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St Michael's C of E VA Primary School

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St Michael’s Science Executive Summary


Science Vision


Our aim is for all children to have a knowledge and understanding of key scientific concepts and to develop an attitude of enquiry, curiosity, resilience and exploration about natural phenomena and an understanding of how the scientific community contributes to our past, present and future.  


This vision links closely to Curriculum Driver 2 Learning skills – Aspiration and Attitude and Curriculum Driver 4 Exploration – Adventure and Discovery.


The vision is achieved by:

  • A curriculum that develops scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics (substantive knowledge)
  • Alongside the acquisition of substantive knowledge, a curriculum that nurtures children’s natural curiosity and develops understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them (disciplinary knowledge of working scientifically)
  • A curriculum that provides the opportunity to apply scientific knowledge, and understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future in both the local and global environment.
  • A clear programme of study where pupils develop their knowledge alongside their ‘working scientifically’ skills progressively year on year.
  • A curriculum which challenges misconceptions and demystifies truths.
  • Development of scientific literacy using wide-ranging, specialist vocabulary.


Implementation of the Science Vision


Early Years Foundation Stage - Reception

Children’s learning in EYFS provides the foundation in Science that they will build on through the rest of their schooling. We provide a ‘science rich’ environment to give the children frequent opportunities to explore the foundational knowledge and skills they will need for their next stage of science learning.


Foundation Stage pupils investigate science as part of Understanding of the World (See St Michael’s EYFS curriculum long term plan: Science in the Early Years (Appendix A) and the medium term plans: ‘Bugs, bugs, bugs’ and ‘Looking after the environment’).


At St Michael’s we have chosen the areas of ‘Living things and their habitats’, ‘Plants’, ‘Animals including humans’ and ‘Materials’ to study specifically in Reception Class as preparation for Year 1.


‘Understanding of the world’ involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. Children are taught to look at similarities and differences and observe changes in the world around them. They use stories and books to stimulate discussions. 


Early Learning Goals related to Science in Understanding the World include:

  • Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants
  • Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class
  • Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them including the seasons and changing states of matter.


Forest School in Reception Class

Reception children visit Forest School every week. They learn to observe and talk about growth and change in the environment around them. As well as developing their scientific knowledge, these practical ‘hands on’ sessions serve to increase the children’s familiarity with new vocabulary which gives them even greater access to all areas of the curriculum.


Key Stages 1 and 2

We have chosen to follow the Kapow scheme of work for Key Stages 1 and 2 because it offers a clear programme of study which meets our vision and enables pupils to meet the National Curriculum end of key stage attainment targets. This scheme is closely aligned with the findings of the Ofsted Research Review into Science and the Ofsted Subject Report: ‘Finding the optimum’ (published 2 Feb 2023)


The St Michael’s Science Curriculum has the following key strands:

  • Scientific knowledge and understanding of Biology (living organisms and vital processes), Chemistry (matter and its properties), Physics (how the world we live in ‘works’)
  • Working scientifically – processes and methods of science to answer questions about the world around us. These types of scientific enquiry include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Pupils seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data.
  • Science in action – uses and implications of science in the past, present and for the future.


Our chosen scheme follows the spiral curriculum model with essential knowledge and skills revisited with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revisit and build on their previous learning. A range of engaging recall activities promote frequent pupil reflection on prior learning, ensuring new learning is approached with confidence and misconceptions avoided.


The ‘Science in action’ strand is interwoven throughout the scheme to make the concepts and skills relevant to pupils and inspiring for future application. Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their Science skills to other areas of learning, particularly Geography and Maths.


Each unit is based upon one of the key science disciplines; Biology, Chemistry and Physics and to show progression throughout the school we have grouped the National Curriculum content into six key areas of science:


  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans
  • Living things and habitats
  • Materials
  • Energy
  • Forces, Earth and space


The ‘working scientifically’ skills are integrated with substantive knowledge, rather than taught discretely. This provides frequent, but relevant, opportunities for developing scientific enquiry skills.


As a core subject, Science is taught for at least 90 minutes per week in Key Stages 1 and 2. In addition to the main lessons, Science meetings are held twice each week to remind pupils of previous learning and to address any possible misconceptions.


All classes cover six units of Science during the year. These units are outlined in the long term plan. These plans include the key vocabulary and linked scientists that pupils will meet during each unit studied that year, along with cross-curricular links.


Each Science unit is informed by a medium term plan which outlines the substantive and disciplinary knowledge the pupils will learn, the National Curriculum coverage, prior learning, intended outcomes and end points of learning including assessment criteria.


The short term plans include:

  • Clear learning objectives
  • Success criteria
  • ‘Recap and recall’ to remind pupils of previous learning
  • ‘Attention grabber’ to engage the pupils
  • Presentation and main teaching and learning activities
  • Plenary
  • Background information to support teachers’ subject knowledge
  • Assessment information – progress and understanding
  • Key vocabulary definitions
  • Example work


Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical, creative, computer-based and collaborative tasks.


Further documentation

EYFS Science Long term plan outlined in Appendix A

Science Long term plan – Knowledge and Working Scientifically outlined in Appendix B

Science Curriculum Big Question Road Map outlined in Appendix C

Building Blocks of Science Vocabulary outlined in Appendix D



Each year the pupils take part in a ‘Science week’ which is linked to the theme of the national science week.  Class teachers for each year group aim to undertake at least one science-related external visit during the academic year.


Measuring the Impact of the Science Vision and Implementation


After following the St Michael’s curriculum, pupils should leave school equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge to succeed in Key Stage 3 Science. Pupils should understand the significance and impact of Science on society.


Pupils will:

  • Develop a body of foundational knowledge for the Biology topics in the National curriculum: Plants; Animals, Including Humans; Living Things and Their Habitats; Evolution and Inheritance.
  • Develop a body of foundational knowledge for the Chemistry topics in the National curriculum: Everyday Materials; Uses of Everyday Materials; Properties and Changes of Materials; States of Matter; Rocks.
  • Develop a body of foundational knowledge for the Physics topics in the National curriculum: Seasonal Changes; Forces and Magnets; Sound; Light; Electricity; Earth and Space.
  • Be able to evaluate and identify the methods that ‘real world’ scientists use to develop and answer scientific questions.
  • Identify and use equipment effectively to accurately gather, measure and record data.
  • Be able to display and convey data in a variety of ways, including graphs.
  • Analyse data in order to identify, classify, group, and find patterns.
  • Use evidence to formulate explanations and conclusions.
  • Demonstrate scientific literacy through presenting concepts and communicating ideas using scientific vocabulary.
  • Understand the importance of resilience and a growth mindset, particularly in reference to scientific enquiry.
  • Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for Science.



The curriculum is constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities.


Formative assessment

Formative assessment takes place during every science lesson and is the basis on which teachers tailor the teaching to the needs of the pupils. Each lesson includes guidance to support teachers in assessing pupils against the learning objectives and any relevant scientific enquiry skills.  A learning journey is placed in books at the beginning of each new topic, showing the progression of knowledge and the skills required for that unit of work. The learning journey is written in ‘child speak’ so the children can assess their progress.

The learning journeys are highlighted in pink once the child has securely achieved the objective. Pupils in Key stage 2 can use the learning journeys for self or peer assessment and date and tick in purple pen once they have achieved their objective.


Summative assessment

Each unit has a unit quiz and a knowledge and skills catcher, which can be used at the beginning and/or end of the unit to provide a summative assessment. Opportunities for children to communicate using scientific vocabulary also form part of the assessment process in each unit.


Attainment and Progress data is collected twice yearly (February and June). We use the National Curriculum assessment criteria to make these summative judgements in Years 1-6. These are split into 2 sections (knowledge and skills), matching end-of-year expectations for each year group, each of which begins with an indication of the context in which the skills should be assessed, to ensure that the pitch of the lesson is age-appropriate.


This summative data is used to:

  • identify areas of strength and development for classes, groups and individuals
  • provide evidence for patterns in progress and attainment (eg. between boys/girls, SEN/non-SEN, different year groups)
  • compare attainment with nationally agreed expectations for children of that age



Subject leader has leadership time each week and monitors provision in Science through:

  • observations and learning walks
  • teacher/subject leader discussions
  • ‘Book Look’ at least twice each term
  • pupil voice activities
  • an annual 'deep dive' in Science with the senior leadership team


Subject Leader Action Plan

Monitoring activities and an analysis of attainment and progress are used to formulate the subject leader action plan which is updated twice each year.


Continuing Professional Development

EYFS Leader receives updates on latest research on the teaching of Understanding of the World  through association with Herts for Learning.


The Kapow scheme of work incorporates a wide range of teaching videos which support the teachers to improve their Science subject knowledge and therefore teach with greater confidence and impact on pupil outcomes.


Subject Leader meets termly with other Science Subject Leaders in the St Albans Consortium of Schools Subject Cluster Groups to share ideas and good practice.


The Senior Leadership team has regard to any Ofsted subject specific reports or reviews when monitoring provision in Science at St Michael’s. Key messages are shared with staff and practice is adapted to reflect the most recent research.


Subject Leader has received specific Science Subject Leader training from Herts for Learning 2023—24. HfL Advisory teacher provides further training for all staff in a staff meeting (every two years)

Further resources available to enhance teachers’ continued professional development include:

  • The Association for Science Education
  • Herts for Learning ‘Developing Young Scientists’
  • Working Scientifically in the Primary Classroom: Progression of enquiry skills from EYFS to KS3


The Science Executive Summary is reviewed annually.

Latest revision: February 2024



Appendix A - Science in the Early Years

Appendix B - Science Long term plan – Knowledge and Working Scientifically

Appendix C - Science Curriculum Big Question Road Map