At Tushingham School, we are all scientists! Through our high-quality science curriculum, we aim to provide the important foundations for children to confidently explore and understand their world and their place within it. Teachers and teaching assistants are passionate about science, and we strive to share positive scientific experiences, in order to motivate and inspire the children that we teach. Our aim is to nurture our children’s inquisitive minds and encourage them ask and answer searching questions to help them develop a sense of intrigue of the world around them. As part of our science curriculum, we want to challenge gender stereotypes within the STEM industry, by positively promoting equality, with the eventual goal of all children understand that there are no limits to their ambitions and dreams for their future careers. We aim to promote sustainability and encourage children to be courageous advocates as part of our ever-changing planet.
At our school, we offer a broad and balanced science curriculum that includes exciting, practical learning experiences, to create a genuine sense of awe and wonder, both in and out of the classroom. The National Curriculum and Developing Experts are used as a guide for the taught content and a school-wide progression document is used to ensure that substantive knowledge and disciplinary skills are taught in tandem, developing progressively from year to year. All teachers adapt planning to suit their specific cohorts, which ensures that every child is suitably challenged and/or supported. Scientific experiences begin in our Early Years Foundation Stage, where we support children’s understanding through the area of learning ‘Understanding the World.’ Children find out about objects, materials and living things using all of their senses, to look at similarities, differences, patterns and change. These solid foundations in scientific knowledge and skills are then built on during each subsequent year.
Practical experiences are planned for the five types of enquiry - observation over time, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying and grouping, comparative and fair testing, and research using secondary sources. Class teachers ask questions to promote higher-order thinking skills and they encourage children to develop their own questions to investigate.
All children, including children with SEND, fully access and engage in science lessons. Teachers are flexible in the way in which they gather observations about children’s knowledge and skills including the use of photographs, pupil’s verbal responses, collaborative discussions, annotated diagrams, concept maps and interactive resources. This ensures that the children’s writing ability does not create a barrier for them to demonstrate their scientific knowledge and skills.
At our school, science underpins many other subject areas, whilst also maintaining its unique place in our school’s curriculum. Examples include English and topic work on rainforests, farms and seas and oceans, Design and Technology projects making bird boxes for our wildlife area and mini-beast and plant observational drawings in art lessons. Circle time activities regularly deal with current issues relating to sustainability and protection of the environment.
We plan many opportunities to promote further scientific scholar through our enhanced curriculum, which includes visits (Chester Zoo, the Sea-life Centre, Park Hall Farm, Museum of Science and Industry), outreach experiences, workshops, science weeks, assemblies, Forest Schools lessons and visitors from STEM industries. These complement and broaden our science curriculum. Developing Experts provide a fantastic range of videos for children to watch during lessons, which allow them to see how their learning fits into the wider world, as well as seeing potential careers that they might be interested in doing. This allows the children of Tushingham to gain an understanding of their world and their place within it.
The impact and quality of our science curriculum is evidenced in the fact that the school has achieved a silver award in the nationally recognised ‘Primary Science Quality Mark’ and we are due to apply for re-accreditation. Even more importantly, the success is visible in our pupils who are enthusiastic, motivated and engaged in their science lessons and demonstrate a sound understanding of scientific concepts.
Tracking systems, end-of-unit tests, concept cartoons and investigations are just some of the ways that teachers track pupil progress and address misconceptions. Children at our school progress very well in science and our end of key-stage data for science is above national average.
Cross-curricular lessons have had a very positive impact on the progress of science in school, as they have given children an opportunity to use their scientific knowledge, skills and vocabulary in context across a range of curriculum areas. Through our teaching of sustainability and environmental issues, children are encouraged to become courageous advocates. Examples include helping out and donating to food banks, doing litter picks, taking part in the RSPB Bird Watch and supporting local wildlife charities. Some of our children have gained Blue Peter badges in recognition for their efforts to helping the environment. Over recent years, our STEM project with a local Cubs, Rainbows and Guides group, our community eclipse event, our STEM industry representative Q&A session, the ‘Spring Clean’ litter pick and our ‘The Daily Mile’ track initiative have been very successful in helping the school and the community to work collaboratively to learn about science.
Our new high-quality resource that we use from nursery to Year 6, includes an interesting and wide-ranging array of industry videos to inspire and promote STEM-related careers. At Tushingham, we are proud that many of our past pupils have already chosen to pursue careers in STEM subjects, and some have even been recognised for their outstanding scientific achievements in recent years. This demonstrates the life-long learning that pupils gain at Tushingham School.