Science at Arnside National C of E School
Why is it important for children to learn about science?
National curriculum in England: science programmes of study, state the following;
Purpose of study
"A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes."
The 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 knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future"
National curriculum in England: science programmes of study - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
At Arnside National C of E school, science teaching aims to increases pupils' understanding of the natural and physical world around them. It also enables them to develop subject specific vocabulary, skills and knowledge to help them think scientifically. Our curriculum ensures that pupils gain an understanding of science processes, its uses, and its implications for today and for the future.
The science National Curriculum identifies three key areas in which the children should be taught: knowledge and understanding; working scientifically and the application of science.
Our school has a carefully mapped science curriculum that ensures children, from nursery to year 6, cover these three aims in an accessible, creative and engaging way. We believe that children learn science best by doing and seeing; by providing the children with a range of opportunities to actively carry out different types of scientific enquiries, we ensure that working scientifically and application of knowledge is embedded into the heart of our science curriculum.
Our school endeavours to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to enjoy and make progress in science. In addition, the wider curriculum provides many opportunities to apply and deepen children’s understanding of science. We aim for all pupils to become, 'scientifically literate' citizens and to inspire future scientists.
The science curriculum follows the year-by-year progression of knowledge and skills as set out in the National Curriculum. In Nursery to year 2 a two-year rolling programme is followed and in year 3 to year 5 a three-year rolling programme is followed. This is to ensure full coverage of the curriculum. In year 6, the year 6 National Curriculum content is covered. Children in the EYFS are taught science as part of their continuous provision and through adult led activities.
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. We believe that for children to become scientists, they not only need knowledge, but also the skills to work scientifically and opportunities for skills and knowledge to be applied. The science subject coordinator and teaching staff have developed a curriculum plan that uses the Primary Assessment Network (PLAN) matrices. This provides clear guidance to all teaching staff on the progression and application of skills and knowledge expected for each topic, in each year group.
Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic using KWL charts, spider diagrams or thought showers, to ensure teaching is informed by the pupils starting points. Key vocabulary is identified for each science topic and it is expected that these keywords will be explored through teaching and be displayed on science working walls. Big questions and key ideas (and misconceptions) are included within the curriculum planning; these promote discussion, challenge thinking and ensure the full coverage of all five types of scientific enquiry. Teachers make good use of the resources available from Developing Experts and Explorify to enhance children's learning.
Children have the opportunity to develop their science capital through visitors to the school, school trips and special science learning days. The school takes part in national science events such as British Science Week, The Great Science Share and Earth Day. These special events provide for the broader provision and for the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community. We also make full use of our unique, rural setting; for example, we visit our local woodland, Ashmeadow, The Arnside Knott, ‘Eddies Land’, our Estuary, and local wildlife charities. Taking our learning outside complements the science curriculum and provides a real context for the children to apply their knowledge and skills. We are also close to Leighton Moss and Leighton Hall, both offering a wealth of outdoor learning opportunities. We continue to improve our school groups and develop a growing garden in school. Our Eco-Committee engages in environmental education and action.
Although the majority of the science teaching (y1-6) is taught as a discrete subject, there are opportunities for class teachers to promote and incorporate science across the wider curriculum. The implementation of this is monitored by the subject leader. Class teachers are given regular support to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to be able to do this.
Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the pupil’s education and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in keeping with the topics. Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increase, and 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. We include the use of technology, whenever appropriate, to aid teaching and enhance learning. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning or misconception so that all pupils can achieve in science.
By the time the children leave our school we want them to enjoy and value science and appreciate the range of skills it will provide them with. An essential part of the children becoming scientists is promoting curiosity and encouraging the children to ask questions. By the end of KS2, our expectation is that children will be able to develop their own questions, plan different types of enquiries to answer those questions and communicate their findings in a variety of ways.
Children will understand that part of science is failing and that problem solving helps us to overcome these failures. Children will have a clear understanding of how scientists both past and present have contributed to society's understanding of the world around them. They will understand the role that science and other STEM subjects play in solving some of the key problems facing the world, such as climate change. Pupils are provided with a range of opportunities to showcase and communicate their ideas, research and findings.
Teachers use a variety of assessment tools, including pre and post-learning unit tasks, pupil discussions about their learning and scrutiny of books by the subject leader and SLT to check for progress. Progress of our science curriculum is demonstrated through outcomes and the record of coverage in the process of achieving these outcomes. The use of PLAN assessment materials and attendance at South Lakeland area subject leader meetings supports teachers to ensure a robust and effective internal moderation process of the children’s work, can take place.
Please find below the Curriculum Map for Year A and B - Year C is currently under development and will be uploaded soon. In the meantime the PLAN Matrices show the content covered, these can be viewed alongside the Whole School Science Programme, which gives further details when content is covered.