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Chaddlewood Primary School

Chaddlewood Primary School


Joe Conway
Science Co-ordinator


'A Chaddlewood scientist has the skills, knowledge, techniques and enthusiasm  to ask questions and find answers while working scientifically. They have amassed an understanding of scientific areas in a progressive way and have developed the vocabulary and recording skills to describe what they are learning and discovering about the world.'

How is Science planned at Chaddlewood? 

Science lessons are driven by key questions, facilitating an enquiry-based approach to learning, which is underpinned by the National Curriculum programmes of study for each unit. Lessons are driven by these key questions, with each lesson seeking to answer a specific question that is linked to the overall scheme of work. Key questions are developed from the National Curriculum statutory requirements. By focusing on the key knowledge, we ensure that pupil understanding is secure and carefully sequenced to expedite the progression of scientific learning.

Interplay between substantive and disciplinary knowledge can be observed during practical activities, where pupils are actively encouraged to make links between what they know (substantive knowledge) and how to apply this (disciplinary knowledge). Pupils are encouraged to recognise that the application of disciplinary knowledge helps them acquire new knowledge or adapt their thinking. Links between substantive and disciplinary knowledge, the products and the practices of science, are made explicit. This ensures that pupils not only know ‘the science’; they also know the evidence for it and can use this knowledge to work scientifically. Teaching at Chaddlewood develops pupils’ substantive knowledge and their disciplinary knowledge simultaneously through carefully sequenced units of work, with opportunities for the application of knowledge woven into schemes of learning, rather than serving as standalone lessons.

The planning format is designed in phases with immersion, review and assessment and knowledge rich sections intrinsic to the plans. Planning provides the opportunity to embed previous learning and develop links between lessons and key concepts. By revisiting previously taught knowledge and concepts, key knowledge is brought to the forefront of pupils’ working memory, supporting cognitive load and allowing pupils to make new connections in their learning. Connections are also made at the beginning of a science topic, where explicit links are made to when the topic was previously taught (e.g. Y6 Electricity will look at the key knowledge taught in Y4 Electricity) to consolidate and deepen understanding, allowing pupils to use what they have previously learnt to help them.

Disciplinary Concepts

Why are these our key concepts?

Through the reading of the National Curriculum, the Research Review Series: Science and Chris Quigley. We were able to review planning and identify key components of lessons that create effective teaching in Science. 

How do we check that pupils have understood before we move on? 

We begin every science unit with a KW Grid to ascertain children’s prior knowledge (against the key questions) and gaps in previous learning. This is used as a mechanism to shape the planning for the module and  ensures that time is not wasted teaching knowledge that the children already have. Lessons are always adapted accordingly. At the beginning of a science topic, pupils are exposed to the key questions from when that topic was previously taught  (e.g. Y6 Electricity will look at the key knowledge taught in Y4 Electricity) and explicit links are made to the key knowledge that was taught to consolidate and deepen understanding, allowing pupils to use what they have previously learned to help them and allowing teachers to address any misconceptions.

We use retrieval practice or 'challenge grids' to support the development of key knowledge and ensure the essential themes of each subject are taught and embedded, gauging the children's learning and understanding of the key questions. Planning is then adapted accordingly based on children’s outcomes.

Assessments are made formatively and summatively using the KW and retrieval grids. In year 5 and 6, children move on to complete a more open-ended retrieval activity which gives them scope to share a wide breadth of understanding in relation to the key questions taught.

We use an impact document to measure the effectiveness of our learning. Content or lessons which were not effective are then changed for the following year. Information is fed back to previous teachers if it was felt that the knowledge from that year was also not secure enough. 

Termly book scrutinies are completed by the science coordinator, who monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the key concepts, particularly disciplinary literacy.  Key knowledge, knowledge retrieval, clarity of subject content and working scientifically skills are also evaluated.