At St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, we follow to the aims set out in the National Curriculum to provide a wide-ranging and progressive Science curriculum that is within reach for all our pupils and provides a clear route of progression throughout the curriculum.
Our intention is to stimulate enthusiasm for science by creating engaging lessons and developing the children’s inquisitive nature. We want our children to be exposed to and recognise the achievements of science from history and the modern world. To discover our natural world by using exploration and providing opportunities for them to question and experience the world.
We acknowledge the importance of educating children as responsible, curious thinkers who can process new information (observations), reflect on it, think critically (question), and apply knowledge and skills to overcome challenges (communicate and evaluate) in our ever-changing world and in the classroom. Children are encouraged to think scientifically as they plan and carry out scientific experiments, through observing, questioning, communicating and evaluating evidence guided by our class teachers and teaching assistants. Our science curriculum aspires to promote an appreciation of how science is reflected around us and ensures that our children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required (akin to the national curriculum) to comprehend the uses and implications of science, in the past, today and for the future.
At St Thomas’s lessons are planned in conjunction with our progression skills map, which is designed with clear progression in mind and pupils’ individual needs ensure that all statutory requirements of the national curriculum are met and that there is clear progression and adaptation throughout the school allowing children to transition seamlessly through the stages of learning.
During staff meetings and professional discussions within our team, we have evaluated and implemented long and medium-term plans to ensure uniformity and evolution across the year groups. Our long-term plans set out the half-termly topics that will be covered in each class while our medium-term plans provide additional detail on each of the topics. Links are made, where appropriate, with other subjects and home-learning opportunities are promoted with our termly projects enabling for cross-curricular links to be made and shared with our wider school community.
Planning is sequential to ensure that the appropriate knowledge and skills are progressively taught. We teach lessons implementing key scientific vocabulary with the intention of children developing and using a rich scientific language. By ensuring that our progression map is adhered to the children have the best chance to retain key information to allow them access the next step of the topic being studied building on their prior knowledge.
Lessons are developed to be inclusive and adapted, allowing access for all abilities which we hope will develop a growth mind-set, promote collaborative teamwork and to develop St Thomas’s children’s ability to communicate effectively to share their observations, be confident in questioning concepts and are able to evaluate evidence from investigations that have been conducted. We encourage teachers to use their professional judgment and give them the freedom to plan with other resources for lessons as they see fit using the progression skills document which ensures that prior learning is built upon and re-visited (when necessary) as children study their topics and travel across year groups.
To further encourage a love of learning and scientific discovery, our teachers are encouraged to plan for educational visits outside of school and for visitors to come into the school for a variety of workshops and talks. We are fortunate that our school’s location is in the centre of London, which enable us to provide a significant and quality range of off-site learning opportunities. Yearly special events, such as science week, are also incorporated into our calendar giving the children yet more exposure to science within our world. Our links with Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and St Joseph’s Catholic primary have also enabled us to participate in joint science fairs and other co-educational opportunities where children have had a chance to share their scientific investigations, learning and ideas with a range of peers and professionals across KS1 – KS4.
Impacts are seen throughout the school and in our pupil’s passion and zeal when speaking about science, in their confidence to discuss previously learnt concepts and how they question and challenge scientific principles using the key vocabulary taught across the school in class. We see a growing confidence in teamwork and the development of skill and understanding in conducting experiments and investigations.
Through our planning and preparation, we aim that all children will make progress regardless of their entry position. Through quality and engaging teaching and our in-house due diligence, we aim to ensure pupils will have a secure and insightful understanding of the key scientific processes taught across the curriculum.
We assess the progress of the children and support teachers alike through consistent monitoring of their progress and skills through observations, book reviews and professional conversations. Our links with CVMS and St Joseph’s have also allowed us to develop chances to moderate between our schools to enhance our best practice. Obtaining the children’s perspectives is also valued, with time spent obtaining ‘pupil voice’ giving teachers an opportunity to assess the impact of their teaching.
Children are observed and evaluated against the skills and content in the national curriculum utilising formative and summative assessment. This ongoing assessment ensures children exceeding expectations are being extended and appropriate support for other needs can be planned for in future lessons. Open-ended assessments at the end of a topic allow for the children to express their learning and enables them to recall their prior learning without ‘exam’ constraints and provides a chance for teachers to see the retention of key information, vocabulary, and scientific thinking.