A Statement of Intent for Science
At Fairmead, we want our learners to foster a love of science and the natural world. Our intent is to give every student a broad and balanced science curriculum which enables learners to explore and discover with confidence what is around them in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world they live in. We want to embrace student’s sense of wonder in science by providing exciting, practical, hands-on experiences that guide them to become enquiry-based learners through exploratory and investigative experiences whilst developing their knowledge and use of scientific language and vocabulary.
We want our learners to develop an understanding of the relevance, purpose and application, of science in everyday life and to use the knowledge they acquire to live safe, healthy lives beyond Fairmead. In addition, we hope to promote respect, care, appreciation and responsibility for their immediate surroundings and recognise the role they and their peers play in protecting the environment.
We understand that our young people learn most effectively through first-hand experiences. Therefore, we take a very practical approach to introducing and exploring new ideas and concepts: students are thereby “working scientifically” to acquire and embed core scientific skills alongside the content knowledge they are learning. In this way, teachers can create a positive attitude to scientific learning within their classroom and reinforce an expectation that all learners are capable of achieving high standards in science.
In the topics of study set out in our Long Term Plan up to the end of Key Stage 3, our focus has been placed on those areas of science that we believe will prove most relevant and therefore most beneficial to our students as they move towards Further Education and adulthood. Knowledge within these topics - and the ability to use and apply this knowledge - is built through all phases of the school thus providing the golden threads that allow our children and students to grow their understanding of science, and build upon their prior knowledge in order to embed information into their long-term memory.
Science teaching at Fairmead involves adapting and extending the curriculum to match all pupils’ needs to ensure they are challenged appropriately and achieve success, regardless of their starting point. Alongside this, our curriculum is designed to promote a love of - and curiosity for - science by providing learners with engaging learning experiences and additional opportunities to engage with events such as focused trips and British Science Week.
Across the school, science is delivered with a focus of finding practical ways to learn and retain knowledge; there is a heavy focus on exposing our learners to scientific vocabulary from the very beginning of their science learning journeys.
Implementation of the Science Curriculum
Science in our lower primary classes is taught as part of the ‘Understanding the World’ curriculum. It is introduced through continuous provision to promote curiosity for and engagement in science. Engaging learning opportunities are designed to encourage students to begin to notice, explore, problem-solve, observe, think, and communicate about what they have experienced. Through focused, hands-on learning opportunities woven into continuous provision, learners begin to develop the early skills of working scientifically, beginning to become increasingly inquisitive about the world around them.
In upper primary, content objectives are introduced which are designed to build towards KS3 Learning Objectives. They have been adapted to be more relevant to our learners at this stage in their learning journey and more relevant to their futures. Learners are encouraged to start questioning, reasoning, classifying and grouping, and seeking answers. They are taught to use simple scientific equipment to carry out basic investigations and experiments as they continue to build their working scientifically skills. Teachers project their learning flightpaths, identifying aspirational outcomes from their current starting points based up on the knowledge they are able to acquire and use.
In KS3, students have opportunity to experience the specially equipped science laboratory where they have access to scientific apparatus such as Bunsen burners, chemicals, electrical circuit equipment, force meters and dissection equipment. Students have opportunities to conduct frequent experiments that enable them to practise and build on the knowledge that they have acquired through primary science. Content taught over a two-year rolling programme, featuring a structured programme for overlearning, gives students the best opportunity to retain knowledge ready to continue their science journey in KS4.
Students in KS3 start to plan experiments and consider how changing variables might affect the results. They start to use prior learning and experiences to inform thinking. They begin to apply their writing skills in instructing and explaining as they develop their method writing technique. They are encouraged to build their independence in collecting results through observations. Linking and applying scientific knowledge and understanding to everyday life is a feature of learning, for example understanding and investigating the various choices we make that can positively or negatively affect our health. Teachers monitor and assess each student’s progress and review their projected flight paths matching aspiration and achievability.
In KS4, to ensure the highest aspirations for all are met, students follow the most appropriate flight path that has been determined on the basis of progress over time and the many factors that may have impacted this. As stated above, this may have been identified during Upper Primary phase based on their development to that point or it may have changed as their knowledge acquisition accelerated or slowed. Whatever the flight path, we have continued to pay attention to what is most relevant and valuable for our young people to learn in order to be prepared for their next step in education:
Flightpath 1: AQA GCSE Combined Trilogy Science. Some KS4 students will sit this at the end of Year 11.
Flightpath 2: OCR Entry Level Science. Students completing a qualification can work towards entry level 1, 2 or 3. This focuses on the topics of biology, chemistry, and physics. Students working towards OCR Entry Level are assessed by a short test paper which is taken at the end of every unit.
Flightpath 3: Eduqas Science Today Entry Level. This provides students the opportunity to learn key life skills that are related to science. These topics include: health and safety, plant care, the human body, variation and adaptation, electrical circuits and food and health. Students on this flight path are assessed through objective related work completion.
Each term, teachers work together alongside subject leaders to determine the learning journeys for the different phases from lower primary up to Key Stage 3. By building these journeys term on term we are able to ensure progression across phases and we are able to match learning experiences to the needs and interests of our current cohort of students.