The Intent, Implementation and Impact of Science at Victoria School
Victoria School intent for the teaching of Science is to support both a depth of understanding and skill development, whilst igniting the natural curiosity of our pupils.
Our science curriculum allows all pupils to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to help them think like a scientist, develop an understanding of scientific processes, and to understand the uses and implications of science today and for the future.
We intend to provide children with both the skills and the belief that they can be successful in an increasingly STEM world.
As a coastal town 20 miles from Britain’s biggest nuclear waste site and therefore surrounded by STEM based education providers such as Gen 2 and Energy Coast University Technical College, this intention is vital.
Victoria School recognises that although factual science knowledge is important, what is truly crucial for our pupils is the grasp of underlying concepts, often called Science Models, and the development of Working Scientifically skills. These are what allow scientists to be creative, solve problems and see fundamental links between science phenomena.
This approach to teaching science promotes security, mastery and depth of learning.
Conceptual Understanding & Science Enquiry Skills
Science at Victoria School is taught in line with Development Matters and the National Curriculum, but more specifically is taught through the use of conceptual models to support deeper understanding.
A ‘Science Model’ is an idea that is taken to its simplest form. These then become the starting point and the basis of pupil understanding and responses as they study a topic. They are built upon, Key Stage by Key Stage. The four models are:
- The Particle Model
- The Force Arrow Model
- The Energy Transfer Model
- The Big Picture Model
The use of a science model supports:
- A simple, clear starting point for pupil descriptions and explanations. The model is at the forefront throughout the lesson.
- Scientific language development as pupils use ‘things’ to represent the concept and so can show first, then build key language and structure to their responses as they become more proficient.
- Develops ‘hands-on’ learning and divergent thinking.
- Bridging between topics as models often weave through the curriculum. Knowledge ‘sticks’ to a concept and so becomes both memorable and forms connections that leads to deep understanding.
- Concept recognition as pupils remember the model from previous topics and so gain immediate familiarity in new topics.
All lessons are hands on, active and include a wide range of strategies and enquiry types. Dual focussed lessons develop both content and skills objectives. Science is cross-curricular linked through a “Power of Reading” book where appropriate, allowing for contextual, cross-curricular learning in tandem with English and Maths.
Teachers use the Assessment Board to assess pupils which follows a skills-development approach and works in conjunction with a model-based approach to teaching. This allows for performance to be tracked across topics and Key Stages to show the pupil’s progress over time.
The Science curriculum at Victoria School is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards clearly defined end points.
Victoria School places extremely high value on the Science Capital of our pupils. We recognise that the higher the science capital, the more likely our children are to aspire to a science related career which is vitally important in school with a large proportion of disadvantaged children and in a community with STEM at its backbone.
We have developed strong sustained links with local STEM ambassadors and companies who are regularly invited into school to work with pupils and have formed a partnership with Energy Coast UTC to develop STEM opportunities for local school children and provide CPD for teachers.
Victoria School has been officially recognised by STEM Learning UK for its efforts to establish links with local STEM ambassadors in its mission to ignite children’s natural curiosity and raise the aspirations of pupils to believe they can achieve whatever they set out to.
Victoria School has a consistent, well-constructed and well-taught Science curriculum that all builds towards a clearly defined end point, so that pupils are always being prepared for the next stage of their education.
Instead of being simply memorised, science facts make sense because of the underlying Science Model that is taught and pupil responses are therefore deeper and more extended. In turn, pupils develop fluency and apply their knowledge as skills.
The impact is for all pupils to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to become young scientists.
Victoria School’s Science Curriculum ensures:
- EYFS pupils are KS1 ready by the time they leave the Early Years: Nursery and Reception years prepare the children for KS1. Children have explored the three strands of Understanding the World: The World, Technology and The World to prepare them for more formal learning in Year 1.
- Assessment in KS1 and KS2 is used to support next steps: It focusses on depth of understanding, not just superficial knowledge recall. Our assessment criteria has been matched against year group expectations and is used for next steps in the classroom, with pupils, to support their progression and develop them as independent learners.
- Pupils are secondary ready by the end of Year 6: Criteria from both the primary and secondary National Curriculum are matched to year group equivalence in the primary phases. These separate criteria are blended to form criteria that correctly prepares pupils for expectations required by secondary schools.
- Working scientifically is developed effectively through progressive skill steps so that year group expectations are reached. These steps are clear and easy to use within a dual objective approach.
- Science knowledge, terminology and concepts are assessed effectively and simply so that a child’s ability ‘falls out’ of a lesson to support clear assessment and enable progress to be tracked between topics over time. Teachers do not use reams of knowledge-lists. Assessment is simple and focuses on depth of understanding, not just superficial knowledge recall.
- English and Maths are developed in tandem through common criteria matched to year group expectation. Developing cross-curriculum blended learning is vital for problem solving skills necessary for STEM approaches.
Our broach, rich Science curriculum ensures all pupils, including disadvantaged and SEND acquire the knowledge and Science capital they need to be ready for the next Key Stage and to ultimately succeed in the STEM based community that drives West Cumbria.