Science at the Skylark Federation
Following the updated Ofsted inspection framework (Ofsted, May 2019), schools were instructed to place Curriculum ‘Intent, Implementation and Impact’ at the heart of their curriculum design (within the new, reformed ‘Quality of Education’ measure).
At the Skylark Federation, we have constructed ‘a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Teaching is designed to help learners to remember in the long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts’ (Ofsted, May 2019, pg. 9 and 10).
To achieve this, we have modelled our curriculum on Jonathan Lear’s Discover, Explore and Create curriculum model, which sees all learners at the Skylark Federation critically analysing in History, Geography, DT and the Arts across the academic year. These Discover (History), Explore (Geography) and Create (the Arts) projects form the backbone of our projects across the year, and all subjects – including Science – are informed by these projects. Teachers ensure that the science units work alongside the Jonathan Lear curriculum.
Our ‘Intent’ – in designing our bespoke, South Downs curriculum – is for Science (and all other subjects) to be relevant and have a strong local resonance with pupils. In doing so, our intention is that all learners reach their full potential through a Science curriculum that is tangible and real for pupils of the South Downs. That is not to say our curriculum is narrow-sighted: we use children’s local understanding to project their minds across the globe. We are an outward-looking Federation of village schools.
Throughout their time at our schools pupils should are taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the program of study.
- asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
- observing closely, using simple equipment
- performing simple tests
- identifying and classifying
- using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
- gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.
Science lessons take place weekly in our classes unless teachers opt to ‘block’ a unit.
The Curriculum units are planned in a rolling format to ensure that all the curriculum is covered.
The Science curriculum is greatly enriched by our STEM days.
The children within our federation have enjoyed investigated questions such as:
Who can make the strongest table out of paper?
Does the amount of baking powder you use affect the volcano explosion?
How many coins can you fly on a paper aeroplane?
How can we stop the tomatoes getting squashed as we transport them up the mountain?
The aim of our STEM days is to develop and create critical thinkers, increase science literacy, and enable the next generation of innovators.
Wider Community Links:
Our Science Curriculum is further enriched by our link with Cumnor House.
The children benefit from having a set up Science lab and the Science experts at the school.
Every year group will visit Cumnor House at least once in their time at school.
Forest Schooling takes place weekly for all our EYFS pupils.
All other classes have a block of sessions through the school year.
These sessions allow the children to explore seasonal change, and the wonders of the outdoor world in our amazing outside area.
Modelling is to be seen in all Science lessons to show children what the process looks like and to model high level recording.
Science moderation meetings to happen using the NC objectives and interim assessment documents (year 2 & 6). These will focus on consistency across the Federation as well as ensuring that pupils are making progress in all areas of Science.
Children are assessed on all Science units by their class teachers. This allows us to track any children that may need further support in their Science learning.
The data is added to and moved on with the children to the next teacher.
Here are just a few things that the children have to say about science:
‘Science is brilliant. It is fascinating and fun.’ Daisy
‘I love Science! It is my favourite lesson.’ Cora
‘I really look forward to Friday as that is our science morning.’ Sam
(Ofsted, May 2019)