Science at HNPS
Academic excellence and intellectual curiosity for all
At HNPS, we believe in intellectual curiosity and academic excellence for all. As this is one of our core values, science holds a special place within the school. Children are given a firm foundation in key concepts to leave primary school with a wealth of knowledge. Children are then encouraged to explore scientific theories through practical means in order to hone the skills and behaviours needed by scientists in the real world. By the end of KS2 children have learnt about:
- Animals including Humans
- Living things and their habitats
- Evolution and inheritance
- Everyday materials
- States of matter
- Changes and properties of materials
- Seasonal changes
- Forces and magnets
- Earth and Space
They understand that the history of science is a history of trial-and-error, and that what we accept as fact now may not always be so. Children learn about topics from physics, biology and chemistry strands, as well as being encouraged to develop their problem solving skills, their resilience, their questioning, and their confidence to disagree with each other and their adults in a positive manner.
In our science curriculum, children will encounter scientists from history who look and speak like them. The likes of Mary Anning, Mae Jemison, Walter Hawkins and Dong Zhiming allow our children to see how diverse the scientific community truly is. They will leave school secure in the knowledge that they, too, are capable of changing the world for the better.
Our practice is, first and foremost, based on inclusivity. From Reception to Year 6, children are engaged in enquiry based tasks with high expectations and effective scaffolding to ensure all children achieve academic excellence.
In Key Stage 1, teachers and support staff use Tapestry and science books to record and share children’s learning. As they progress through Key Stage 2, written recording of experiments is introduced using a school enquiry format, developing a firm understanding of scientific methods. At all levels, children engage in lively discussions and debates about their work. Throughout, teachers are implementing the evidence-informed practice of ‘I do, We do, You do’ to ensure all children are accessing learning. This is a model of teaching which is also known as the ‘gradual release of responsibility’ model. It enables our pupils to learn new knowledge through precise teaching, and gives them a chance to experiment with support before embarking upon independent enquiry.
Science is taught in line with national expectations and we have ensured that our curriculum incorporates woven strands of prior learning.
Every science lesson begins with an enquiry question that teachers use as a plenary tool to assess children’s learning. This is then followed up in a recap in the following lesson. This ensures that even all children with gaps are consistently exposed to and retaining key knowledge throughout the term. Children add new learning to their knowledge organisers at the end of each session that they will use for low stakes quizzes and recapping throughout the year.
The National Curriculum is specific about the ‘working scientifically’ skills which children should develop in each Key Stage, alongside their knowledge of scientific concepts. Throughout the year, topics have aspects of ‘working scientifically’ woven through them to ensure that our pedagogy is based in skills and practice as a route for proving knowledge.
The layout of our curriculum map has also been considered to complement our Outdoor Learning provision, with topics involving plants and animals often taking place in the summer so that these opportunities can be fully explored. We have an annual science focus week, in which children across the school will participate in gaining their Crest Science award. At least once a year, children will be taken on an educational visit directly linked to their science learning, for example Year 6 visiting the Old Operating Theater.
Outcomes on Tapestry and in science books evidence a broad and balanced science curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of key knowledge and skills. Every child will have learnt 7 chemistry concepts, 9 physics concepts and 16 biology concepts by the end of their primary education at HNPS. Children will be able to speak about at least 6 scientists who have made a difference to our understanding of the world. Regular monitoring ensures that learning is matching with our expected outcomes.
Our emphasis is on discursive thinking and questioning, which helps pupils to gain not only a strong foundation of knowledge, but also equips them for success across the board. Children learn to interrogate information with which they are presented, pay close attention to detail, present their conclusions confidently, and argue a point persuasively. This will be achieved through various workshops, educational visits and interactions with experts to allow children to understand how science has changed our lives and the career opportunities within the scientific field.
Biology Progression of Knowledge
Chemistry Progression of Knowledge
Physics Progression of Knowledge