At Deer Park School we intend for all pupils to be ambitious scientific learners and to have secure subject knowledge in a wide breadth of scientific topics, as well as develop the knowledge necessary to conduct effective enquiry and investigation. We intend for our pupils to gain a rich, secure body of domain-specific knowledge of the products and practices of science, including how scientific knowledge is established through enquiry and investigation. Through our carefully sequenced curriculum offer we aim to provide our pupils with a depth of substantive and disciplinary knowledge, and to support them to use this knowledge to work scientifically. The sequenced content of our curriculum is specifically designed to empower our pupils acquire the knowledge they need to carry out practical work successfully, and to gain meaningful knowledge from these enquiry activities.
Our curriculum is structured into the three subject disciplines of science: biology, chemistry and physics. Within this structure, pupils build increasingly sophisticated knowledge of the products and practices of science. The structure of the curriculum allows pupils to build knowledge sequentially, through focused units which develop extensive and connected knowledge. We teach through direct, explicit instruction within these subject disciplines, to ensure our pupils build a wealth of substantive knowledge in combination with the disciplinary knowledge needed to carry out investigations skilfully and productively. Both substantive and disciplinary knowledge are taught directly, and not reduced to generalisable skills. The repetition of core concepts with an increasing depth of complexity and knowledge, ensures that pupils build schemas of connected understanding that are securely remembered in their long-term memory, supported through activities carefully chosen to match the curriculum content. Practical lessons are regular within our teaching sequence, as part of our wider teaching sequence that allows pupils to connect theory to observation.
Pupil progress in science at Deer Park draws on the cognitive principle that pupils are more likely to remember knowledge if they practice retrieving it of extended periods of time. Frequent, low stakes, formative quizzes mean that our pupils practice transferring information from their long term to their working memory, and teachers and leaders are able to accurately assess children’s progress. Our sequenced curriculum, explicit teaching pedagogy and knowledge-focused approach mean that pupils are able to demonstrate strong scientific knowledge across year groups, including in statutory teacher assessments at key stages one and two. At the end of their primary school journey, our pupils leave for secondary school with a secure knowledge base in each of the three scientific disciplines, and a strong understanding of how informed scientific enquiry is used to develop and grow our knowledge.