These are our agreed principles for Science, as formulated by children and staff:
- Teachers have the knowledge and resources they need.
- Children think carefully and actively seek to learn more. They have the words they need and the opportunities to practise, review and connect to prior learning.
- Lessons are practical with moments of wonder and have a real purpose.
- Everyone is safe and having fun!
The Hill View Science curriculum in Years 1 to 6 uses the widely-respected Hamilton Trust as a start point, with adaptations as appropriate to resources, timing and cohort ability. This resource provides an ambitious level of challenge coupled with relevant links to other curriculum areas, and enquiries that are rooted in children’s everyday experience. In Early Years, Science – or Understanding the World – is planned from the Development Matters document.
Science is taught for a minimum of 2 hours per week across KS1 and KS2 timetables.
Lessons follow the philosophy of the ‘Thinking, Doing, Talking Science’ approach developed by Science Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, and now nationally recognised to raise attainment. This entails a good balance of thinking, discussion and practical activity time, with a spotlight on working scientifically skills and focussed assessment.
The knowledge and understanding of concepts is aided by a school-wide program that prioritises key vocabulary in each topic and year group. These words are regularly reviewed and practised both outside the topic and science lesson time. There is also a system of pre-teaching this vocabulary in small groups to enable every child to fully access the learning.
The children are encouraged to risk assess any practical activity, indoors or outdoors, before engaging. Safety is stressed as being paramount, particularly in topics such as electricity, forces and field work. The importance of a healthy lifestyle is a constant theme of each unit studying humans and other animals.
Through carefully planned demonstrations, activities that challenge the children’s creativity and teamwork, regular assemblies, trips, visitors, after-school clubs and our annual STEM Fair, Science at Hill View is about inspiring and maintaining curiosity through enjoyment, while ensuring that each child has the core knowledge and skills they need to progress!
All staff receive regular needs-based CPD in Science, guided by self-assessment questionnaires. This can be an in-house workshop, an external training day or an online learning opportunity.
Resources are regularly audited by the science leader and updated as necessary. The physical equipment is kept tidily in a central area accessible to all, while electronic resources are stored in a common folder on the school network.
Staff are knowledgeable, well-prepared, confident and able to stretch the curriculum when needed. All Science teaching is a minimum of good. Children attain in Science to a level at least as good as that nationally, with no disparity between the genders. Pupil Premium and SEND children make good progress in Science, often seeing it as a subject they can excel in.
Children are curious, engaged and motivated to learn. They are used to being given time to think and share their ideas, safe in the knowledge that making mistakes is all part of the scientific process! They are beginning to an extensive mental bank of technical vocabulary which they can use to talk about challenging concepts. Their working scientifically skills progress well in small cumulative steps across the key stage. At the same time as being adventurous, they are safety-conscious. They know how science as a subject applies to their everyday lives, and, through their years at Hill View, develop extensive science capital.