Science at St Leonard’s
We aim to engage children in science through exploration of the world around them using a creative, knowledge-rich curriculum.
Hi, I’m Nick Churchill and I’m one of the subject leaders for science at St Leonard’s. I’m a passionate advocate for the subject and have been focussing on making sure that our children get the maximum opportunities to work scientifically, whilst progressing through our knowledge-rich curriculum. I’ve led staff training on effective teaching of the practical skills in science and how to break down the knowledge needed to conduct investigations and experiments.
Hi, I’m Helena West and I am a science subject leader at St Leonard’s. I love teaching science with my Year 2s and have worked hard to raise the profile of the subject across the school. I have led staff training on the knowledge-rich curriculum in science, looking at how to make best use of our schema and ensure our lessons have a clear, focussed learning objective. I’ve also helped teachers plan lessons that make the most of our school site, getting out their and doing some practical science!
What do science lessons look like at St Leonard’s?
We use our progression map to make sure that our lessons build year on year and lesson on lesson. This means our children are always moving further up a ‘ladder’ of knowledge, using what they already know to springboard their next piece of learning. To help with this, each lesson begins with 3 carefully selected questions, to help the children access their previous learning and make their knowledge more ‘sticky’.
We also use schemas: carefully designed webs of knowledge that the children use as a map, linking everything they learn in a unit. They can use these schemata to talk about what they’ve learnt and help them move the knowledge into their long-term memory. Here’s an example from Year 6:
Our lessons aren’t simply about knowledge, however. We break down the ‘Working Scientifically’ objectives from the National Curriculum and carefully sequence them into our planning, so that children get to do exciting, practical, hands-on science. To do this, each lesson has a ‘Scientific Skill’ as well as a Learning Objective.
We have included a range of ‘key scientists’ in our planning, so that our children can learn about some of the most influential scientists in the world. We have chosen these carefully to ensure they represent the wide range of human achievement across the world, showing that ethnicity and gender are no barrier to scientific achievement. This links to our curriculum intent to be outward-looking and help our children become global citizens.
How do we make sure every child succeeds?
A key intent of our curriculum is to be inclusive, so our planning is carefully adapted to make sure it can be accessed by all of our children and they all have an opportunity to demonstrate their scientific understanding.
We continually assess the children throughout our teaching and, if any are in danger of falling behind, we offer additional support. Furthermore, we assess at the end of each unit and address any misconceptions the children may have.
Our children love science and we aim to grow that love into a passion. One day, we hope we will see a child from St Leonard’s grow into a world-changing scientist!