The Russell School

Science

Our Curriculum - Intent

We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious Science curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and promote how careers in science are open to all, regardless of age, gender, race or ability.

We challenge the stigma of the traditional ‘scientist’ and show children who real scientists are through a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). We encourage children to be courageous, to take risks and work collaboratively. Children are challenged to aim high to be the ‘first’ in the future, for example to invent something new.  

Our teaching of sequenced scientific knowledge builds on pupils’ prior understanding. Child-led enquiry, allows children to develop at their own pace and discover new skills in a practical manner.  We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for ‘real life’ experiences in Science, through first-hand experiences. Writing at length is built into every unit and allows children to build not just their scientific knowledge but also use and achieve their English writing targets. 

The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities and it is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of scientific concepts, knowledge and skills. It aims to inspire in pupils a curiosity and interest in Science through challenging, exciting activities. It is designed to ensure learning is regularly rehearsed and reinforced, providing SEND pupils with chances to revisit key skills and concepts until they become embedded.

Children learn methods of scientific enquiry and how to ask questions to find out specific information. They are taught to use scientific vocabulary accurately and gain knowledge and skills not just in the classroom, but also through educational visits and reading.

We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave The Russell School ready for their secondary education and beyond. It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, proofreading and redrafting. Having the confidence to take risks is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the Science curriculum. 

Our Curriculum - Implementation

The Science curriculum is structured to be progressive in knowledge and skills across all phases and is closely aligned to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. The curriculum is mapped out into specific units, which incorporate the knowledge and skills children will gain by the end of each half term; these are sequenced to build on prior learning progressively through year groups.

Each unit has a clear learning focus in the form of a key question which all children, regardless of ability or attitude, should be able to answer by the end of the unit. The sequencing of units is planned across the year to ensure the maximum amount of learning is achieved, for example ‘Living Things and their Habitats’ is taught in the Summer term, to ensure children have maximum access to outdoor learning facilities.

Scientific knowledge and skills are taught creatively; children work towards clearly defined end points, creating opportunities to make connections within and across their learning. Pupils are taught to understand the key concepts that link their learning within Science to other subjects by clearly defined learning intentions for each lesson, and use of ‘mind maps’ at the start of each new topic. Children have frequent opportunities to write at length and read texts linked to their learning in Science; we also promote a strong emphasis on talk throughout the Science curriculum. Relating learning to examples of science in everyday situations enables us to make topics more purposeful, relatable and engaging.

While children work through differentiated activities, teachers will conduct regular mini plenaries in order to assess understanding. Lessons are taught creatively and will reinforce and deepen fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills.  Teachers employ various strategies to keep children engaged and enthusiastic, including:

  • Interactive whiteboards (modelling)
  • Lesson presentations/slides (visual)
  • Individual whiteboards (quick practice and assessment)
  • Talk partner discussions (scientific discussion)
  • Science experiments (predictions and conclusions)

Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts through exciting, challenging reasoning and problem-solving tasks. Children can progress in their learning through systematic trial and error. Rather than being deterred by ‘mistakes’, children learn to recognise that they are in fact a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our Science (and whole school) culture values courage, questioning and deep thinking.

Science lends itself to many cross-curricular links, which are planned and indicated in advance, in order for children to meet their English targets, demonstrate maths skills (including Maths Week) and apply other learning through the subject.  Real-life experiences enhance learning in Science and enable children to gain knowledge and skills not just in the classroom, but also through engaging activities such as:

  • Visits to Chorleywood Common to study Minibeasts
  • Trip to the Science Museum to study Forces
  • Outdoor learning activities linked to the Science topic

Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long term memory.  Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts. Children are encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.

Our Curriculum - Impact

The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world.

Children’s achievements in Science are assessed through a variety of ways. Marking and feedback provides ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future teaching. Children's knowledge and skills are assessed formally at the end of each term and phase, including their use of scientific vocabulary, enquiry skills and ability to communicate information in a variety of ways. 

We continually evaluate the impact of our Science curriculum by assessing evidence that defines a high-quality education, through:

  • Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school such as work scrutiny, Pupil Voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning.
  • The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children.
  • Ongoing feedback and assessment, which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning, to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
  • A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
  • Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, are able to construct their own knowledge and are able to think flexibly and creatively.
  • High levels of engagement in home learning.