Our vision for science at St. Joseph’s is to promote the development of children’s natural curiosity about the world around them and to foster an appreciation of the importance of science so that they will develop an understanding of that world. We seek to promote and develop a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and balance of God’s world. Children will develop their scientific learning through inspirational and engaging hands-on lessons that relate to the world they know beyond the classroom. Children will question and use the full range of enquiry skills to plan, complete and analyse their own investigations and will consider excelling at science an attainable goal.
Beginning in the Early Years Foundation Stage, much of the knowledge content of the curriculum will be taught through the ‘Working scientifically’ strand, which specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group. During Foundation and Key Stage 1 children will be encouraged to ask questions and seek to answer these questions independently. They will question why things happen during practical activities, as they use their senses. They will notice similarities and differences and begin to use science words as they talk about their ideas. They will use equipment and tools safely as they begin to test their ideas and will begin to record data using pictorial methods.
During Year 3 and 4, children are taught the skills needed to complete ‘child-led’ investigation. These types of scientific enquiry include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations) and researching using secondary sources. Through these investigations, children should seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data. By Year 5 and 6 children will be able to decide independently which scientific enquiry they will carry out. They will independently and collaboratively plan investigations, select equipment and report and present findings using speaking, writing, displays and presentations.
Children’s learning is enhanced through opportunities to further inspire their scientific development through our Science Fairs, school visitors and visits, such as Winchester Science Museum and the Planetarium and making learning memorable, such as Space Camp. We work closely with our Christchurch cluster schools sharing best practice and science events. We have also been part of projects with BAE systems to promote science. Our latest project to promote science is creating our Phizz Lab! We can't wait to start learning in there ...
Planning for science is a process in which all teaching staff are involved. Delivering a broad and balanced science education to our children is a core principle of our school. The EYFS framework is structured very differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. Science will be delivered through the areas of Physical Development, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design throughout the year.
In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 science is taught through carefully planned units every half term throughout the school year. These units are progressive so the school ensures that a broad and balanced science curriculum is followed in which progressive enquiry is at the heart of our children’s scientific learning.
Children with special educational needs are involved in all activities at their appropriate level and all work is planned so that all children will reach their full potential. Termly plans show how the activities have been adapted or extended for children of different abilities. Gifted pupils are identified through class assessment. All teachers work on engaging practical activities with a high order of challenge in order for them to be able to master their subject knowledge.
Knowledge and understanding is assessed by class teachers during each unit in order to enable accurate planning to move their learning forward. Children are assessed on their ‘working scientifically skills’ and on ‘I can’ statements specific to each unit. Many opportunities are provided throughout a unit of learning for the teachers to observe children’s knowledge such as through questioning, listening to group discussion, observing presentations and through the written work produced. Interventions may take place at any point during the unit of work as the teacher deems necessary.
Children are involved in the process of self-improvement, recognising their achievements and acknowledging where they could improve. Progress and attainment is tracked against each unit and across the year against ‘learning scientifically’ criteria. Continuous assessment of children’s work, much of which is informal is used to inform teaching throughout the school.
During their time at St Joseph’s we aim for all children to develop a love for science and a sense of wonder and amazement for the world in which they live. Science is in everything we do and all around us. We hope to plant the seeds for our future scientists.
We are delighted to be partnered with The Ogden Trust, which supports primary and secondary schools in promoting physics teaching and learning. We are the main hub school for the Christchurch Partnership.