Science Vision Statement
At St. Francis, our vision is to give children a science curriculum which enables them to discover and gain a deeper understanding of God’s world around them. Science underpins our understanding of our world; we recognise that children are naturally inquisitive and we aim to provide a stimulating and enjoyable science curriculum that nurtures children’s curiosity through hands-on and practical investigations, in addition to thorough and thought-provoking discussions. Through the teaching of essential knowledge, methods and processes, pupils understand rational explanation and ask questions about the natural world around them. Our Teaching Backwards approach ensures that prior knowledge and misconceptions are assessed at the start of each unit, to allow teachers to plan high quality science lessons with a specific focus on addressing and overcoming misunderstandings. The teaching of science at St. Francis is further enriched through interweaving with historical and geographical based topics where appropriate. In addition, the teaching of science will promote and develop transferable skills such as observation, communication and teamwork, as well as opportunities to apply mathematical skills.
We intend for children to:
- develop scientific knowledge and a conceptual understanding in fundamental areas of biology, chemistry and physics
- become increasingly autonomous at Working Scientifically
- become resilient and confident in conducting experiments, equipped with fundamental scientific skills
- gain an awareness of the uses, implications and possibilities of science, today and for the future.
Through combining teacher-led demonstrations with experiments that children can conduct independently, we encourage children to become increasingly autonomous in their decision making and increasingly accurate in their collecting and analysing of data as they move through our school. We ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built on and developed throughout children’s time at St. Francis, so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.
At St. Francis, teachers create positive learning attitudes within the classroom, reinforcing a belief that all of our children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole-school approach to the teaching and learning of science is:
- A cycle of lessons through the Key Stages that repeat key learning aspects to aid retrieval and ensure essential knowledge ‘sticks’.
- Careful planning ensures there are ample opportunities for practical investigations, child-led questions and researching their own answers.
- Through creative, hands-on lessons, children are encouraged to find solutions themselves. This gives them an opportunity to try out their scientific skills.
Through careful questioning, teachers are able to assess children regularly to ensure essential conceptual knowledge has been understood, to address misconceptions and to identify children who may have gaps in their learning.
- Interleaving and lessons planned with retrieval starters/exit card plenaries ensures that the key conceptual knowledge is repeated and practiced for long-term memory.
- Previous year’s knowledge is built upon through revisiting key concepts at a timely pace. As the children’s own understanding and knowledge increases, their skills are further reinforced through cross-curricular teaching, especially mathematical skills.
- New and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching, which are further supported through the use of knowledge organisers. Essential key concepts are repeated further along the Key Stage to reinforce and aid long term memory.
- Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding.
- Extra-curricular activities such as residential trips, an after-school Science club, visits and visitors will be arranged to complement and broaden the curriculum.
- Science week and half term devoted to retrieval and challenge experiments
At St. Francis, our well-designed approach to the science curriculum results in a fun, engaging and high-quality science education that provides our children with the foundation and knowledge for understanding the world. Our curriculum is designed to allow children to revisit topics in each milestone, in order to ensure that a wide range of scientific concepts are not only covered, but also repeated to a progressively higher standard to enable progress, mastery and depth of learning.
Through regular teaching of science, by the end of Key Stage 2, children will be able to use different scientific equipment to measure with precision, set up a fair test independently and report and present their findings using relevant scientific vocabulary. Science lends itself to outdoor learning and we aim to provide children with opportunities to experience this. By engaging with the local environment, children learn through first hand experiences about the world around them. We teach our children the possibilities for careers in science through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts; this allows children to understand that science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through:
- Teacher assessment – questioning, practical tasks, tracking knowledge in pre and post learning quizzes, verbal and written feedback, big questions, POP tasks
- Discussions with pupils about their learning
- Support and guidance given to teachers to give them confidence in teaching science lessons
- Pupil and staff questionnaires
- Lesson observations
- Book looks
- Learning walks
At St Francis, our curriculum allows children to make connections in their knowledge, skills and understanding. In order for primary school children to operate as successful scientists, we intend to teach them a wide range of essential enquiry skills. These skills build upon earlier opportunities they have had to play, explore and engage in active in the Early Years Foundation Stage. We strive to ensure that children’s attainment is in line with or exceeding age-related expectations, so our children are fully prepared for their next stage of education.