Science at Bolton
Subject Lead: Heather Lowthian (Since September 2019)
Monitoring Governor: Kaya Balmer (Since September 2021)
Science teaching at Bolton Primary School aims to give all children a strong understanding of the world around them. They acquire key scientific skills and knowledge to help them gain an understanding of scientific processes and also an understanding of the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future. At Bolton Primary School, scientific enquiry skills are embedded into each topic the children study and these topics are revisited and developed throughout their time at school. Topics, such as ‘Plants’, are taught in Key Stage One and studied again in further detail throughout Key Stage Two. This model allows children to build upon their prior knowledge and increases their enthusiasm for the topics whilst embedding this procedural knowledge into the long-term memory. Some topics are also taught earlier in the curriculum than the National Curriculum suggests for both safety reasons e.g. being safe with electricity in EYFS/KS1 or to allow progression/embedding throughout their time at the school. Science ‘rules’ such as drawing diagrams in pencil are embedded from the start of school. Children are aware of how science is relevant to their everyday life and use their scientific knowledge to make informed decisions in it e.g. which shoes to wear when it is icy and why. They are also made aware of different job opportunities in the science sector and these are discussed during each science topic. Children begin to understand if a topic forms part of physics, biology or chemistry and start to develop opinions on which area(s) they prefer and why. An excitement for science at secondary school is encouraged in Year 5 and 6 pupils.
Science at Bolton Primary is planned and delivered by a Science specialist teacher who worked as a scientist before becoming a teacher. The teacher’s subject knowledge allows children’s questions to be explored thoroughly. As the same teacher teaches the children from Reception to Year 6, the teacher can effectively plan for progression throughout each child’s time at school. The teacher gets to know each child very well and is able to adapt their teaching to each child’s specific needs.
The National Curriculum is organised into topics and is planned to ensure progression throughout the school. A two-year plan is followed. Activities are planned for EYFS by the science specialist teacher, linked to the topic that KS1 are doing, but delivered by an EYFS specialist. Each time the topic is taught, the pupils recap what they learnt last time they covered the topic, build on that knowledge through new learning and think about what they would like to know next. At the start of the topic, low-key assessments/quizzes are conducted to assess what the children have remembered. To help children to remember what they learn, interesting lessons are planned including visits off-site and through inviting people into school. High-quality resources are used to engage interest and all learning styles are catered for. Lessons are practical where possible and there is a sense of fun in the classroom. If a child asks an interesting question, the direction of the lesson may be changed to explore it. Children have a sense of ownership over lessons and curiosity is encouraged. Knowledge organisers are stuck into books at the start of each topic which outlines the knowledge (including vocabulary) all children must master and enables pupils to read up on the topic at home or plan family days out. Each lesson, the previous lesson is quickly recapped focusing on key facts. Fun quizzes help pupils to recap and remember key information.
Throughout each topic, the teacher models and assesses the children’s scientific enquiry skills, keeping notes where needed. A ‘test investigation’ may be conducted to further assess the children’s investigative skills. The teacher At the end of each topic, a knowledge-based assessment is carried out. The assessment may be written by the teacher or a standardised test may be used resulting in a standardised score. Any gaps in knowledge/skills are addressed when discussing the tests with the pupils and, if necessary, future planning is amended accordingly.
The successful approach at Bolton Primary School results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity and health. Children learn about the possibilities for careers in science and many express a desire to follow this route. Children at our school overwhelmingly enjoy science and this results in motivated learners with a sound scientific understanding. Results at the end of Key Stage 2 are excellent. Pupils are well-prepared for secondary school and usually excel in the subject in Year 7.
Please see our Science at Bolton document below for more information, including our policy, progression of skills and long term plans.