Other posts in this series:
- 10 things you might not have realised about the new Primary English curriculum
- 10 things you might not have realised about the new Primary Maths curriculum
- 10 words on the foundation subjects
I always feel sorry for Science. A core subject by name, but always the poor relation in the core triad. They do say, two’s company… Anyhow, hot on the heels of my posts about English and Maths, it seems only fair to give Science its turn, although as if to emphasise the point, it only gets 5 main points. The first explains why.
1. Not that much has changed really.
One of the saving graces of the focus on English and Maths is that you get the feeling that the Science team were left to get on with things without so much ministerial interference. The result is that most of the changes to primary Science are reorganisations of existing content, with some things moving year group, and quite a bit being removed from KS1 to save repetition.
2. Evolution is in.
This one worries me slightly. Evolution is a tricky concept to get your head round, and I sometimes wonder if some of our 10-year-olds might lack the sense of scale required to understand the impact of minute changes over massive periods of time. I fear we might see plenty of children arriving at secondary school with the misconception that animals chose to adapt their features over time. Neverthless, it appears as statutory content aimed at Year 6, so expect to see evidence of it coming to a school near you soon.
3. ‘Factors’ will take a while to kill off.
A few years ago the official vocabulary of primary tests was changed from using ‘factors’ to ‘variables’ to describe… well… variables. Then they scrapped the tests and so the importance of the change was rather lost on the sector. The new curriculum does refer to variables, but expect it to take a while to train thousands of primary teachers out of old habits.
4. They might learn about scientific history.
But they might not. There are lots of mentions in the non-statutory notes about finding out about the likes of scientists from Copernicus to David Attenborough and the significance and impact of their work, but it’s not really mentioned in any of the statutory content. Some schools will go to town on such things; others will ignore them.
5. Good luck ascertaining their ability!
Until relatively recently, for all their flaws, secondary schools could receive nationally-assessed data about the pupils’ abilities in Science based on the national tests. Then when they were scrapped, transition information was limited to the more questionable Teacher Assessment levels. From 2016 even they will have gone. The latest proposal for Teacher Assessment was a simple “Yes/No” statement as to whether or not a child had met the national expectations. There is no official way to identify the highest fliers or those most in need of support. And even those descriptors haven’t been finalised, so watch this space!
Secondary teachers may find it informative to take a glance through the expectations of the new primary curriculum. You can find it all set out by year group at www.primarycurriculum.me.uk