School effectiveness

Key stage 1 and 2

Science curriculum key stage 1 and 2

The new National Curriculum is to be phased in over a two year period and will become statutory for all primary year groups from September 2015.

The new Science Programmes of Study for Key stages 1 and 2.

One of the changes to the science curriculum is the inclusion of ‘Working scientifically’, which specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group.

Pupils are expected to learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions, including:

  • observing over time
  • surveys and pattern seeking
  • identifying, classifying and grouping
  • comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations)
  • researching using secondary sources.

Further information on different types of enquiry and examples of their use (word).

The advent of the new curriculum provides an opportunity to review, not only the science schemes of work, but also how and why science is taught within the school, looking at ‘big ideas’ and progression and encouraging professional dialogue around pedagogy, which will be supported by the resources summarised below:

Principles and big ideas of science education (ASE website)
A report, developed by a group of international experts in science education which sets out 10 principles and 14 ‘big ideas’ of science and about science that arguably should underpin the science education of all students throughout their schooling, enabling them to understand the scientific aspects of the world around them and make informed decisions about the applications of science.

OFSTED: maintaining curiosity (pdf)
The primary section of this report is the result of Ofsted visits to 91 primary schools, including 3 special schools, carried out between 2010 and 2013. The report lists key findings and recommendations and includes some snapshots of case studies, describing how different schools have approached science, with examples of good practice.

National STEM centre
Works with schools, colleges and partner organisations to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.

The primary science link takes you to the primary science resource packages swhere resources to support the teaching of all aspects of the new science curriculum can be found.

The Primary Resources Group is a very active forum where teachers can ask questions, post replies, give suggestions, share resources or just have a chat about any current STEM related issues in Primary schools.

Assessment and monitoring

The following materials, based on the levelled science curriculum may still be useful, particularly for Y2 and Y6, until the new National Curriculum Programmes of Study become statutory for all primary year groups in September 2015.

The QCA science end of unit assessment and record of progress document has been developed to support schools in recording science assessments. This helps to track individual children through the QCA science scheme of work. Download the Recording Document and Guidance notes.

To support schools with pupil self-assessment, a set of ‘I can…’ statements for Scientific Enquiry are available.

To support schools with leveling of Sc1 and Sc2-4 attainment targets, we recommend the extended level descriptors from the QCA Assessing Progress in Science materials:

Some examples of focussed Sc1 assessment activities can be downloaded from the Primary Science Teaching Trust website.

Science APP standards files are a useful source of examplar materials which should be used to support standardisation and moderation practices within the school. They are still available from the National Archives.

Assessment and the new curriculum

Further information on assessment and the new curriculum is expected. The following links to research documents and sites focussing on ‘Active Assessment’ and Assessment for Learning may be useful:

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Last updated: 14 Mar 2017