At St John’s we nurture the children’s curiosity about the world, inspiring them with a curriculum that is rich with practical experiences and moments of awe and wonder. We strive to capture their interest through a range of teaching approaches which foster a love of discovery, a thirst for knowledge and an eagerness and confidence to share their learning with others.
We aim to help the children learn in a variety of practical ways using high quality resources. We carefully plan and teach sequences of lessons which allow children to gain an excellent understanding of the natural world and help them to retain key science knowledge, skills and vocabulary. We encourage and guide them to ask questions, plan ways to answer them, carry out investigations and present their findings confidently drawing upon their English and maths skills.
We aim to create a supportive environment where the children work together to investigate questions, research topics and discuss concepts: An environment where they feel comfortable expressing their views, testing out their understanding and making mistakes and learning from them. In lessons we value all contributions and encourage the children to learn from each other as well as their teacher.
We look for ways to ensure each child can succeed in their science journey and provide them with role models, experiences and challenges which allow them to see themselves as scientists.
The science curriculum is taught from the objectives in the National Curriculum 2014. Year group units (4 units in Key Stage 1, 5 units in Key Stage 2) from the National Curriculum 2014 are arranged across the year to fit in with the seasons and other learning. EYFS children explore scientific concepts through activities designed from objectives in the understanding the world area of learning and development.
Teachers deliver engaging lessons which are practical where possible and differentiated to allow all children the chance to succeed. The children use a range of good quality resources and scientific equipment to work scientifically and are expected to apply their reading, writing and mathematics skills to a good standard in their science work.
The skills needed for children to work scientifically are threaded through the curriculum. They are: conducting fair or comparative tests; researching using secondary sources; observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, grouping and classifying. These skills are taught explicitly to ensure children master them by the end of Key Stage 2. Three longer investigations that the children complete in each year group, related to that year’s units, allow children to experience a full investigation in which they plan, set up, observe, measure, record and conclude. These longer investigations are heavily scaffolded in Key Stage 1 and progressively allow the children greater control over planning, testing, concluding and evaluating as they move up through Key Stage 2.
The curriculum leader supports teachers in a number of ways to develop their subject knowledge, repertoire of skills and pedagogy. This happens informally during discussions and more formally through mentoring, coaching or feedback from book/planning scrutiny.
The science curriculum is enriched in a number of ways. The annual Science Day aims to inspire our children to be scientists and to engage them with fun, practical learning. The annual science competition challenges children to work in scientific ways and is often introduced by our link scientist Herr Kleinkopf. Teachers enrich the curriculum by using the school outdoor space for practical lessons (Y3 making soil profiles, Y1 investigating seasons) or by booking visits (Y5 QEGS Science Day).
Science is assessed by teachers through observing the children working scientifically, listening to their talk, scrutinising their work and having professional discussions with the science leader. Teachers use this knowledge to plan work that will meet the needs of the children and help them progress at a good rate.
The impact of the science curriculum is seen at its best when the children’s curiosity is sparked and this provokes a desire to take their learning to a greater depth. It is also evident in the way the children confidently share their knowledge with each other and teachers, using more scientific vocabulary with greater accuracy as they progress through school. The impact of well taught lessons can be seen in the children’s books where they apply their mathematical and literacy skills to analyse data from investigations they have carried out, explain their findings or evaluate the reliability of their investigation and results. When working scientifically, children see themselves as scientists and grasp the importance learning through careful observation and measurement. They also feel the excitement of discovery and gain a real satisfaction in understanding the wonders of the world around them.
The impact of the science curriculum is measured by teacher assessment, alongside pupil voice and work scrutiny to ensure the curriculum is being delivered to a high standard.