By the time they leave Northgate we aim for our children to;
Have experienced an engaging and challenging curriculum which inspires questions, nurtures curiosity and celebrates investigative skills; enabling children to deepen their own understanding of the world around them through exploration and enquiry.
The purpose of the Futura Learning Partnership cross-phase Science Curriculum is to provide the children with the scientific knowledge and skills that they need in order to be successful in their future lives and make a contribution to the wider community.
We aim to generate enthusiasm towards Science by providing children with thought-provoking, first-hand experiences and opportunities to investigate ideas. At Northgate, we actively involve the community in our learning through STEM fairs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), science weeks, external visitors, trips and STEM ambassadors.
In providing fun and challenging lessons, we endeavour to secure and extend their scientific knowledge and vocabulary, in order to develop their confidence to form their own opinions to articulate themselves effectively.
We want our children to feel empowered; equipped with the skills to question their experiences and observations, and to take enjoyment from exploring phenomena in an ever-changing world.
We believe that Science encompasses the acquisition of scientific knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes. It provides a methodology for finding reliable answers to questions about the world around us, and for understanding Science on a personal, national and global level. As the children progress through our curriculum, their enquiry skills become increasingly more challenging and demand a greater level of independence. Similarly, their understanding of concepts and scientific knowledge is deepened, and specialist vocabulary is extended with each unit.
At Northgate Primary School, we facilitate this progression by creating positive classroom cultures in which questions are valued, existing knowledge is explored, and the learners contribute to their own learning journeys.
Wherever possible, Science is integrated into the wider curriculum theme to ensure exciting and purposeful learning experiences for our children. This begins in EYFS, where understanding of the world is underpinned by playing and exploring, creating and thinking. They are given opportunities to talk, to question their familiar and natural world and to observe animals, plants and changes. This is achieved through small world activities, water tray games, Forest School, teacher-led tasks and opportunistic learning.
Developed by a team of primary and secondary subject specialists across the partnership, the Futura objectives adhere to the National Curriculum but are carefully sequenced to ensure that each year’s prior learning is reinforced and increases in complexity. Each phase (KS1, LKS2 and UKS2) complete the same Futura objectives, however in progressing from one year group to the next e.g. Year 1 to Year 2, pupils gradually progress in their skills and knowledge through basic, advancing and deep to achieve sustained mastery at the end of the 2 year cycle. Using the Futura cross-phase curriculum, many units are revisited and deepened throughout the school, building on pupils’ prior knowledge, understanding of concepts and vocabulary. ‘Animals including humans’ exemplifies this as it begins with the senses in Year 1 and gradually progresses to the circulatory system in Year 6.
In order for children to assimilate new knowledge and specialist vocabulary, they need to obtain a secure understanding of the scientific concepts taught previously. Therefore, teachers use formative assessment such as concept cartoons, retrieval questioning, KWL grids and discussion prior to starting a unit of work in order to address misconceptions and personalise the starting point to meet the needs and interests of the learners. Exposure to technical language in context combined with unit-specific knowledge organisers, ensures that our children become increasingly confident understanding and applying specialist vocabulary. Other units, such as ‘Sound’, are not explicitly taught prior to, or after Year 4 in primary school and are therefore introduced earlier on in the year to ensure time to revisit and secure understanding if necessary.
Wherever possible, the teaching and learning of science is enhanced by educational visits and trips to create “WOW” moments. For example, Reception, Year 1 and Year 5 all use the explorer dome to deepen the understanding of their respective units. Reception learn about the different environments around the earth, Year 1 focus on the sun, moon and stars and Year 5 begin to explore the planets. Similarly, the outdoor environment and locality is used to enthuse children, as well as advance their investigative skills and scientific enquiry. For example, Year 3 create their own pollinator garden to observe and compare requirements for growth in flowering plants.
Science week also helps to raise the profile of science in school and allows the children to experience a range of exciting activities, mini-projects and opportunities for enquiry. We want our children to have high aspirations for themselves, and we promote this by celebrating the achievements of past and current scientists around the world. As frequently as possible, children are exposed to current scientific developments through the news. Northgate is working closely with a company called Space Detectives, an organisation with close links with ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office). The school wishes to deepen the children’s science capital through the topic of space and are working towards their Space Education Quality Mark (SEQM). The SEQM is an award given to schools that have used the context of space to enhance learning across their setting.
At Northgate, we also have access to a wealth of high-quality secondary sources and subject-specific non-fiction texts from Somerset Library Service. This ensures that children can conduct their own research into a unit of study during structured lesson time, or for pleasure during free reading.