Science

  • Policy for Science

     

    Introduction

    In an increasingly scientific and technological age, children need to acquire the skills and knowledge that will prepare them for life in the 21st century. Science helps explain how the world works and encourages the children to develop an interest and curiosity about their world as well as foster respect for their environment. Children will understand and appreciate that science is of importance to everyday life.

    Through the framework of the National Curriculum, science will encourage children:

    • To observe and learn about the world in which they live using all their senses;
    • To explore science in forms which are relevant and meaningful to them;
    • To develop skills including observation, prediction, investigation, interpretation, questioning and hypothesising through practical activities;
    • To make decisions based on evidence;
    • To use precise measurement skills and ICT;
    • To stimulate curiosity, evoke questions and encourage original investigations;
    • To develop communication skills, think creatively about science and enjoy making sense of the phenomena;
    • To understand the world and the universe, building on their enthusiasm and natural sense of wonder about the world;
    • To develop a respect for the environment and living things;
    • To develop an understanding of their own health and safety.

    At West Park Primary School, our policy is to help children realise these aims by providing appropriate experiences, resources and encouragement. Children will be taught the vocabulary of science, have practical scientific experiences and will be able to practice the skills they need in order to be able to understand the concepts which underpin primary science.

     

    Classroom Practice

    While the National Curriculum determines areas to be covered, there must be some flexibility to provide for children of mixed age groups and ability to work comfortably at their own level.  Science is taught as a subject in its own right; with an increased focus on developing and using key skills. However, throughout the school, where there is the opportunity for Science to be taught as part of a cross curricular theme. This will enable children to progress through all stages of an investigation and encourages continuity in their understanding and learning.

    In science, children are encouraged to be open-minded and to try and make sense of what they see and find out. The focus of our approach to science is through open-ended activities and higher order questioning, where children are able to develop practical skills and recognise the need for fair testing. It allows children to develop ways of finding out for themselves whilst providing practise in problem solving.

    Equal Opportunities and Multicultural Issues

    Activities in science aim to meet the needs of individual children whilst providing relevant experiences to all children regardless of race, culture, gender or class. There are no boy/girl activities in science, all lessons are open to all pupils and staff ensure that this is the case.

    Special Educational Needs

    We aim to meet the needs of all our children by differentiation in our science planning and in providing a variety of approaches and tasks appropriate to ability levels. This will enable all children to take an active part in science learning and practical activities. More able children are given the opportunity to progress to a higher level of knowledge and understanding through the provision of inspiring scientific exploration.

    Assessment

    Assessment in science is undertaken using a range of progress tests, carried out during science lessons, which enable teachers to track children’s strengths and weaknesses, the outcomes of these tests influence future planning.  End of unit assessments are also carried out, the results of which are used to monitor progress against the new curriculum expectations, and are passed to subsequent teachers to ensure progression is taking place. Reception and nursery children are assessed in the specific area of ‘Understanding of the World’ using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, Development Matters document.

    Cross Curricular Links

    It is an expectation of all children to express themselves clearly in both speech and writing, and to use grammatically correct sentences, spell and punctuate accurately in order to communicate effectively in English during science lessons. Children are also encouraged to present their own ideas using sustained and systematic writing of different kinds.

    Pupils are given opportunities where appropriate to develop and apply I.C.T. skills in science lessons. Design Technology also provides a link with science in topics such as materials and their properties, motion and forces, electricity and circuit building, energy and the use of gears, pulleys, levers and springs.

    Pupils are encouraged to use scientific and mathematical vocabulary, draw diagrams and charts to communicate scientific ideas.  They have the opportunity to practise mathematical skills such as counting, ordering numbers, measuring to an appropriate number of decimal places, drawing and interpreting graphs in real contexts.

     

    Resources

    Resources are kept in a central store and are arranged into topic boxes containing equipment for use. A wide variety of science books can be found in the reference library. All breakages or the need for replacement resources should be reported to the coordinator in good time. Requests for additional resources should also be made to the coordinator.

    Health and Safety

    Emphasis is placed on safety at all levels of investigation with the constant reminder of the need for care in handling the equipment. Teachers insist that children take responsibility for resources, using them in the correct way to ensure safety of all pupils in the classroom, and children are trained to do this from the earliest years. Children are told to wash their hands after using any materials which may contaminate them, such as pond water and soil. Naked flames, chemicals and glass are not used in the classroom. Children should not taste any materials unless they are told it is safe to do so.

    Advice on risk assessment and health and safety in science is available in the ASE publication, Be Safe!

    Staff Development

    Staff will be given in service training and also informed of courses available for developing and enhancing their own subject knowledge.

     

    Governors are free to determine the renewal of this policy at any time, in line with changes in school systems or statutory guidance.