Science Intent

Science at Courtney Primary inspires, excites and develops children’s curiosity whilst teaching them the knowledge and skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. In their lessons, children are not passively taught science but rather become scientists in active, practical sessions that allow them to discover knowledge for themselves through their application of scientific skills.

We endeavour to use science to build cultural capital and provide children with valuable life experiences that will enable them to become socially mobile in later life. This may be a visit from individuals in science professions to talk about future careers to our Year 5s and 6s or our science bulletins which highlight recent discoveries or inventions around the world. Children study famous scientists and are taught about how the topic they are studying links to scientific career paths. 

We ensure that the working scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout children’s time at the Courtney so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting investigations, building conclusions and, most importantly, asking questions and being curious about their surroundings. We aim to build pupils’ scientific vocabulary throughout their time at school so they are able to develop an understanding of science in the real-world and articulate their ideas. In this way, we hope to provide children with valuable knowledge, experiences and skills that they can utilise in later life.


Science Implementation

Science is taught through three science enquiries during the year that are spaced every other term. At Courtney Primary, the books read at the end of the day are linked to the science topics so that knowledge can be in-depth and embedded. Non-fiction texts are also used throughout an enquiry in order for children to research findings to scientific questions and discover knowledge for themselves. Science skills as set out in the National Curriculum are not taught separately but used as a vehicle for children to discover knowledge (see right). Throughout their enquiry, children ask questions and decide which type of scientific enquiry would be best to answer them including observing over time, pattern seeking, identifying and classifying, researching using secondary sources and conducting comparative and fair tests.

Science skills and knowledge are taught in a systematic, sequenced order throughout an enquiry and over the year in order to build on pupils’ prior learning. Flashbacks are used at the start of each lesson which recap learning from previous science enquiries as well as the lesson before. This retrieval practice aims to enhance and boost learning as well as allowing the teacher to assess pupils’ recall. Where an overall weakness is observed, the teacher will respond to this the following lesson, addressing gaps and ensuring fundamental concepts are secure. Where all recall from previous enquiries is found to be strong, the opportunity is taken the following lesson to revisit a key concept with deepened layers of complexity. Flashbacks to learning in previous science topics is also used as morning work once a week in the terms where science is not being taught in order to ensure learning is continuously revisited and retrieved.

The teachers and subject leader have high expectations of every pupil and learning is challenging to ensure that every child is extended. The needs of every child are identified and steps are taken to ensure that these needs are met. In science, this can involve; pairing non-technical and technical vocabulary, visual aids, breaking learning into smaller steps and providing additional resources when needed. Twice a week, a post-teach session is conducted when pupils have not understood the concept from the lesson before. The teacher will work with a small group so gaps are filled before moving on to prevent misconceptions from forming and ensuring gaps of misunderstanding are minimised for all pupils. Children working at greater depth in science are extended with challenges which requires them to reason more deeply about the learning covered in the lesson.

Science at Courtney is taught in a way that drives children’s curiosity and enjoyment in science. Alongside the enquiries, children’s engagement in science is fostered by STEM week, World Ocean’s Day, Mad Science Club and science assemblies.  Our large school grounds are used frequently to assist in the study of plants, life-cycles, habitats, animals and the seasons. We also teach children about broader world issues such as climate change and plastic pollution and in this way develop them as responsible, active citizens through The Big Plastic Count, our eco-committee and the Big Garden Birdwatch. Children’s learning and engagement is also fostered through science trips and visitors such as Explorer Dome, Bristol Museum and We The Curious.


Early Years Foundation Stage

During EYFS, pupils explore the natural world through a combination of child initiated and adult directed activities.

They have the opportunities to:

• Observe closely and record findings through drawings

• Identify plants, animals, the weather, seasons and materials and explore similarities and differences between them

• Observe the lifecycle of plants and animals

• Explore senses and name body parts

  • Begin to learn how humans stay healthy


Science Impact

Formative assessment is used throughout an enquiry by teachers to ensure that key concepts are understood and children have a thorough, rather than superficial understanding of the topic they have studied. Throughout an enquiry, lessons are flexible so that teaching can be adapted in light of this assessment in order to respond to a class’ learning and clear feedback is given to ensure that any gaps or misconceptions can be addressed. In addition to ongoing assessment, children carry out an exit ticket at the end of an enquiry to demonstrate what they have learnt. This provides the teacher with information about which children have a secure understanding and what gaps might still need to be filled. As a result, pupils leave Courtney with a deep understanding of the topics covered and are able to transfer this knowledge to a range of situations, skills and subjects.

At Courtney we develop a secure foundation in biology, chemistry and physics. Our pupils demonstrate a love of science and a desire to widen their knowledge through questioning. Due to their knowledge of scientific processes they are able to avoid misconceptions and can explain why they are not correct using rich scientific vocabulary. Additionally, they can plan, carry out and present scientific experiments, using their knowledge to inform them. In this way children will be equipped with the scientific skills and knowledge needed for the start of secondary school and their future beyond Courtney Primary.

Science Skills progression
Science Threads