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Ferndale Primary School and Nursery’s Science Vision and Policy

Vision and Aims

At Ferndale, we aim to provide engaging, memorable and first-hand experiences for all of our learners. We recognise that children are naturally curious and ask questions about the world around them. Albert Einstein stated that “The important thing is to never stop questioning.” Our intent is to continue to promote that curiosity about their surroundings and support children on their path to discovering the answers. This is carefully scaffolded and planned for through inclusive, practical and purposeful lessons. Quality first teaching and teacher-directed instructions ensure that both substantive (scientific concepts) and disciplinary (working scientifically skills) knowledge is progressively built upon as children journey through Ferndale. Overall, Ferndale’s aim is to instil a lifelong love of science. We do this by building on children’s science capital, providing career aspirations and empowering children to view themselves as scientists.

Purpose of Study

Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity. In an ever-changing society, we want children to leave Ferndale with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to support them in successfully become the next generation of scientists. We want them to change lives and have the necessary skills, and confidence, to continue questioning, exploring and discovering long after leaving Ferndale.

The National Curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature processes and methods of science through different types of scientific enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

At Ferndale, we recognise that high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world. Therefore, children are supported in building their knowledge and concepts of physics, biology and chemistry through ‘knowledge and understanding’ objectives specific for year groups and in line with the National Curriculum (2013). Throughout their journey through the school, children cover a variety of science topics which are progressively built upon to enable children a deeper understanding of the concepts taught. The topics covered in each year group are as follows:

Early Years

Understanding the world

Year 1


Animals including humans

Everyday humans

Seasonal change

Year 2


Animals including humans

Living things and their habitats

Uses of everyday materials



Year 3


Animals including humans



Forces and Magnets

Year 4

Animals including humans

Living things and their habitats

States of matter



Year 5

Animals including humans

Living things and their habitats

Properties and changes of materials


Earth and Space

Year 6

Animals including humans

Living things and their habitats

Evolution and Inheritance




Underpinning this learning, children are also explicitly taught disciplinary (‘working scientifically’) knowledge skills to enable them to understand the nature, processes and methods scientists go through. Children are taught new skills through this discipline in years 1, 3 and 5, with time being provided to consolidate and practise the skills in year 2, 4 and 6. Children are then encouraged to use both their substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have developed when carrying out one of the five scientific enquiry types as outlined in the National Curriculum. This further supports children in embedding and deepening their knowledge and in viewing themselves as scientists.

The Teaching of Science at Ferndale

Our aims and purpose are implemented through continuous provision in Early Years; enabling our youngest scientists to begin exploring, questioning and start developing an understanding the world around them. Investigation stations are carefully planned for and resourced to enable children to develop their curiosity and begin to wonder, question and explore the world around them. 

In years 1-6, this is implemented through carefully planned and sequenced lessons which ensure all children have opportunity for first hand experiences in order to explore and fully embed the scientific concepts and skills they are taught. This allows for progression in both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. The topics, and learning objectives, which are outlined on the school’s progression map (and linked to the National Curriculum), are taught in a variety of ways. Mostly, this takes place through weekly lessons but science can also become a focus for the week, for example in Year 6 where the children dissect hearts to consolidate their learning about the circulatory system and healthy hearts. For some terms, science is the main topic and cross curricular links are made with other subjects, at other times, science is a ‘stand-alone’ subject. However, links are continuously made between both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge taught in both previous year and other subjects, such as in maths and DT, where possible to ensure children understand the ‘golden thread’ and can make connections within their knowledge.

In the majority of lessons, where applicable, both substantive and disciplinary skills are modelled and taught. Practical activities are selected to be purposeful in supporting the children with applying and embedding new skills and knowledge. Where necessary, learning objectives taken from the progression map are broken down into small chunks allowing for children to be secure in their knowledge and understanding, before moving on in their learning. Children are then supported and scaffolded in using their knowledge and understanding to carry out one of the scientific enquiry types. Each term, they will carry out at least one enquiry type; with all types having being explored during the course of the academic year. All of this supports children in developing a secure foundation and deeper understanding before moving this learning on the next time they visit the concept or topic.

At Ferndale, we believe it is important that our science lessons provide children with plenty of opportunity for discussion and to continue questioning what they see around them and what they already know so as to increase their science capital. Each lesson provides time for children to collaborate with their peers; discussing and sharing their understanding while having chance to practise using key scientific vocabulary. This is constantly modelled and used by the class teacher through their teaching and explanations, providing a language rich environment; scaffolding and encouraging children in using key vocabulary in the correct context alongside practising their oracy skills.

Alongside meaningful and hands-on experiences happening each lesson, opportunity is also provided for children to make connections within their learning; recapping and reinforcing key concepts before progressing onto the next step in their learning. Teachers are aware of the journey children have already made and know where children will be going as they continue on their journey through the school. Elicitation before starting a new topic supports teachers in their planning and enables them to ensure children are both supported and challenged within their learning. This approach to teaching and learning ensures that the skills and knowledge acquired within each year group have a solid foundation to build upon as children move on their journey through the school.

We strongly believe that through quality first teaching and meeting the needs of all our learners we are supporting children in seeing themselves as scientists. At least one scientist and career linked to that knowledge is shared with children within each topic. This provides all children with career aspirations and supports them in developing their science capital. Additionally, it challenges children’s views of what scientists look like and supports them in seeing that science is for everyone- including them. Inclusive lessons ensure that all children are supported within science and we ensure that recording or writing does not become a barrier for children being able to share their substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

Resources to support Science teaching and learning

There are plenty of science resources available to support the teaching and learning of science in a practical and meaningful way. These enable lessons to provide first hand experiences, making the learning memorable and engaging for all. Additionally, books to support each topic have been provided for every year group and a subscription to the science ‘Whizz, Pop, Bang’ magazine ensures new reading resources are delivered every month. These are then distributed by the science co-ordinator to support science topics in relevant year groups, develop science capital and provide scientists and career aspirations to children. Plenty of resources and supporting documents have been shared by the subject co-ordinator to enhance and support science teaching, including the website ‘Explorify’. This provide opportunity for oracy skills to be developed, engaging discussion, understanding and misconceptions to be identified and addressed, and chance for children to practise using key vocabulary in context.

Assessment in Science

Assessment forms an important aspect of science teaching and learning; helping to inform subsequent stages of teaching and monitoring the impact of our science teaching. Teachers use the PLAN science documents to enable them to make connection to the children’s previous and future learning. These also include common misconceptions linked to that area of learning so teachers can adapt their teaching to address and correct these. Teachers may also use elicitation tasks or ‘KWL’ grids to gain insight into children’s knowledge and understanding before beginning to teach that topic. This enables them to begin their teaching in the right place for all learners so they can build upon their previous knowledge.

At the start of each lesson, children are encouraged to revisit and reflect upon their understanding from last lesson (or previous years) to ensure effective progression within that lesson and the topic. This can be completed through Concept Cartoons, Explorify, HeadStart science questions and teacher questioning.

In each science lesson, teachers use ‘science stickers’ in the books to share both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge being taught and assessed that lesson. Teacher marking and feedback against the stickers and objectives allows teachers to monitor and assess the child’s substantive and disciplinary understanding. Work in the books, observing children’s working scientifically skills during practical activity, discussions and questions (linked to Bloom’s Taxonomy) all support the teacher in making accurate assessment of children in science. Additionally, teachers are encouraged to use at least one of the TAPS (Teacher Assessment in Primary Science) activities per term to support teacher assessment, particularly regarding assessment of the disciplinary (working scientifically) skills. A range of assessment methods ensures that an inclusive, efficient and accurate approach is taken to ensure children are effectively supported and challenged within science.

What the Children say about Science in Ferndale

We know we are successful and have a positive impact with our intent and implementation by speaking to the children who are at the heart of everything we do at Ferndale.

 “I enjoy science because every time you get to learn something new.”

“I like the experiments and being able to use the things we do because we might not get the chance to do them otherwise.”    

“We learn so much and we get to do so many fun things at Ferndale and we have a great opportunity to learn.”

“Practical experiences help me to understand better.”

“I enjoy all of the experiments and everything we do in science. Some schools might not do that.”

“Science is fun because we learn lots of new things and get to have a go.”

“We get to have a go and test something to see if it works. If we didn’t use science, we wouldn’t know whether it does or not.”  



We are excited to be in our forth year of partnership with the Ogden Trust. This collaboration, set up with support from the Ogden Trust, involves some primary schools and a secondary school from within Swindon. Termly meetings provide an opportunity to share good practise and hold professional conversations.

As the hub (lead) school, the science coordinator attends yearly training sessions to support the teaching and learning of science, primarily in physics, across the school. Additionally, we are fortunate enough to have received CPD training, resources and support for teachers within specific science topics, such as Earth and Space.

Throughout our time within the partnership, we have participated in science competitions to raise an awareness of science being all around us and develop children’s science capital. Furthermore, we aim to develop and provide career aspirations for children through resourcing topic books to support learning. Funding from the Ogden Trust enabled us to set up ‘science bags’ comprising of a telescope and stargazing books which our year 5 children have the opportunity to take home. Every year of the partnership, some of our children have attended ‘science days’ at the secondary school in the partnership. All of these opportunities we are able to provide for our children through the partnership have further helped support and promote a love of science with children viewing themselves as scientists.