Curiosity about the world around us is an attribute which children naturally possess from birth. At Bradley Barton, we aim to nurture this with inspiring and systematic teaching within the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Our children acquire scientific knowledge through their engaging curriculum vehicles which are rooted in real-life experiences and intended to create pleasurable challenge through addressing misconceptions, learning from mistakes and exploring real world 'big ideas'. Children’s weekly Outdoor Classroom provision offers hands-on opportunities to explore and apply knowledge gained from the natural sciences. Meanwhile, they develop the scientific skills that are instrumental both in fostering a lifelong love of science and equipping them for the rigours of the 21st century workplace.
Where possible, meaningful links to our curriculum vehicles are made to maximise pupil engagement. For example, in the Year Three “Yabadabadoo!” vehicle, which focussed on life in the Stone Age, the science focus for the half term was rocks and soils. Topics such as 'Plants' are taught in Key Stage One and studied again in further detail throughout Key Stage Two. This model allows children to build upon their prior knowledge and increases their enthusiasm for the topics, whilst embedding this procedural knowledge into the long-term memory.
Assessment is carried out through considering the outcomes of a range of learning activities from the topic, alongside informal quizzes. Teachers use the nationally-moderated “Association for Science Education” Examples of work when making their judgements.
Whilst enjoyment of the subject itself is our primary aim, we are mindful of the importance of developing a set of transferable practical science skills. Using the National Curriculum as a guide, these skills are regularly planned for and explicitly taught as part of every science lesson.
Scientific skills are monitored and assessed throughout the children’s primary years through termly focussed observations; this allows teachers to plan for further development in key areas over the year, and to communicate strengths and areas for development to subsequent teachers.
Close communication between class teachers and the Outdoor Classroom team is promoted via a shared central assessment tool, which is systematically updated and referred back to as a working document by all.
Our science leaders closely monitor and develop each yeargroup’s vehicle planning in relation to science, to maximise opportunities for real-life contexts. We regularly welcome in scientists from the local community, including parents and STEM Ambassadors. Indeed, every year, we strive to provide every child with a STEM ambassador experience to enrich and contextualise their science learning. In addition to this, school visits are planned for to inspire and raise aspirations amongst those who may not have considered study in Higher Education.
The real-life context for our science provision is central to all our life sciences learning at Bradley Barton. Our unique semi-rural setting, along with our holistic Outdoor Classroom provision, affords our children regular opportunities to plan, shape and maintain our extensive vegetable garden, forest school area and the wider school grounds.
Through our bespoke and rigorous science curriculum, we ensure that children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the science curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives. All children should leave our school with:
A solid foundation of scientific knowledge to prepare them for the Key Stage 3 curriculum
Transferrable scientific enquiry skills
A rich scientific vocabulary which will enable to articulate their understanding of taught concepts
High aspirations, which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life
An understanding of the principles of sustainable living and the importance of environmental protection
The impact of our curriculum is monitored on a termly basis, and in turn informs our subject development priorities for the coming year.