Our curriculum is informed by, but not limited to the PlanIt scheme and the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all pupils 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 skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this
At Town Farm, we encourage pupils to be inquisitive throughout their time at the school and beyond. The science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in pupils about our universe and promotes respect for living and non-living things.
We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Throughout the programmes of study, the pupils work towards the key knowledge that has been identified within each unit and across each year group. This knowledge is informed by the national curriculum and builds towards identified key stage end points in accordance with NC expectations. Key skills are also mapped for each year group and are progressive throughout the school. These too ensure systematic progression to identified skills end points which are in accordance with the Working Scientifically skills expectations of the national curriculum.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters’ guidance which aims for all pupils in reception to have an Understanding of the World by the end of the EYFS.
The curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences: using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. The school’s approach to science takes account of the school’s own context, ensuring access to people with specialist expertise and places of scientific interest as part of the school’s commitment to learning outside the classroom. Cross curricular opportunities are also identified and planned to ensure contextual relevance. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings and a love of science is nurtured through a whole school ethos and a varied science curriculum.
We recognise we have a high level of pupils with speech, language and communication needs so we ensure that we teach scientific vocabulary explicitly.
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following:
Science is taught in a subject-based approach. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
Through planning, teachers identify problem solving opportunities that allow pupils to apply their knowledge and find out answers for themselves. Pupils are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess pupils regularly to identify those pupils with gaps in learning, so that all pupils keep up. Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
Within all lessons, teachers plan a phase of progressive questioning which extends to and promotes the higher order thinking of all learners. Questions initially focus on the recall or retrieval of knowledge. Questions then extend to promote application of the knowledge in a new situation and are designed to promote analytical thinking, such as examining something specific. In design and technology, an example of this level of questioning might ask pupils to consider how a mechanical system (such as gears and pulleys) might speed up, slow down or change the direction of movement. The questions that teachers ask within the same lesson phase, then focus on the pupils’ own work and how they might change or create an outcome and justify a choice they have made which is based on their evaluation.
Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure that skills are systematically developed throughout the pupils’ 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 pupils’ understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
Pupils are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
Regular events, such as Science Week provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
At the end of each topic, key knowledge is reviewed by the pupils, assessed by the teacher and consolidated as necessary.
Knowledge Organisers support pupils’ understanding of subject specific language, remind them of previous knowledge and provide visual and summative information on key knowledge to be learned. They support pupils in engaging in independent tasks. These are used as a reference point as needed.
The successful approach at Town Farm results in an engaging, high-quality science education that provides pupils with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that pupils learn through varied and practical experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts and local charities, pupils have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Pupils learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links and connection with national agencies including the Science and Technologies Facilities Council. They learn from and work with professionals, ensuring access to positive role models within the field of science from the immediate and wider local community.