Creating an interest in science and developing scientific skills is a fundamental objective for our school. We want children to enquire and learn through quality questioning and access to interesting and varied materials. We are committed to closing the gap for those vulnerable learners but also for those children who are achieving well in maths and English, yet falling short in science.
We want our children to be aware of the amazing opportunities and careers that science can offer/open up to them and to engender an aspirational environment for children to think and learn scientifically. Children will build on skills as they progress through the school with a growing enthusiasm to make sense of and explore the world around them. At Springfield we want children to move beyond being engaged in their science lessons to being invested in their own progress and development.
Research evidence shows that the more science capital a young person has, the more likely s/he is to aspire to continue with science post-16 and to see themselves as having a science identity. Our hope is that building science capital will have a positive effect on young people’s lives – not just in terms of encouraging more young people to continue into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs, but more importantly, we hope that building science capital is a tool for social justice, to help improve people’s lives and life chances.
At Springfield Academy we aim to develop children’s knowledge and confidence in Science. It is also imperative that children have the children have the opportunity to explore ideas, raise questions and work scientifically. One of the focus areas that we have are children who are potentially higher attaining but underachieving in science. Ofsted have identified this as an area of concern nationally. As a school we are working hard to close this gap.
Developing scientific questioning is the cornerstone of an enquiring mind actively learning. We encourage child to ask high level questions, using scientific language to both ask and answer. Giving our pupils the interest to explore what has gone before and the confidence to challenge and improve existing ideas in the future.
Building on a child’s Science capital will in turn lend value to their overall cultural capital- links between science and Maths are tangible yet we have seen from Key stage 2 reading papers that having the wider scientific knowledge has also carries a key benefit ( The way of the Dodo- Reading paper 2016- link to Evolution – year 6 science curriculum).
Every class has a timetabled opportunity for Science. Having been through the Enthuse process- the majority of Staff have received a programme of CPD over the course of a school year aimed at improving subject knowledge and confidence in the teaching of science. Science progression has been mapped and linked to the appropriate maths skills for each year group. Expectations around practical activities, data collection and analysis have been set for each year group.
Each stage has displayed objectives for working scientifically.
In EYFS Activities are open ended, explorative and child led. Children take a risk and are encouraged to test their ideas and think critically. It is here that they begin to make sense of the world around them.
In key Stage1, children experience different types of scientific enquiry, perform simple tests, using equipment to gather data. By the end of this key stage they will have begun to use simple scientific language, record and communicate their findings in a range of ways.
Key Stage 2, children build upon previous work and the progression of skills is continued. The foundations that have been laid from Key Stage 1 enables children to transfer these skills and build upon the scientific knowledge and concepts explored earlier in school. Knowledge checkers ensure that facts are revisited and that lessons are not knowledge rich- not simply engaging.
By the end of key stage 2, children are expected to use their scientific capital to foster the confidence to challenge concepts, recognise secondary sources and begin to separate opinion from fact.
As part of the planning process, all teachers must plan:
A knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including vocabulary) all children must master.
A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression and depth.
A low stakes quiz which is tested regularly to support learners’ ability to block learning and increase space in the working memory-Sticky knowledge.
Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning in a philosophical/open manner.
Trips and visits from experts who will enhance the learning experience.
All children, but especially those who are high attaining, would benefit from the following challenge approach:
· Opportunities to plan their own investigations
· Make their own choice on how to record/display work
· Use of success criteria – negotiated
· Children to choose their own level of work from a given selection
· Children ‘cut away’ during input – they don’t always need the introduction or plenary
· Self and peer assessment
· Publishing of own work – blog, personal class book etc.
· Self-initiated learning based on own interests.
· Taking different roles in the group
· ‘Hot questioning’ challenge questions as an extension to work – feedback to peers.
· Developing specific skills – particularly leadership
· Access to high quality or Novel and challenging resources.
Staff frequently monitor the attainment of children using the progression KPIs and use this to inform their teaching. Leaders support staff in delivering the curriculum through timely training and discussions. Leaders gather knowledge of how the curriculum is being taught through planning meetings, learning walks and pupil interviews where children can articulate and demonstrate the skills they have been taught. Regularly assessing what has worked well within a particularly area and what challenges have been faced, we are able to develop and adapt the curriculum so that Science can be delivered effectively for all children.