St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School
Science Curriculum Statement
At St. Patrick’s, we encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at the school and beyond. The Science curriculum we have designed by our lead teacher fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living world. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Throughout the programmes of study, the children will acquire and develop the key knowledge that has been identified within each unit and across each year group. The key knowledge identified by each year group is informed by the national curriculum and builds towards identified phase ‘end points’ in accordance with NC expectations. Key skills are also mapped for each year group and are progressive throughout the school. This ensures systematic progression to identified skills and end points which are in accordance with the Working Scientifically skills expectations of the national curriculum. The curriculum is designed to ensure that children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences; using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. The school’s approach to science takes into account of the school’s own context, ensuring access to people with specialist expertise and places of scientific interest as part of the school’s commitment to learning outside the classroom. Cross curricular opportunities are also identified, mapped and planned to ensure contextual relevance. Children are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings and develop a love of science. This is nurtured through a whole school ethos and a varied science curriculum.
The 2014 national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
● develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
● develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
● are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;
- In St. Patricks, our Early Years team are committed to delivering the necessary skills needed to embark on their scientific journey throughout school. The team refers to the Understanding the World strand of development matters to encourage children to seek out and explore the world and immediate environments they interact with daily. Our foundation stage has an inspiring outdoor area which is used daily allowing children to look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.
- Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher and the subject lead. Prior knowledge and recall is carefully planned as a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge. During each topic, key knowledge is reviewed by the children and rigorously checked by the teacher and consolidated as necessary.
- Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic through our pre-designed recall tasks. This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points.
- Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to apply their knowledge, and find out answers for themselves.
- Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and are given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated, especially when we invite those from the scientific community into school.
- Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources and texts to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. The topic planning is in depth to ensure staff are fully equipped with lesson plans, questioning and objectives. Due to careful planning staff understand children’s prior knowledge from previous topics and year groups. This helps us to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
- Regular events, such as Science Week or projects, such as Bird Watching Week, allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
- We encourage the vocational aspects of science through our links with the STEM community. Pupils at KS2 are offered to work alongside STEM ambassadors in the community to give them an insight of how scientist work in this ever changing world.
We consciously offer opportunities to inform and teach the children about changes in the scientific world. We use picture news, global goals and directed lessons to ensure our children understand their place in the wider world.
- We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
- Working Scientifically, skills are embedded into lessons to ensure that skills are systematically developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
- Effective modelling ensures children use scientific equipment correctly and confidently. This helps to embed working scientific skills. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing our school environment, local environment and visits.
- We use assessment to inform and develop our teaching, continuously. Pupils’ work is informally assessed during lessons through verbal feedback and marking. Science is an objective led curriculum and children are assessed against the National Curriculum objectives. We use topic trackers, peer to peer feedback and independent self assessment. Children should be aware of how to improve their scientific skills, as well as their achievements.
The successful approach at St. Patrick’s School results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first-hand experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside and inside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links and connections with scientists. They learn from and work with professionals, ensuring access to positive role models within the field of science from the immediate and wider local community. From this exposure to a range of different scientists from various backgrounds, all children feel they are scientists and capable of achieving. Children at our school overwhelmingly enjoy science and this results in motivated learners with sound scientific understanding. The school’s science provision is recognised by the achievement of the nationally recognised ‘Primary Science Quality Mark’, in 2017. The second achievement is due to be completed in 2022.