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
At Riverside Primary School, we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. Through our creative curriculum design and high quality teaching of Science, we aim to give all children a strong understanding of the world around them and enable them to become enquiry based learners. We help them to think scientifically, understand scientific processes and the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future. Through their learning experiences, pupils develop and use a range of working scientifically skills including questioning, investigating and observing. We enable children to foster a sense of excitement and healthy curiosity about natural phenomena. We are committed to providing all children with a broad and balanced Science curriculum that is delivered in a stimulating, engaging and challenging learning environment.
At Riverside Primary, our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of Science ensures that we implement a progressive curriculum that builds on prior knowledge and skills year on year. Where possible, our Science curriculum is linked to our half-termly class topics to achieve a greater depth of knowledge and maximise richer learning experiences. Our approach involves the following:
- Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic. Children are asked what they already know and what they would like to find out. This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and that it also takes into account pupil voice. This supports teachers to incorporate children’s interests into the teaching and learning of Science.
- Through our planning, teachers are able to create engaging lessons; use high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge; use precise questioning to test conceptual knowledge and assess pupils regularly to identify gaps in learning.
- Each unit of work includes a strong focus on the skills of scientific enquiry through an investigative and exploratory approach, making learning memorable.
- Science is taught as a stand-alone subject but suitable cross-curricular links are made where appropriate throughout the academic year, including English and Maths.
- Scientific vocabulary is specifically taught and revised throughout each unit. Classroom displays are used effectively to secure key vocabulary.
- A variety of learning opportunities are used to deliver our curriculum and teachers are encouraged to make learning in Science as hands on and creative as possible. This includes opportunities to attend off-site Science activities or in-school activities such as having Science specialist visitors, workshops and whole school Science weeks.
- Regular events such as Science Week and Healthy Living Day allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide a broader provision and application of knowledge and skills.
- At the end of each topic, key knowledge is reviewed and consolidated as necessary. Children complete an assessment to inform teachers of what they have learnt and what they have enjoyed.
- Links with the Riverside Secondary School science department and subject leader, including the use of labs, equipment and specialist expertise.
Currently, formative assessment is mainly used to assess the impact of Science at Riverside Primary School as it allows for misconceptions and gaps to be addressed earlier. This helps us prevent the build-up of insecure scientific foundations. Assessment is teacher based and formed using a range of informal strategies:
- Children’s contributions to class discussions
- Verbal and written outcomes from learning
- Initial and final assessment of learning sheets
- Observation and targeted questioning of pupils working scientifically
- End of unit investigations set up and led by children
- End of unit quizzes
Teacher judgements are formed as to whether pupils are emerging, expected or exceeding for their conceptual understanding and knowledge and their working scientifically skills. As part of monitoring carried out by the Science lead, pupils are interviewed to moderate teacher based assessments. This is also supported by the scrutiny of pupils’ books, lesson observations and environment checks to ensure that there is correct delivery of the curriculum and to highlight areas for improvement.
The successful approach at Riverside Primary results in an exciting, engaging and high-quality Science curriculum that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local borough (Barking and Dagenham) ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children understand how Science has changed our lives and that it is essential for the future. Children are exposed to the possibilities for the careers in Science as a result of our community and national links including the STEM association. Children at Riverside Primary enjoy Science and are motivated learners with a sound scientific understanding.