Science at Ovingham CE First School
At Ovingham CE First School, our children are scientists! Our intent is to give every child a broad and balanced Science curriculum which enables them to confidently explore and discover what is around them, so that they have a deeper understanding of the world we live in. We want our children to love science. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be astronauts, forensic scientists, toxicologists or microbiologists.
We have a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum which has been carefully designed and developed with the needs of every child at the centre of what we do. We want to equip our children with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the science National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. This intent is delivered with our Science Principles in mind, focusing on delivering quality science lessons that pupils will enjoy. These principles have been developed as part of the PSQM (Primary Science Quality Mark) work, which has successfully raised the profile of Science within our school.
We recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life; we encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at our school and beyond. The Science curriculum fosters a natural curiosity of the child, encourages respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provides opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence. We believe that science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concept, skills and positive attitudes.
The school science curriculum sets out what it means ‘to get better’ at science. Expertise in science requires pupils to build at least 2 forms, or categories, of knowledge. The first is ‘substantive’ knowledge, which is knowledge of the products of science, such as models, laws and theories. The second category is ‘disciplinary knowledge’, which is knowledge of the practices of science. This teaches pupils how scientific knowledge becomes established and gets revised. Importantly, this involves pupils learning about the many different types of scientific enquiry. It should not be reduced to learning a single scientific method.
In high-quality science curriculums, knowledge is carefully sequenced to reveal the interplay between substantive and disciplinary knowledge. This ensures that pupils not only know ‘the science’; they also know the evidence for it and can use this knowledge to work scientifically.
A high-quality science education:
- is rooted in an authentic understanding of what science is.
- prioritises pupils building knowledge of key concepts in a meaningful way that reflects how knowledge is organised in the scientific disciplines.
- should be planned to take account of the function of knowledge in relation to future learning.
Science is taught across each year group in modules that enable pupils to study in depth key scientific understanding, skills and vocabulary. Each module aims to activate and build upon prior learning, including EYFS, to ensure better cognition and retention. Each module is carefully sequenced to enable pupils to purposefully layer learning from previous sessions to facilitate the acquisition and retention of key scientific knowledge. Each module is revisited either later in the year or in the following year as part of a spaced retrieval practice method to ensure pupils retain key knowledge and information.
Through studying CUSP science, pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating, connecting and making sense of the rich substantive and disciplinary knowledge.
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. In CUSP science, an extensive and connected knowledge base is constructed so that pupils can use these foundations and integrate it with what they already know. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. In CUSP Science, it is recommended that misconceptions are not introduced too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position that new knowledge.
2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is knowing how to collect, use, interpret, understand and evaluate the evidence from scientific processes. This is taught. It is not assumed that pupils will acquire these skills by luck or hope. Pupils construct understanding by applying substantive knowledge to questioning and planning, observing, performing a range of tests, accurately measuring, comparing through identifying and classifying, using observations and gathering data to help answer questions, explaining and reporting, predicting, concluding, improving, and seeking patterns. We call it ‘Working Scientifically.’ CUSP science provides Working Scientifically coverage maps to check the balance of provision in KS1, Lower and Upper KS2. They are also present in the Whole Class Assessment toolkits.
Scientific analysis is developed through IPROF criteria. We call it ‘Thinking Scientifically.’
- identifying and classifying
- pattern seeking
- observing over time
- fair and comparative testing
The successful approach at Ovingham, results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our children love Science! Children will know more, remember more and understand more about the curriculum. Children retain prior-learning and explicitly make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning.
All children will have:
- A wider variety of skills linked to both substantive and disciplinary knowledge
- A richer vocabulary which will enable them to articulate their understanding of taught concepts
- Confidence and a love of learning for all things science