The Intent, Implementation and Impact of Science at Victoria School
Victoria School’s intent for the teaching of Science is to support both a depth of scientific understanding and skill development, whilst igniting the natural curiosity of our pupils to the world around us. Our aim is for pupils have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Our science curriculum allows all pupils to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to help them think like a scientist, develop an understanding of scientific processes, and to understand the uses and implications of science today and for the future. We enable all pupils to feel they are scientists and capable of achieving.
Victoria School recognises that although factual science knowledge is important, what is truly crucial is the development of Working Scientifically and enquiry skills. These skills are what allow scientists to be creative, solve problems and see fundamental links between science phenomena.
This approach to teaching science promotes security, mastery and depth of learning.
Science at Victoria School is taught in line with Development Matters Guidance and the National Curriculum, but more specifically is taught using Developing Experts.
Science is taught weekly in topic blocks and has a project-based approach centred around a ‘big question’. Where appropriate, this question is linked to the class Power of Reading book, meaning the science teaching allows for contextual, cross-curricular learning in tandem with English and Maths. Every science topic includes one piece of independent writing (identified in science books on yellow paper) and one piece of mathematical problem solving (identified on blue paper).
Teachers at Victoria School build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the pupils’ knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
Before the pupils explore the science topic, they are exposed to an exciting stimulus to hook them into it. Pupils then complete a Diagnostic Test which enables teachers to identify their gaps in learning and misconceptions. Pupils also complete a KWL grid stating what they know, wonder and have learnt. At the end of the science topic, pupils complete an End of Topic Test. These strategies combined enable teachers to plan science lessons to meet the needs and interests of the pupils and provide a measure of pupil progress.
All science lessons are dual focussed. Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the pupils’ school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
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.
Teachers use regular quizzes and summative assessments to assess pupils’ depth of understanding. The STEM Learning Solutions Assessment Board supports teachers in making accurate assessment of pupils’ Working Scientifically skills. These measures combined allow for performance to be tracked across topics and Key Stages to show the pupil’s progress over time.
Regular events, such as Science Week or project days, allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
Victoria School places extremely high value on the Science Capital of our pupils. We recognise that the higher the science capital, the more likely our children are to aspire to a science related career which is vitally important in school with a high percentage of disadvantaged pupils and in a community with STEM at its backbone.
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. Victoria School has developed strong sustained links with local STEM ambassadors and companies who are regularly invited into school to work with pupils. We have formed a partnership with Energy Coast UTC and Ogden Trust to develop STEM opportunities for our pupils and provide high quality CPD for teachers.
Victoria School has been officially recognised by STEM Learning UK for its efforts to establish links with local STEM ambassadors in its mission to ignite children’s natural curiosity and raise the aspirations of pupils to believe they can achieve whatever they set out to.
Victoria School has a consistent, well-constructed and well-taught Science curriculum that all builds towards a clearly defined end point, so that pupils are always being prepared for the next stage of their education. Pupils develop fluency in Science, depth of understanding and apply their knowledge as skills.
The impact is for all pupils to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to become young scientists.
Victoria School’s Science Curriculum ensures:
- EYFS pupils are KS1 ready by the time they leave the Early Years: Nursery and Reception years prepare the children for KS1. Children have explored the three strands of Understanding the World: Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World to prepare them for more formal learning in Year 1.
- Assessment in KS1 and KS2 is used to support next steps: It focusses on depth of understanding, not just superficial knowledge recall. Our assessment criteria are matched against year group expectations and is used for next steps in the classroom, with pupils, to support their progression and develop them as independent learners.
- Pupils are secondary ready by the end of Year 6: Criteria from the primary National Curriculum are matched to year group equivalence.
- Working scientifically is developed effectively through progressive skill steps so that year group expectations are reached. These steps are clear and easy to use within a dual objective approach.
- Science knowledge, terminology and concepts are assessed effectively and simply so that a pupil’s ability ‘falls out’ of a lesson to support clear assessment and enable progress to be tracked between topics over time. Assessment is simple and focusses on depth of understanding, not just superficial knowledge recall.
- English and Maths are developed in tandem through common criteria matched to year group expectation. Developing cross-curriculum blended learning is vital for problem solving skills necessary for STEM approaches.
- Our broad, rich Science curriculum ensures all pupils, including disadvantaged and SEND acquire the knowledge and Science capital they need to be ready for the next Key Stage and to ultimately succeed in the STEM based community that drives West Cumbria.