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Throughout the school we teach science to inspire children, facilitate their acquisition of scientific knowledge and develop their curiosity whilst building a rich scientific vocabulary. Opportunities for real and relevant practical activities are an essential part our science teaching and learning from the Early Years through to Key Stage 2.  Our Science curriculum introduces our children to the nature, processes and methods of science, through a range of exciting themes, focusing on biology, chemistry and physics. It is our intention that pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating and connecting substantive and disciplinary scientific knowledge.

  • Substantive knowledge- this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content

  • Disciplinary knowledge– this considers how scientific knowledge originates and is revised. The National Curriculum for science details this through the Working Scientifically objectives. It is through disciplinary knowledge that children gradually become more expert by thinking like a scientist and we refer to these as the Science Skills at St. Mary’s CE Primary School.

Key knowledge and concepts, informed by the National Curriculum, are mapped out clearly within each key stage to ensure clear and quality progression throughout the school. By the end of year 6, it is our intention that the scientists who leave our school will be able to eloquently and accurately articulate their learning journey and celebrate their experiences and successes. 


At St. Mary’s CE Primary School, scientific knowledge is taught explicitly in science lessons so that children know more, remember more and can do more. Substantive knowledge is organised into key blocks as follows: plants; animals, including humans; living things and their habitats; materials (incl. properties and changes); state of matter; rocks; light; sound; forces; magnets; electricity, Earth and space; and evolution and inheritance. The science curriculum has been mapped out carefully to ensure coverage of the national curriculum objectives and is taught in a two- year cycle to cater for teaching mixed age groups.  Our Early Years Curriculum is carefully planned and implemented to enable children to achieve the Early Learning Goal (ELGs) through the Understanding the World - children explore and describe the world around them through their senses.

To ensure our curriculum is taught to develop cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage we follow the stages outlined below:

1.)    Substantive knowledge for each subject is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to ensure our children learn cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage.

2.)    Disciplinary knowledge from the ‘working scientifically’ strand is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to enable children to apply their knowledge as skills.

3.)    Explicit teaching of vocabulary is central to children’s ability to connect new knowledge with prior learning. A cover sheet is stuck into Science books at the start of each term, this includes subject specific vocabulary, as well as the learning intentions and science skills, which will be covered in the unit. The first lesson focusses on subject specific vocabulary where the children unpick the meaning to consolidate their understanding. They are then encouraged to use these words throughout the topic.

4.)    Spaced retrieval practice, through questioning, quizzes and peer-explanations, further consolidates the transfer of information from working memory to long-term memory. At the end of each unit of work, the class are presented with an assessment sheet which are primarily learning strategies to improve retrieval practice.

5.)    The use of knowledge organisers keeps essential information together. Our knowledge organisers include the learning intentions, subject specific vocabulary and questions to ignite thinking. At the start of each unit, these are shared with the class and extended to our school families to encourage discussions about Science at home as well as in school.

Our stunning outside environment is widely used to support practical hands-on learning, alongside trips and visits from experts, to enhance the pupil’s learning experience, especially during our dedicated Science week.


Our Science curriculum ensures that children leave St Mary’s CE Primary School, Washington:

  • Are ambitious and knowledgeable learners; enthusiastic about science.

  • Pupils are able to demonstrate their new scientific knowledge, skills and understanding through ‘choice work.’

  • Use scientific vocabulary to describe and explain the world around them.

  • With an understanding of what good teamwork is through working together in groups to discover and observe science in action.

  • Can show that they are actively curious to learn more and are able to see the relevance of what they learn in science lessons.

  • Are resilient learners and able to apply learning to real-life situations; recognising the importance of science in the real world.

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