The Rissington School a dual site school set in beautiful Cotswold country side. Children are familiar with animals found in the countryside and all have a garden or green space to utilise. Because of our fantastic outdoor space we try to use our environment as much as we can for outdoor learning opportunities such as materials, habitats and identifying local plants and wildlife.
Our school values of ABC (Aspire Belong Challenge) and Golden Threads are also drivers for our curriculum design. We plan lessons which give the children aspirational experiences, through investigations, trips, visitors, theme days, STEM days extending learning beyond national curriculum statements which bring learning to life. Our Belong value is reflected in our science curriculum as we work together, collaborating on projects and investigations. Our annual Science Fair also gives our community chance to see children being scientists. We also use our environment to help us with our scientific learning. We provide challenge through investigational work, having high expectations and challenging misconceptions.
The Rissington school’s Golden Threads are Resilience, Oracy/Vocabulary and Diversity/Equality. To encourage resilience children are given opportunities to overcome problems, make their own decisions, try things out for themselves and investigate. Oracy is promoted by giving the children chance to talk about their work, addressing misconceptions and providing children with the vocabulary to talk like a scientist. We make sure Diversity /Equality is addressed by looking at a diverse range of scientists including female and making sure all children have access to our science curriculum.
Through the Science Curriculum, we ensure that all children are active in the learning process and have implemented common language around good independent learning and characteristics of effective learning, starting from Early Years. Growth mindset is embedded, using the ‘Power of Yet!’, and understanding the importance of the 5 R's (Resilience, Responsibility, Reciprocal, Resourceful, Reflective), Growth mindset is rewarded and recognised when children support each other to overcome challenges and to be proactive in their learning.
As part of our curriculum and growth mindset, we promote and encourage the children to recognise The Characteristics of Effective Learning; these are:
- Go For it Gorilla - I will have a go.
- Exploring Elephant - I am an Explorer
- I know Rhino - I play with what I know
- Proud Peacock - I am proud of what I do
- Concentrating Crocodile - I join in and concentrate
- Persevering Parrot - I keep trying
- Choosing Chimp - I choose ways to do things
- Creative Chameleon - I have my own ideas
- Slinky Linky Snake - I can make links
Our science curriculum has been designed so that all lessons give the children opportunities to display one or some of the characteristics eg making connections from previous knowledge like a Slinky Linky Snake.
At The Rissington school we have an aspirational science curriculum, where children develop the skills to be naturally curious about the world. They are equipped with the essential aspects of knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science in the world around them and we foster a respect for the natural world.
At The Rissington School we understand the importance of science as a core curriculum subject and challenging, focused science lessons are planned weekly. Science is taught for 2hrs in KS2 and 1.5 hours in KS1. We use the National Curriculum to plan challenging lessons, that fit into our school’s creative units of work, with sometimes discrete science units if a fit is not appropriate.
Children start their science journey in pre-school or Reception (whichever is their starting point). Teachers use the EYFS curriculum 2021 to inform their planning and children are encouraged through the implementation of the Characteristics of Essential Learning to foster their natural curiosity about the world around them through play and exploration.
As children progress through KS1 onto KS2 we have clear progression of content and skills that build on previous learning for each of the scientific disciplines of chemistry, biology and physics. We offer a two year rolling program to cater for the spilt year groups and make sure learning is progressive and key skills are revisited and embedded. Teachers use a variety of elicitation strategies at the beginning of lessons to find out what they have learnt and remember so children can move their learning forward and misconceptions can be addressed. Teachers know what their class has covered in previous years, this is especially important in our split year group classes. We are developing strengthening teachers subject knowledge in science, through working walks, book scrutiny and training during staff meeting sessions.
Lessons are planned with scientific skills, such as making predictions and asking questions at the forefront of the children’s learning experience; to embed the content and scientific vocabulary being taught.eg understanding the terms opaque or sedimentary and naming the structure of a flower. Children are encouraged to talk as scientists. Through scientific investigations children are able to explore, raise questions and become independent learners without the fear of failure. We have ambition for all, including children with poor reading skills, English as an Additional Language and Pupil Premium.
We are unique at The Rissington School because we are a split site school. While we embrace the differences this might bring we are also clear that children at both sites belong to one school and receive the same science provision.
All children have access to enrichment opportunities, these include: the annual Science competition and inter-cluster final; Forest Leaning for Reception and Year 1 and Ogden Trust cluster workshops. We provide enhanced learning opportunities during Science or STEM week. Many of our class trips are Science based for example, visit to Oxford Botanical Gardens and West Midlands Safari park.
Our aim is that the Science curriculum we provide will give children the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their skills into the next stage of their education and life experiences.