Science Policy

Revision History

Version Date Comments  Review Date
7 Summer 2013 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2015
6 July 2011 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2013
5 June 2009 Amended, approved and issued July 2011
4 November 2007 Amended, approved and issued July 2009
3 November 2006 Approved and issued November 2007
2 November 2005 Approved and issued November 2006
1 September 2005 First draft


  1. Rationale
    • 1.1 Science teaches an understanding of natural phenomena. It aims to stimulate a child’s curiosity in finding out, first hand where possible, why things happen in the way they do. It teaches methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate creative thought. Children learn to ask scientific questions and begin to appreciate the way science will affect their future on a personal, national and global level.
    • 1.2 The aims of science are to enable children to:
      • ask and answer scientific questions, both for research and investigative   purposes.
      • plan and carry out scientific investigations, using equipment, including computers, correctly
      • know and understand the life processes of living things
      • know and understand the physical processes of materials, electricity, light, sound and natural forces
      • know about the nature of the solar system, including the earth.
      • evaluate evidence and present their conclusions clearly and accurately.


These can be defined in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Knowledge – Relative to age and ability, a child should:-

  • recall facts, discuss concepts and use scientific language.
  • use and apply knowledge in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • collect, record, classify, interpret and use information from appropriate sources to answer scientific questions.

Skills – Relative to age, ability and context, a child should be encouraged to develop the following skills:-

Observing, classifying, measuring, recording, investigating, hypothesising, controlling variables (constructing fair tests), recognising patterns, communicating, working as part of a group, interpreting data and, where possible, using ICT.

Attitudes – Scientific activities can encourage the development of personal attributes and qualities in children e.g. Curiosity, self confidence, originality, perseverance, open-mindedness, self-criticism, responsibility, willingness to co-operate, respect for evidence, a positive attitude towards work and independence.

  1. Teaching and Learning
    • 2.1 A variety of teaching and learning styles are used in science lessons. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. This aim is achieved through whole class teaching, differentiated tasks, group work and, whenever possible, enquiry-based investigations. It is through scientific enquiry that children are encouraged to ask, as well as answer scientific questions. Whilst conducting a practical experiment the children are encouraged to make predictions, discuss variables and arrive at conclusions through collecting and analysing data, the level at which the children do this age and ability dependent. The children have the opportunity to record and interpret data in a variety of different ways including statistics, results tables, graphs, pictures, videos and photographs. In addition pupils take part in role-play and discussions, when appropriate pupils may present reports or findings to the class.
    • 2.2 There are children of widely different scientific abilities in all classes and suitable learning opportunities are provided for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. This is achieved this in a variety of ways by:
      • Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses.
      • Setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks).
      • Grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks for each ability group.
      • Providing resources of different complexity, matched to the ability of the child.
      • Using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children.
    • 2.3 Weekly lessons are timetabled throughout the school, which should last at least 1 hour, although often lessons last up to 2 hours per week. In some cases science lessons are linked with work in other subject areas and a topic based approach is adopted. Where science does not ‘fit in’ with topic area (in accordance to the long term plan) children study science as a discrete subject.
  1. Planning and Implementation
  • 3.1  Curriculum planning in science is carried out in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term).
  • 3.2.0  The long-term plan maps the scientific topics to be studied by each class throughout the year. Science topics are covered in shorter blocks each year but are revisited regularly throughout the key stage; the objectives covered are linked to QCA. The specific objectives to be covered for each topic and the length of time to be spent on each block are outlined on the long term plan. In addition to the main topics for the year group there are several scientific investigations allocated to each class should the class teacher choose to do these. These additional science investigations are based on the Setpoint Science investigations and aim to aid introduction, revision or assessment of SC1 objectives. In addition they endeavour to motivate and encourage children to engage in scientific enquiry.
  • 3.2.1 Medium-term planning is the responsibility of each classroom teacher, with the support of the subject leader. Medium term planning is informed by both formative and where appropriate summative assessment information.
  • 3.2.2 Short term planning is objective based and is prepared by the classroom teacher on a weekly or daily basis. The class teacher keeps these individual plans and a copy of them is kept on the central system. Most lessons should take a dual objective approach, having one which is linked to a specific skill that is being focused upon and another that is more knowledge based.
  • 3.3 Topics in science are planned so that they build upon prior learning and are revisited regularly. We ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we also build progression into the science scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
  • 3.4 Resources:-
    • There is a central resource area where specific topic based resources are kept and accessible to all teachers.
    • The contents of each box should be checked and then returned in a tidy state at the end of each lesson.
    • Children are encouraged to use resources carefully and are given opportunities to select their own resources appropriate to the task.
    • The school environment (including the surrounding grounds e.g. pond) is also a useful resource for science education.
  1. Foundation Stage
  • 4.1 Science in reception classes is taught as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, the scientific aspects of the children’s work is related to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. Science makes a significant contribution to the strand in the ELGs of ‘Developing a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world,’ e.g. through investigating what floats and what sinks when placed in water and developing a deeper understanding of their environment.
  1. Use of ICT in Science
  • 5.1 Pupils are given opportunities, where appropriate, to develop, apply and extend their ICT capabilities in their study of science. They use it to support their work in science by learning how to find, select and analyse information on the Internet and on CD-ROMs. Children may use photography, videoing and data logging to collect evidence and record observations. Children may also use ICT to record, present and interpret data and to review, modify and evaluate their work and improve its presentation.
  1. Special Needs including Able and Talented
  • 6.1 We teach science to all children, whatever their ability. Science forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education for all children. We provide learning opportunities that are matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. When appropriate our work in science takes into account the targets set in the children’s Individual Education Plans (IEP’s).
  • 6.2 Able and Talented Children – we have an Able and Talented register in school. Any child who is particularly able or talented in science will be on the register. The teacher will provide learning opportunities that are matched to the child’s needs.
  • 6.3 In addition when possible (dependent on funding) there is be a Set point science award programme or alternative club put on to challenge the able and talented pupils. This is usually extended to the pupils as an extra curricular activity to support/extend the knowledge of the pupils. This programme may also be continued by high schools as an aid to transition.
  1. Equality of Opportunity/Inclusion
  • 7.1 All children irrespective of gender, culture, religion, ability, age or home background gain access to the science curriculum.
  1. Assessment and Recording
  • 8.1 Staff at St John’s uses the results of ongoing teacher and formative assessment to make informed decisions about the progress of individual children, set targets and inform planning.
    Formative Assessment
  • 8.2 Staff use suitable tasks for assessing the pupils and thus informing their future planning, these include:
    • Marking of work completed by the individual.
    • Observation of individuals or groups whilst they plan and carry out investigations. These observations may be recorded by video or annotated work.
    • Questioning and discussion with pupils about their work.
    • Annotated drawings and labelled diagrams, tables or charts.
    • Concept cartoons or mind mapping at the start or end of a topic.
    • Where appropriate age/topic related levelled questions, which may be completed in starters or plenaries.
    • Assessment charts for SC1 (skills based learning) are put into the front of the children’s science books, where they self assess against the level appropriate objectives. Class teachers use the charts to assess children’s abilities in specific areas of SC1, which may then be used to inform focus of future lessons. This not only informs the teachers of a pupils progress in SC1, but also ensures that each skill is covered and assessed.
  • Formal Summative Assessment
    8.3 Teachers make an assessment of the children’s work in science at the end of Key Stage 1. Due to cancellation of KS2 SATS tests teachers use ongoing assessments of work produced in class. Any class tests are administered at the discretion of the class teacher. We report the results of any tests to parents along with teacher assessments.
  • Record Keeping
    8.4 On a weekly, lesson by lesson, basis staff note the pupils that exceed or struggle to meet lesson objectives (this is often annotated on the class teachers planning).
  • 8.5 SC1 attainment charts are located in the front of individual science books, all pupils are aware of the level that they are working towards and what they need to do to get to the next level.
  1. Monitoring and Review
  • 9.1 It is the responsibility of the science subject leader to monitor the standards of children’s work and the quality of teaching in science. The science subject leader is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of science, for being informed about current developments in the subject and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The science subject leader will have allocated time for monitoring as outlined in the school development plan.
  • 9.2 Monitoring of the science curriculum throughout the school may take the form of:
    • Lesson Observations.
    • Looking at books and planning.
    • Formal and informal discussion with staff.
    • Pupil Interviews/ Group Assessment Tasks
  1. Health and Safety
  • 10.1 One of the most important working principals for science is that it can and should be fun. There are however certain intrinsic dangers associated with science and it is every teacher’s responsibility to provide for the well-being of their pupils.
  • 10.2 Basic safety recommendations are as follows:
    • The safe use of equipment is promoted at all times.
    • Staff and pupils are fully aware of the possible hazards of the equipment and substances that they are using in science.
    • Pupils are encouraged to be familiar with safety procedures.
    • Extra care is taken when teaching objectives that involve tasting and smelling. (The general rule is that substances should never be tasted or smelt in science.)
    • Extra care is taken to ensure the protection of children with allergies when using chemical/biological substances.
    • When plants and animals are studied they are always treated with due care and respect, and where possible in their natural environment. Where it is not possible, they are collected and studied without harm and returned to their natural habitat as soon as possible.