At Oaklands Junior School, we recognise the importance of Science in all aspects of daily life. Our lessons are taught in conjunction with the National Curriculum with the prioritisation of cross-curricular links and hands on learning.

By the end of Year 6, we would ensure that our pupils have acquired knowledge across a range of topics and strands of Science. They should be able to use scientific vocabulary to articulate their knowledge and explain their thinking. We would expect our pupils to use their knowledge and understanding to recognise patterns, hypothesise and make sensible predictions. Finally, pupils should be able to apply their knowledge to independently designing and conducting experiments to extend their thinking further. The children should be able to draw out conclusions from these investigations, evaluate the results and suggest how the findings are useful to daily life and the future. Coinciding with our Thinking School and Oaklands’ Mindset approach, we would aim for our pupils to have developed inquisitive minds in order for them to continue their enjoyment in the learning of Science.


At Oaklands Junior School, our Science curriculum closely follows the National curriculum whilst aiming to create an engaging and rich learning experience. This is done through the use of cross-curricular links where possible. These meaningful links help to broaden and solidify understanding of topics and promote an immersive and holistic learning environment. For example, Year 6 make circuits with switches for their Design and Technology topic on Fairground rides, Year 5 combine their Living Things topic with their Rainforest unit of work, Year 4 link their Iron Man Design and Technology topic with electricity and creating circuits and Year 3 use their knowledge of rocks to create Stone Age cave art.

Science is also a basis for our outdoor learning activities. At Oaklands Junior School we are lucky to have a diverse range of environments including a pond and woodland area.

Science is taught by the class teacher on a weekly basis, covering the range of topics specific to that year group set out by the National curriculum. Each year group has five topics to cover which span over a half-term. Our three key concepts of Science implement the basis of our planning with an aim of embedding experimental work more regularly in to all of the topics.

The three main strands of Science are knowledge, understanding and experimenting We use these key concepts as a sequence to frame our planning.


Knowledge based learning at Oaklands Junior School is one of our strengths. We use a wealth of resources to ensure good engagement within the topics and to provide a range of stimulus. When teaching a topic, the children are exposed to the correct Scientific vocabulary and are encouraged to use this both orally and in written word. At Oaklands Junior School, we understand that having a secure knowledge base is a fundamental building block to the other two stands of Science.


Once the children have a secure knowledge base of the topic, the next step that they are given is to explain and describe what they see, make comparisons and notice patterns. They would also be expected to justify their thinking using the correct Scientific vocabulary, which ties in with our Oaklands’ Mindset and Thinking School ethos.


This concept is particularly enjoyed by the children, who engage well in investigations. A planning template (see Appendix A), linked with our Thinking Schools ethos, has been created to give a clear sequence to experiments. In lower Key Stage two, modelled writing and writing frames are used to support learning whereas in upper school, more of an independent approach is taken.

When conducting investigations, the children in lower school are provided with guided steps of how to meet the aim. Each investigation focuses on an investigation step eg. prediction, method, results, conclusion, evaluation. Appendix B shows a prompt sheet that is used to support the children within each investigation aspect and Appendix C shows examples of the focus sheets used when looking at one particular aspect.

As the children become more confident, they are encouraged to design experiments more independently, focussing on ensuring that the tests are carried out as fairly and accurately as possible. By year 6 the expectation is that they have a good understanding of all the steps within a scientific investigation and can design and carry them out accurately.  In every year group, the children are encouraged to use their knowledge and understanding to make accurate predictions and apply that to their investigation. Once the results have been collected, the children are taught how to draw conclusions and evaluate the effectiveness and findings of the experiment.

In addition to the traditional approach to investigations at Oaklands we also build in opportunities for the children to work things out for themselves through play and exploration. The observations made by the children in these experiences are just as valid and important as other forms of experimenting but have the advantage of not having to be carried out formally.


We assess our children within these three strands. Knowledge and understanding can be assessed through verbal contributions and class work. We also use Headstart end of topic tests, which are useful in ascertaining how much the children have retained throughout the topic and which areas are their strengths. Access arrangements are always made for children who need extra time or where reading is a barrier. However, we recognise that formal assessments are not the only way to assess children, particularly in Science. We are now using a combination of active assessments in Scientific enquiries and short lesson based tasks in addition to the Headstart tests to make sure we have a true reflection of the children’s capabilities. Active assessment is a form of assessment where questioning, observation and listening to the children allows the teacher to gain an understanding of the pupil’s ability within a topic or investigation work.

Celebrating Science at our school

In addition to our weekly Science lessons, we look to engage the children’s interest in Science by hosting Science weeks where the children participate in a range of Science activities. We invite members of our community to give inspirational talks about how Science is applied in their jobs and the vast array of career opportunities within this field. We also have themed days, opportunities to enter STEM competitions and attend educational visits with Science themes. This year we hosted our own Science Fair which was hugely successful. The Year 2s were invited from Oaklands Infants school and all the children enjoyed seeing all the science that had gone on throughout the school.   

Examples of events are: Winchester Big Bang, Space Dome, Wellington Spectacular and Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) fairs at a variety of venues.

If participation at these events is limited we prioritise PPG and HA children to help give them the opportunities science can give them.

Indirectly science is seen in other subjects too such as in Design and Technology through engineering projects and cooking. Where links can be applied and made the language of science is used to help explain processes.


At the end of Year 6 will have a level of competency in the following concepts


  • Gained knowledge across a range topic (five per year) and across the different strands of science.
  • Be able to recognise and start to understand complex processes such as evolution and inheritance.
  • Be able to use the correct scientific vocabulary to describe processes and label scientific diagrams correctly eg. parts of the circulatory system.


  • The children can describe and explain how different processes work using the correct terminology.
  • They can classify items based on its’ characteristics and justify their reasoning.
  • They can find patterns and makes associations based on their prior knowledge.


  • They can conduct independent experiments to answer questions. Draw conclusions and include an evaluation using the thinking tool ‘Think, commit, justify and reflect’
  • They can apply their scientific knowledge in experimental process and use as evidence to justify ideas.
  • They use a range of scientific vocabulary with correct spelling and pronunciation.
  • Be competent at taking measurements using a range of scientific equipment. Understand the need to repeat readings when appropriate.
  • They understand fair testing and the need to repeat experiments as well as the effect of changing variables.

At Oaklands Junior School we understand that children with Special Educational Needs need additional support to be able to access and achieve in science. Proformas, modelled examples and exemplars as well scientific vocabulary are provided for these children to enable them to experience science in its entirety and to help them continue to make progress within their stage of learning. The expectation for recording their work will vary depending on their learning needs and scribes (someone to write for them), differentiated work and pictorial forms are available where applicable.

The impact of our implementation is currently monitored through formative assessments per topic using the Headstart topic tests and active assessment through lesson-based tasks. This focuses on knowledge and understanding and not experimenting.

An investigation skills progression document has been created this year (Appendix D) to ensure that the children can develop their ability and independence in carrying out accurate investigations. Active assessment will be used to monitor their progress in this concept.

This summative assessment will be used alongside the formative Headstart tests to give a truer measure of the impact of our science teaching at the school.

After each topic the children are set an end of topic test and the results are recorded. Using these scores from across the year and teacher assessment (using class work and discussions) an average grade is given. The individual topic assessments help identify areas of weakness.

Appendix E shows an example of a assessment recording sheet that class teachers use.

Other ways in which the impact is currently monitored is through learning walks by the subject leader, lesson observations and children’s work and planning scrutiny.

In the past there was a strong cluster network within science leaders, and this is something that we are keen to re-establish within our Trust and specifically Edgbarrow Senior school. 

Pupil voice – A target this year is to run a pupil forum to gain an understanding of the pupils’ attitudes towards science. A forms survey will also be completed to ascertain what the children like or dislike about science and about their confidence and enjoyment within the subject. The survey will be given to all particular focus groups to help improve our provision at the school. The focus groups this year will be SEND, high achievers and disengaged children with a more general review in the following year. 

The impact of the pandemic has lessened greatly over the last two year because the children have been given the opportunities to plan and carry out more investigations and this is paying dividends in their confidence and understanding within science. The impact of this is that we as a staff recognise the importance of planning in more investigative opportunities and that ‘stand-alone’ lessons that focus on the different strands of investigations ensure that the children get to experience them.  

OFSTED visit 2022

In April 2022, OFSTED undertook an inspection and confirmed that Oaklands Junior School continues to be a good school. Some quotes from the report about curriculum include:

  • Leaders are refining their ambitious curriculum for pupils. The ‘Thinking Curriculum’ focuses on developing thinking skills to enable pupils to learn something in one subject and then apply that knowledge in another.
  • Learning is well planned. Themes such as Egyptians in Year 3 bring together learning in physical education, art and design and technology. This helps pupils make links, and enriches their learning experience.
  • The curriculum promotes topics that capture the imagination of pupils and inspire creativity. Teachers plan topics carefully so that pupils can link different areas of learning.

Next Steps

Staff to review opportunities for active assessment.

Skills progression for investigations to be used to guide planning.

Staff training will also continue to develop our staff’s pedagogy and confidence in the teaching of Science.

Learning Walks and Observations (2022-23 walk by Paula Jones)

The strengths identified from the learning walk were:

  • Evidence of the five investigation types being used across the school.
  • Evidence of thinking skills as children designing own experiments and enquiries.
  • Investigation grids used consistently
  • Clear progression throughout year groups.
  • Children are engaged and enjoy hands on science. 

Next Steps

As a school, the staff confidence in science is good. When reviewing the skills progression in science investigations it was clear that staff had a good level of engagement in finding ways to build in the steps needed to ensure progression. A common proforma for isolating investigation steps was a greed and are to used this year with the view to review their usage at the end of the academic year.

A science poster to show the steps for investigations has been developed as an aid memoire for the children. A similar one is used for problem solving in maths with great success.   

Staff will continue to plan in investigation opportunities in each topic. If the topic does not lend itself to an investigation then a ‘stand-alone’ investigation will be done to ensure that all children get continual opportunities to develop these skills.

Learning walk scheduled for Summer 2023-24.