Meet the Leader:
"It is important to view knowledge as a sort of a semantic tree - make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to."
The value of Science within our Curriculum
At Prestolee we believe every child should have the chance to explore, investigate and develop a continually evolving knowledge and understanding of our world today and for the future.
Science makes an increasing contribution to all aspects of life. Children are naturally fascinated by everything in the world around them and Science makes a valuable contribution to their understanding. By talking together children can be encouraged to explore and observe so that they can group objects and events and look for similarities and differences. They will need to measure and record the things they have found out in ways that make sense to them so that later they can talk to other people about what they have discovered. 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 lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question.
- learn scientific skills and knowledge.
- build on their natural curiosity and enable them to understand and care for the world in which they live.
- are provided with an environment where they can work in an investigative way and can communicate their findings in a variety of ways.
- Can use equipment safely and sensibly.
- develop the potential scientific links with all other areas of the curriculum.
- 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.
Prestolee aims to provide all children with the opportunities and resources to develop them as young Scientists. We achieve this by understanding what our school and children need to become better at Science, then select and plan our topics and lessons to support this ensuring progression throughout the school, with the appropriate level of challenge and support being provided to allow them to work scientifically in a more rigorous manner as they progress through school to ensure they are next stage ready at every stage.
At Prestolee we base our teaching on the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and this is particularly helpful with ensuring that there is continuity and progression. The National Curriculum document for Science sets out a clear, full and statutory requirement for all children. It determines the content of what will be taught, and sets attainment targets for learning. The programmes of study set out what should be taught at Key Stage 1 and 2 and The Foundation Stage programmes of study for Understanding of the World are set out in the EYFS. The programmes of study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content. We use the National Curriculum Programmes of Study as a baseline. We want our pupils to use and apply Science knowledge across the curriculum by combining STEAM subjects where possible to enhance our pupils learning experiences and application of knowledge. Therefore our curriculum goes beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum for Science.
Within the EYFS, Science is integral to the Early Learning Goal of Understanding the World. Through Carefully planned lessons and resourced provision, the Early Year Curriculum develops the foundations of what it means to be a scientist. Activities are carefully planned to meet the Early Learning Goals and develop characteristics of effective learning which underpin all of the skills and knowledge needed to ensure our pupils are next stage ready.
Early Learning Goals
The Natural World Children:
- Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants;
- Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
- Understand the effect of the changing seasons on the natural world around them.
Within key stage 1, we ensure that our expectations enable all pupils to establish and begin to develop the key skills, knowledge and principals of working as a Scientist and the content outlined in the National Curriculum. Developing on the outcomes achieved by the EYFS, the children extend their knowledge of seasons and use their observation skills and experiences to date to embark on their journey as young scientists. In Key Stage one there is a stronger emphasis on the teaching of knowledge and vocabulary.
The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They are helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences with the additional use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos to deepen pupils’ knowledge.
The curriculum enables pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out. At upper key stage 2, they encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. Pupils draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.
At Prestolee the teaching and development of SMSC and British Values is not a separate subject that is taught explicitly but an aspect of learning that should be present throughout the school in both its lessons and the behaviour from everyone in and around school.
At our school an important outcome is for all pupils to develop as young scientists and we achieve this by recognising and planning for what becoming better at Science entails – progression - and consequently challenging and supporting our pupils to work scientifically in a more rigorous manner as they progress through the school. To enable this to happen we have established an outcomes driven curriculum which recognises the crucial importance of identifying what we want our pupils to know and do in Science at every stage.
Our aim is to ensure all of our children meet at least age related expectations in Science and they are next stage ready at every level. We want our pupils to be naturally fascinated by everything in the world around them and to understand that Science makes a valuable contribution to their understanding of the world in which they live.