At Gade Valley Primary School we believe that a high quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of early physics (e.g. forces) chemistry (e.g. reversible and irreversible change) and biology (e.g. growing plants). We intend to provide all pupils with a broad and balanced Science curriculum.
Gade Valley strive to:
- Prepare our pupils for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world today and in the future.
- Help our pupils acquire a growing understanding of the nature, processes and methods of scientific ideas.
- Help develop and extend our pupils' scientific concept of their world.
- Build on our pupils' natural curiosity and developing a scientific approach to problems.
- Encourage the use of our CHAMP skills when developing the skills of investigation – including: observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
- Develop the use of scientific language when recording.
- Make links between science and other subjects through cross curricular work.
How We Teach Science
At Gade Valley Primary School we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Science is consistently taught as discrete lessons for up to 2 hours per week. Planning for science ensures that the school gives full coverage of ‘The National Curriculum programmes of study for Science 2014’. In Early Years, busy-fingers and active learning sessions cover many aspects relating to ‘understanding the world’ in the early learning goals. Herts for Learning Science maps are used to guide planning and coverage for each year group. At the beginning of each unit, teachers ensure that children start by recapping their prior knowledge of the topic and thinking about what new learning they would like to undertake. Throughout each unit, the pupils are encouraged to work scientifically using a range of practical resources such as creating their own circuits to demonstrate their understanding of how electricity works. Pupils will also have opportunities to explore their outdoor environment and locality to further develop their scientific skills such as questioning, predicting, hypothesising and making conclusions. All Science lessons include the ‘Gade Valley Principles of Teaching and Learning’, which are a set of non-negotiables for each lesson. For example, all pupils will be challenged and display good learning behaviours. Assessment for learning strategies are used to help pupils gain confidence about what they are expected to learn and inform teachers about which children have a secure understanding and where additional support may be required.
Key Developments and Information for 2022/23
Up to July 2023, the following measurable impact includes:
- In 2022/2023 64% of the pupils achieved age related expectations, with 15% achieving greater depth.
- In 2021/2022 the large majority of pupils achieved age related expectations or above at the end of Key Stage 2.
- Teaching staff meeting arranged for all teachers in developing and delivering scientific enquiry across KS1 and KS2.
- All teachers booked onto CPD courses in 2023 to help develop the science curriculum through planning, delivering and recording scientific enquiry.
- Subject Leader to continue attending STEM Enthuse Partnership meetings half termly.
- All classes in KS2/KS2 visited Hudnall Park and took part in a range of outdoor learning activities linked to two different areas of the curriculum for the year.
- A recent book look indicated that regular lessons were being taught and choice of challenges were offered. There was an good variety of recording from worksheets to practical tasks and outdoor learning where appropriate. There was also evidence of teachers following the marking policy and offering activities extend learning to in all year groups.
- All children in KS1 and KS2 took part in the STEM Paper Engineering Challenge to make an insect using only 4 sheets of paper and a pair of scissors. Children were very creative in the ways they joined the pieces of paper together and folded, rolled or crumpled the paper to give their insect a 3D shape.
- We had a visit from Night Owls who brought along 5 different owls for the children to see. They gave a detailed talk about the owls and demonstrated how they fly silently as the owls soared above heads of the children. Each child was offered the opportunity to have their picture taken with and owl sitting on their shoulder.
Key Developments and Information for 2021/22
Up to July 2022, the following measurable impact includes:
- In the 2021/2022 61% of the pupils achieved age related expectations, with 14% achieving greater depth.
- In 2020/21 the large majority of pupils achieved age related expectations or above at the end of Key Stage 2.
- All classes in KS1/KS2 spent a day Hudnall Park, taking part in a range of cross-curricular outdoor learning activities.
- Observations of lessons were carried out in both KS1 and KS2 and showed that teachers were using the skills and progression topic map along with the teaching and learning principles to deliver engaging lessons.
- Children showed great learning behaviours and enjoyed the practical activities during the lesson.
- Spring term - Teachers completed a subject audit which showed that teachers felt confident teaching the majority of topics on the curriculum however, felt that they would like some support to help deliver scientific enquiry.
- Teacher carried out an audit of resources in their classrooms and found that some equipment required replacing or updating in order to teach some of the topics.
- CPD has been planned to cover the delivery of scientific enquiry.
- During a recent book look, it was evident that teachers are following the marking policy and giving effective feedback to enhance children understanding.
- CPD was delivered to introduce Go Out and Learn Days. Teachers were given a framework for their GOAL day and shown some ideas and resources to help them plan exciting and engaging activities.
- GOAL Days were launched to the children during a whole school assembly. The children were very excited to hear about wider opportunities of taking part in exciting lessons and activities using our fabulous outdoor space. A letter of explanation was also sent home to parents.
- Children in KS1 and KS2 too part in the STEM SetPoint - Paper Engineering Challenge 2022 'Create a Plant'.
- River Wardens Project - Year 4 have been introduced to an exciting citizen science project which will help the children to engage in how science works whilst increasing their awareness of environmental issues in our local area. The children will be involved in carrying out monitoring of plants, animals and water quality. The monitoring activities will include looking at flow rate, testing water quality, looking for sources of pollution, identifying aquatic animals and looking for invasive species.
- WaterAid Human Pipeline Challenge - All classes from Nursery to Year 6 took part in the challenge to move 10 litres of water from one end of the playground to the other. The children were given a range of resources to choose from in order to help move the water and had to work as a team passing the water from one child to the next.
Pupil Voice indicated that:
- All pupils enjoy taking part in fun, practical activities.
- Pupils felt that lessons were challenging but support was available if needed.
- Pupils felt that teachers gave explanations that were clear and easy to follow.
- Where appropriate, pupils like to work with a partner to complete activities and challenges.
- Pupils in Year 6 felt that support was appropriate and readily available and that feedback (both written and verbal) was informative, clearly showing when they had been successful and which CHAMP skills they had used during the lessons
Key information 2020/21
- During Covid-19 school closure, the children enjoyed virtual lessons and home learning tasks set by teachers.
- Nursery children began Forest School Fridays, taking part in a range of outdoor learning and play in the woodland area of the school.
- All pupils in KS1 and KS2 took part in the Stem (part of SetPoint Herts) Science Engineering Week – ‘Create an Insect’ competition, to design and create an insect using only four sheets of A4 paper.
- Whole school science challenge to build a chair using only cardboard was set during the Easter Holiday. Many adventurous and successful entries were received.
- Pupils in EYFS took part in a visiting animal workshop in the summer term.
Key information 2019/20
During the academic year 2019/20, Year 6 created a vegetable patch linked to their topic on WW2. Year 3 investigated branches linked to finding angles in Maths and the Nursery children were introduced to the woodland area carrying out a number of activities including observational walks, bear hunts and leaf threading.
During the academic year 2018/19, the following measurable impact includes:
- In 2018/19 the large majority of pupils achieved age related expectations or above.
- All pupils in KS2 took part in the SetPoint Science Week – Brilliant Birds competition, to design and create a new bird species using only paper and glue.
- Whole school outdoor science day – Each class explored a different aspect of the outdoor environment focusing on trees, plants and wildlife.
- Each year group had an opportunity to share their science knowledge during a class science assembly for the whole school.
- Pupils in KS1 took part in an animal workshop.
- Year 1 visited the Frogmore Paper Mill to explore how materials change and Pizza Express to learn about where food comes from.
- Year 2 took part in the Tesco Healthy Eating Initiative visiting the local supermarket.