Science at St Mary's
Science Policy 2020/2021
How do we teach Science?
At St. Mary’s R.C. Primary School, science should be fully inclusive to every child. Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for Science; providing a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum; ensuring the progressive development of knowledge, skills and vocabulary and for the children to develop a love of science. Furthermore, we aim to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the natural and man-made world and a respect for the environment that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. This includes the lessons they complete in the classroom but also the other experiences they are offered, such as educational visits, residential and enrichment days.
The aims of teaching science in our school are to:
- Equip children to use themselves as starting points for learning about science, and to build on their enthusiasm and natural sense of wonder about the world
- Develop through practical work the skills of observation, prediction, investigation, interpretation, communication, questioning and hypothesising, and increased use of precise measurement skills and ICT
- Encourage and enable pupils to offer their own suggestions, and to be creative in their approach to science, devising their own investigations and taking lines of enquiry in a way that interests them
- Gain enjoyment from their scientific work
- Enable children to develop their skills of co-operation through working with others, and to encourage where possible, ways for children to explore science in forms which are relevant and meaningful to them
- Teach scientific enquiry through contexts taken from the National Curriculum for science
- Encourage children to collect relevant evidence and to question outcome and to build resilience to persevere as it is likely they will need to repeat results or will encounter unexpected results that do not support their hypothesis
- Encourage children to treat the living and non-living environment with respect and sensitivity
- Stress the need for personal and group safety by the correct usage and storage of resources
- To critically question the world around them
- To enable children to appreciate that we do not always know the answers when carrying out scientific enquiry as the world around them is continually changing and developing
- Equip children with the language to be able to discuss their learning and confidently explain their scientific understanding in small groups
- Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers
All children will have Quality First Teaching. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. As well as this, our school offers a demanding and varied curriculum, providing children with a range of opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential and consistently achieve highly from their starting points.
The Science subject leader (Mrs Coulthard) is responsible for the curriculum design, delivery and impact in this subject. This included regularly meeting with Governors to review and quality assure the subject areas to ensure that it is being implemented well and coverage, breadth and balance is adequate. To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in science, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Science is taught in discrete weekly lessons. We ensure that teachers have the same expectations during Science lessons that they would have when teaching English or Mathematics and that any mathematical task (such as measuring or drawing graphs) is pitched at an age-appropriate level to ensure sufficient challenge. It is vital that any mathematical or English barriers should not impede a child’s scientific learning, thus meaning dialogue learning is a central part to our science teaching.
The Science curriculum at St. Mary’s R.C. Primary School is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills taught in each Key Stage. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our progression of knowledge and skills document, which incorporates working scientifically. When teaching Science, teachers should follow the children’s interests to ensure their learning is engaging, broad and balanced. Before planning a unit of work, teachers should assess children’s prior knowledge and understanding to ensure work is pitched at the correct level. A variety of teaching approaches are used based on the teacher’s judgement. Teaching key subject specific vocabulary is also a key part of our science curriculum. The vocabulary children will need for that unit are identified on the school’s progression document and this builds upon the vocabulary they have learnt in earlier years. The key vocabulary will be identified in the vocabulary on the children’s knowledge organisers.
Science assessment is based on teacher’s assessment of children. This is then reported on the school’s assessment document and the percentage of children working at, above and below the expected standard are identified. At the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 the results are submitted. At the end of a unit, teachers will identify if a child is working at the expected standard for that objective. This is then passed on to the next class teacher as a record of the child’s progress throughout the year. The subject leader, moderates science work against the exemplification document published.
Science provides excellent opportunities to enhance the learning of more able pupils through planning lines of enquiry, asking opened ended problems, analysing results and drawing conclusions based on scientific findings.
At St. Mary’s R.C. Primary School, we provide a variety of opportunities for science learning inside and outside the classroom. Learning outside of the classroom, especially in our “excursions”, is an essential part to learning science. It is essential children observe and immerse themselves in their local environment to apply their learning practically to real-life situations.
CPD will be offered to staff where needed, this may be a course to attend, an online CPD programme to take part in or the subject leader delivering training to the rest of the staff.
The standard of Science teaching and learning and the enrichment opportunities offered to the children at St. Mary’s is very high. Within Science, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing opportunities for children to question and investigate to discover answers for themselves and take their learning in a direction they are interested in.
Our Science curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before and after the unit is taught.
- Marking of written work in books.
- Using dialogue learning tasks to assess children’s understanding.
- Summative assessment of pupil discussions about their learning.
- Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.
- Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
- External moderation of children’s work at the end of each Key Stage.
- Formal reporting of standards at the end of each Key Stage.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum to parents.
The Science subject leader (Miss Kellett) will continually monitor the impact Science teaching is having on the children’s learning through book looks and pupil chats to ensure the progress of knowledge and skills is being taught. They will also ensure the knowledge taught is retained by the children and continually revisited and that the learners are able to apply the skills they have been taught to a variety of different settings, showing independence with their learning.
St Mary's Amazing Research & Teaching Labs
"Failure is not the end, it's just the starting point of our next endeavour."
"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Matthew 5: 3-5
At St. Mary's we love STEM and learning about God's wonderful world! Each classroom has their own dedicated science zone where the children are able to undertake their own independent investigations and research. Children may bring in their own objects and artefacts to share with their class.
Don't forget to check out this month's STEM Quiz at the bottom of this page.
We hold dedicated STEM events throughout the school year. Classes carry out investigations around the school and take part in demonstrations from visiting science teachers. We record our findings in a variety of ways and hold interactive science fairs for our school families to attend where the children re-create the experiments they have carried out and share their findings. We have a huge amount of fun and the children gain many skills including what to do when something fails because at St. Mary's we believe that failure is not the end, it's just the starting point of our next endeavour.
In class we hold STEM days to extend our learning and increase our understanding of the whole curriculum.
Terrific Teeth Day in Class 3
Using cutlery to investigate the Researching foods that help to
jobs of different teeth. defend teeth and those that attack them.
Investigating how well toothpaste protects our teeth. We left the eggs in different drinks for a week and observed the changes every day. Half of the eggs had toothpaste rubbed into them and half didn't. We were very surprised to find bumps and bulges all over the egg with no toothpaste which had been left in apple juice.
Sharing STEM with parents
Class 1 had a wonderful afternoon sharing lots of fantastic STEM learning with their parents.
The Bucket Challenge!
The children were tasked with the challenge of building a free standing tower, using only art straws and blu-tak. After it was built we suspended a bucket which was filled with sweets to test the strength of the construction. We tested each one to destruction!