lives. Children are encouraged to think scientifically as they plan and carry out scientific experiments, through observing, questioning, communicating and evaluating evidence. We hope to inspire children to continue their love of learning and further their scientific study in Key Stage 3 and beyond their school lives.
Through carefully planned and prepared lessons, we ensure that all statutory requirements of the national curriculum are met and that there is progression through the year groups.
We also teach some non-statutory elements to provide a rich and balanced curriculum based on essential knowledge which we tailor to suit the needs of our pupils.
Each area’s content knowledge is supported with a scientific investigation to enrich their understanding and create opportunities for developing scientific skills. We use a separate Progression in Skills document to ensure the appropriate key skills are taught in each year group.
We create long and medium term plans to ensure consistency across the year groups and key stages. Our long-term plans set out the half-termly topics that will be covered in each class while our medium-term plans provide additional detail on each of the topics. Throughout our Science topics, links are made, where appropriate, with Mathematics, English, History, Geography, Art and DT.
Lessons are planned in a sequence to ensure that the appropriate knowledge and skills are taught, developed and revisited over time as well as to broaden the children’s understanding and use of scientific vocabulary. These lessons are also planned to nurture a growth mindset, encourage collaborative work and to develop our children’s ability to communicate effectively. Each lesson includes some form of investigation (fair testing, observation, pattern seeking, grouping and classifying or research). During experiments, children are given the opportunity to formulate hypothesis, select and use appropriate equipment and other hands-on resources to support and develop their learning. By working collaboratively and independently, children draw conclusions and develop their skills to present their results in different ways. We encourage children to review and evaluate what they have learnt as well as their performance.
As part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) week at St Joseph’s, we endeavour to create a stimulating and motivating environment where children are able to fully immerse themselves in hands-on experiences as well as learning about the scientists who have inspired us. During this week we focus on problem solving, critical thinking and the fostering of a growth mindset.
To build on their knowledge and create further excitement in the science we have around us, teachers plan for a range of visitors to come into the school for a variety of workshops and talks. The children are also provided with off-site learning opportunities that are linked to their particular units of study.
Impact can be seen in the children’s enthusiasm and excitement when talking about science, in their ability to speak about science concepts and in their skill at conducting experiments and investigations. Due to our diverse planning and preparation, all children will make progress regardless of their ability, including SEND pupils. Through quality teaching, most pupils will have a secure understanding of the key scientific processes.
We assess the progress of the children through consistent monitoring of their improving standard of knowledge and skills through observations, book scrutinies and conversations with both the children and the teachers.
During lessons and at the end of each topic, children are observed and evaluated against the skills and content in the national curriculum. This ensures children working at greater depth are being extended and appropriate support and scaffolding can be planned for in the next lessons.
Using a hands-on and collaborative approach allows the children to engage in a meaningful way, with the curriculum helping them to remember what they have learnt and so form part of their long term memory. Our regular visitors, STEM Week focus and our school’s close proximity to educational sites and museums such as The Science Museum, Holland Park Ecology Centre and Chelsea Physic Garden provide our children with a broad range of rich learning experiences that increase both their scientific understanding and their cultural capital. The impact of teaching our children about the scientists from the past and present helps to foster a love for the subject and inspires them to become the scientists of the future.