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8 March 2024
By The Education People

Unlocking Potential - Your Guide to a Successful Science Week

A national celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, run by the British Science Association (BSA), has now been running for 30 years!

In celebration of this anniversary, the BSA is partnering with the Royal Observatory Greenwich to bring this year’s theme, Time, to life.

"The idea behind the programme is to raise awareness, spark enthusiasm and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths with people of all ages and from all walks of life."

FAQ British Science Week 2024

Here at The Education People, we’re proud to work with science experts, ex-teachers, trainers and ex-senior leaders to support your school in promoting this wonderful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opportunity through not only Science Week, but throughout the entire academic year.

Celebrate British Science Week and Maximise Its Impact in Your School

Following the arrival of the national curriculum in 1993, science teaching in primary schools developed at pace and focussed on pupils developing ‘a sense of excitement and curiosity’ about the scientific world.

Since the removal of National Curriculum Science Tests in 2009 the 2019 Primary Science Review, quoting two surveys, highlighted concerning trends in the teaching of primary science and pupil outcomes at the end of Key Stage 2.

  • Far fewer hours of primary science were being taught in 2020 than previously.
  • Only 31% of respondents to the survey said that their senior leaders saw science as ‘very important’ (contrasting with 88% for English and 86% for mathematics).
  • in 2018, just 21.2% of the 8,139 Year 6 pupils tested were estimated to have reached the expected standard in science, a decrease of nearly 7 percentage points since 2014.
  • Only just over half of pupils in Years 7 and 8 felt that the science they had learned in primary school prepared them well for learning science at secondary school.
  • worryingly, the report highlighted that pupils regularly experience ‘fun activities’ without developing a deep understanding of the associated scientific concepts.

Primary Science Review 2019

In theory, Science Week should provide a stimulating focus for staff and pupils to reignite the excitement and curiosity which is so important to science teaching and learning. However, the temptation is to think of the week in isolation, as a series of unrelated activities which do not seamlessly integrate with your existing curriculum. In other words, pupils experience the ‘fun activities’ identified above without developing that all important deeper understanding, an essential factor for true learning. It is extremely important to encourage this understanding and provoke thoughtful, scientific questioning throughout the entire year. Focussing on the substantive and developing knowledge, Science Week can be used within your classroom as a catalyst to spark an interest in the subject for all students. Continuing this, and building on the excitement of Science Week year on year, can potentially mould otherwise disengaged students into budding young scientists, doctors, physicists and more.

What Do We Know About Teaching Primary Science?

The Subject report series: science makes clear recommendations on how to positively and successfully teach science within and outside of the classroom, relating directly to the curriculum.

Where curriculum thinking was strong, leaders:

  • identified clearly what they wanted pupils to know and do, and then selected the best activity to teach it
  • ensured that pupils were developing, over time, their knowledge of substantive concepts such as ‘habitat’ or ‘force’
  • helped pupils to see the relevance of what they were learning, for example by highlighting science in the news, organising educational trips to museums and revealing real-world applications of scientific knowledge.

The Education Endowment Foundation, Improving Primary Science Guidance Report identifies and exemplifies key principles and six key recommendations in teaching primary science:

  1. develop pupils’ scientific vocabulary
  2. encourage pupils to explain their thinking, whether verbally or in written form
  3. guide pupils to work scientifically
  4. relate new learning to relevant real-world contexts
  5. use assessment to support learning and responsive teaching
  6. strengthen science teaching through an effective professional development, as part of an implementation process.
"Teaching science in primary school isn’t solely about achieving strong attainment outcomes: many teachers will understand the joy of sparking pupils’ curiosity and motivating them to explore a subject more deeply."
"High-quality teaching at an early age does much to support pupil attainment that can facilitate a pathway towards further study in science, and foster aspirations to be scientists."

Education Endowment Foundation 2023

Taking these points into consideration, the quality of the teaching of primary science directly impacts the engagement of the pupils within the classroom.

Unlocking Science Success - The Perfect Solution for Your Classroom

The Education People’s Primary Science Scheme of Work provides teachers with a comprehensive toolkit boasting resources, ideas and support documents to ensure your science classes are filled with value, engagement and enthusiasm. Teaching primary science as an interactive exploration whilst successfully developing substantive and disciplinary knowledge is key to meeting Ofsted expectations.

With the support of our scheme, we believe every school, teacher and pupil have the opportunity to be great!

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Please click on the buttons below to view our other science resources and training events.