Science at St Benedict's C of E VA Junior School
At St Benedict’s VA C of E Junior School, we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught in Primary Schools, we give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it requires as a central part of every child’s experience of a broad and balanced curriculum. Science is given its own space within the school so that children understand its importance as part of their education.
Children come to science with a natural curiosity and enthusiasm that we aim to foster and grow as they gain understanding of the world. We provide exciting opportunities and WOW moments that engage the children by providing a sense of awe and wonder about our world 'Life in all its Fullness' (John 10:10). Through working scientifically, we aim to give them structure and method to explore and test their knowledge and understanding in experimental ways. We encourage and teach respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provide opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence.
Children are taught science weekly, using various programmes of study and resources that progressively build skills and knowledge during their time at St Benedict’s. We aim to enthuse them about science, providing exciting opportunities that enrich our curriculum such as Science focus weeks and competitions, visitors and workshops in school, educational visits linked to the science curriculum.
We endeavour to ensure that the Science curriculum we provide will give children the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their skills into the next stage of their education and life experiences.
Teachers create a positive and enthusiastic attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science.
At St Benedict’s we follow the National Curriculum 2014 enabling children to:
- 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;
- Be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future.
- Develop the essential scientific enquiry skills to deepen their scientific knowledge.
- Use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including I.C.T., diagrams, graphs and charts.
- Develop a respect for the materials and equipment they handle with regard to their own, and other children’s safety.
- Develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery.
Science teaching at St Benedict’s is carefully planned by individual teachers, with the needs of their class taken into account, using the ASE PLAN Matrices for knowledge https://www.planassessment.com/plan-knowledge-matrices-teacher Broadly, science teaching is linked to class topics giving the children context and relevance. Planning involves teachers using a range of resources to create engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid the understanding of conceptual knowledge through working scientifically.
In science lessons, 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 within the classroom. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and provide further opportunities for gaps in knowledge to be filled.
We build upon the learning and skill development year by year according to our skills progression. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, 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.
Working Scientifically skills are embedded into every lesson to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching.
Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning, workshops with experts and external visits with scientific focus.
Opportunities are provided to ensure the transfer between Ks1 and Ks2 and Ks2 and Ks3 are fully supported and that children are ready for the next step.
The successful approach at St Benedict’s results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations 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.
Assessment of science is both formative and summative. Prior knowledge is assessed using a range of elicitation tasks at the start of a unit of work that are revisited at the end. Children’s progress in the skills of working scientifically is assessed year-on-year and across the key stages using Bath Spa TAPS focused assessment tasks linked to each unit of work. Much of science understanding is elicited and assessed through discussion in class and with individual pupils. Children are also encouraged to self-assess their progress.
The children work in dedicated science books and lesson activities and discussions are recorded in Science Floor Books. Content and coverage are reviewed by book scrutiny and learning walks. There is staff meeting time dedicated to training and moderation. Pupil voice is used to further develop the Science curriculum, through questionnaires that enquire about pupil views and attitudes.
As they move on to KS3 children will have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. They will be equipped with the skills they need for the next stage of their education and many will be looking to the possibilities for careers in science.