At Northfields Infant & Nursery School we believe that science is inclusive and fosters curiosity in all pupils. We want pupils to experience and observe natural phenomena as well as look more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them. Through our science topics we encourage the children to develop their curiosity by encouraging them to ask questions about what they notice, express their opinions and make links with other areas of learning such as Geography and Maths. At Northfields we aim to teach scientific concepts through the use of first-hand practical experiences, as well as using some appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos to support pupils’ learning. The pupils have opportunities to develop their understanding of different scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions. These include observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, making links as well as grouping and classifying things.
At Northfields, the science curriculum consists of teaching the scientific areas of learning (e.g. plants, materials and animals). These are spread out over our 2 year curriculum cycle, ensuring progression is evident between Reception, Y1 and Y2. KS1 also conduct a yearlong study for example looking at seasonal changes which support their understanding of the world around them.
Each theme follows a logical progression of ideas allowing pupils to make effective links within an area of science as well as build links between concepts.
The teaching of science across Northfields has an underpinning focus on the working scientifically elements of scientific learning; looking to challenge the ideas of pupils and to encourage development as scientists across KS1.
Most lessons are enquiry based, providing pupils with authentic experiences, context and relevance for the key idea they have been learning. This allows pupils to make cross-curricular links and see how science relates to the world around them.
- Prior knowledge – making sure pupils are properly equipped for learning the new concept/idea.
- Teach – Learning the new concept/idea and seeing it in action (aiming to prove).
- Apply – Challenging pupils to question the idea and use the idea to solve a problem.
Our school has a clear focus on the development of speech and language and allowing children to make links and embed key scientific vocabulary. We use working walls, visual prompts and pre-teach some vocabulary to enable children to develop a deeper understanding and apply it in different contexts. This also supports children to make links and develop their speaking and listening skills as well as their writing across the curriculum.
At Northfields we:
- Assess pupils at the end of the unit to ensure a depth of understanding and knowledge of the scientific concept taught. In each lesson the adults will be continually assessing each pupils’ progress to ensure misconceptions are identified and resolved within the lesson.
- Pupil voice – are pupils happy, engaged, motivated to do well, challenged?
- Learning walks (including those with governors, Science link subject leader at The Grange Academy Junior School and external visitors) –do they show evidence of our intent in action?
- Planning – is it allowing pupils to gain knowledge and master scientific concepts, does it meet the needs of all learners? Is it following a geographical enquiry approach starting with a hook? Is their evidence that the pupils are working scientifically and progression across the key stage?
- Science Books – is presentation of a high standard and are all pupils making at least expected progress from their various starting points?
- Data – is attainment and progress at least in line with National averages, do all groups achieve as well as they should? What provisions are in place to support pupils who aren’t making progress?
- Learning environment – is it rich in language to support pupils’ learning, does it support independence?
- Class teachers and the SLT conduct termly pupil progress meetings where performance analysis is linked to triangulated monitoring, measuring performance against individual and school targets.