Why should we care about primary science?
Pupils should be inspired by their first formal educational encounters with science at primary school. Primary science should develop pupils’ understanding of the world, nurture their curiosity and teach essential skills, including enquiry, observation, prediction, analysis, reasoning and explanation.Replace with further content or remove this additional text...
Science provides a ‘motivating context’ for pupils to develop and improve skills in many areas, including literacy and mathematics. Children start to develop perceptions about whether science is ‘for them’ towards the end of primary school. It is therefore essential that all primary school pupils experience inspiring science that builds their understanding of the value and place of science in their lives. This will lay the bedrock for their future studies, enable them to make well-informed decisions in our increasingly hi-tech world and give them access to a wide range of rewarding careers.
As the future economy will require a larger proportion of the workforce to possess high levels of scientific and technological skill, we need more students to continue to study science subjects beyond the statutory curriculum and move into related employment. If more pupils are enthused to study science, starting at the primary level, this will help secure our economic future. Science is a core and compulsory subject for all primary school pupils.
As schools deliver the new national curriculum for science (which became statutory in England from September 2014), leaders have the chance to ensure that this subject is placed at the heart of primary teaching.
(Taken from a Wellcome Trust paper entitled ‘Primary Science: Is it missing out?’)
LEGO®-based therapy was created by psychologist Daniel LeGoff, who noticed that children with autism were more interested in interacting together when through the medium of LEGO® play materials. LEGO®-based therapy was established as a group intervention to promote social competence in children with autism and related conditions. LEGO®-Based Therapy is a collaborative, play based intervention designed to improve social competence in children through the development of social skills. Small groups will work together on a weekly basis which will provide opportunities for children to practise skills such as turn-taking, listening, sharing ideas, communication, compromise, problem solving and shared attention. This opportunity aims to identify and promote social, communication and play skills and will focus on the existing strengths of the children to develop the appropriate social competence skills.
For further information please visit the following sites:
bricks-for-autism.co.uk LEGO®-based therapy information and training (including Training for Trainers)
legotherapy.com Online hub for research, resources, training, and conversation
asdaid.org International LEGO® Therapy Advocacy for children with autism
network.autism.org.uk Case study written following a year long pilot study using LEGO®-based therapy
Fundamental British Values
Fundamental British Values (FBV) are integral to teaching and learning in every maintained school since the publication of the policy ‘Promoting fundamental British Values as part of SMSC in schools’ in November 2014. According to the British Educational Research Journal, (Janmaat, 2018), this policy also formed part of the government’s counter-terrorism ‘Prevent’ strategy. The purpose of this document is to prevent the radicalisation of children and young people.
What are the Fundamental British Values? According to Ofsted, the key elements of FBV are democracy; the rule of law; liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs and for those with no belief.
Through teaching and learning at Barcroft primary, teachers and support staff aim to incorporate the elements of SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual, and Cultural) and FBV values. Barcroft Primary is familiar with the importance of SMSC as well as FBV and make sure they are making links throughout the creative curriculum. Teachers, teaching assistants and the school governors have recently undertaken ‘Prevent’ training to keep them up to date with policies and procedures. Furthermore, it is to empower all adults working with children and young people with the knowledge of ‘what to do’ in the event of identifying extremist views as well as vulnerable children who are at risk of being radicalised.
Our aim is to keep our children safe; to make them aware and tolerant of different faiths and beliefs through the teaching of PSHE and RE. Children are able to have a voice; an opinion through our regular School Council meetings. They understand by making links with the wider community. Our School Council visited the ‘Houses of Parliament’ last year and hopefully the new members of the School Council will have that same opportunity this year as this helped them understand what it means to be part of a democratic society and the need for our British laws.
How can the parents of our children help and support the Fundamental British Values? As we live in a multi-cultural society, we hope that parents and guardians can help us educate our children to be the best citizens that they can be; to be tolerant of others, regardless of race or religion; to have an opinion but to be respectful of the opinion of others’ and those that may be different to ours; to know what is morally wrong and what is acceptable.
Your children are the future. Through the teaching of SMSC and FBV, the children will have a better understanding of the world around them.
Why is Geography important?
Geography opens individuals to the world which holds beauty, infinite complexity and challenges for people of all abilities. Geography is the subject which opens the door to this dynamic world and prepares each one of us for the role of global citizen in the 21st century (QCA, 1999).
“A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.” (National Curriculum, 2013).
Having geographical knowledge helps individuals analyse world events, make rational decisions, understand basic physical systems of everyday life, like implications of the solar system on climate, water cycles, ocean currents, etc.
Studying geography supports the knowledge about different places on Earth and how they relate with each other. Usually, starting in Early Years and learning about your home, community, region, country, continent, brings their location at the centre and how it all relates together.
Children learn about the importance about becoming a good citizen. It allows children to appreciate important events that influence the world around them, support decision making using the resources that are available and helps children ask relevant questions about the world they live in. An informed citizen makes an informed future leader.
Geography allows children to make and appreciated the historical aspects that have changed within their immediate settings. They are able to understand the historical changes in land and climate, the rise and fall of civilisations.
With close links to Science children discover the relationship between human beings and the natural environment, the weather, our footprint on the Earth and global conservation.
Mr Bhatti has conducted a research study in Nursery focusing on the extent to which children experience risk in their play. The research was focused upon risk-taking and how confident children are with taking risks. A fairly new type of play has been deemed as 'risky play' which encourages risk-taking and providing children with opportunities for risky play. The research conducted at our school has found that incorporating more risky play and opportunities for risk-taking into the Nursery outdoor environment has really improved the children's resilience, behaviour and independence. They are learning how to cope with and manage risks and this can support in preparing them for real life risks when they grow up. The children have also found it beneficial using loose parts, more natural materials and real life tools in their play. The EYFS outdoor area is continuously being improved and this research has supported in assessing the impact of risky play in our school and has also improved the quality of our children's play.
The percentage of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium funding at our school is above the national average. Our school is in the top 20% of disadvantaged areas in the country. Historically, pupils from disadvantaged homes have achieved less well than their peers, both at our school and Nationally. Raising attainment is a school priority in the SDP, and so is science more specifically, due to Key Stage 2 results being below National for the last three years. As well as positively impacting upon Pupil Premium pupils, the improvement priority will benefit all pupils, regardless of background.
The priority chosen was to raise attainment in science for all pupils, but also for more able pupil premium pupils. I led on and monitored this initiative and the aim was to improve the standard attained by pupils as well as creating a programme of individualised intervention that improved outcomes and raised aspirations for these pupils. Furthermore, I aimed to improve teaching and learning of science across school through up-skilling staff and making external links.
Bullock (1975) stated that, ‘First, standards in teaching must be forever improving, because expectations continue to rise.’ I researched teaching further and found that over the past few decades, researchers have consistently reported school leadership as critical in developing and sustaining the school-level conditions believed essential for instructional improvement (Rosenholtz, 1989; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; EEPA, Winter 2003). Teaching and leadership, therefore, go hand in hand in making successful and effective change. At Barcroft, we make our decisions based on research shown to make teaching and leadership, and therefore learning, more effective. We are continually reviewing our policies, approaches and strategies so that our vision of 'Children First' is at the heart of all we do.
As a part of Mrs Roberts's senior leadership qualification she led a research project to improve spelling across school. The project aimed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spelling teaching, by supporting teachers in delivering well-paced and structured lessons and raising the profile of spelling for pupils, parents and staff. This would in turn help pupils to become confident spellers, fluent and efficient writers. The project was planned due to a decline in KS2 results for SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) in 2017. Spelling was also an issue identified in our school assessment and analysis has shown that often spelling strands hold pupils back from achieving the expected standard. This project provided opportunities to work with a local outstanding school and external advisors who led staff training and suggested strategies to support pupils. Some of the actions included running the Spelling Spectacular Challenge, a Spelling Bee Competition, engaging staff and parents in training events and subscribing to an online spelling application which pupils can use at home and at school.
date posted: Wednesday 13 Nov 2019
date posted: Wednesday 28 Aug 2019
As part of her National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership, Mrs Braitch has been carrying out a study this year into reading. Please read on to find out more:
"As part of the NPQSL project, I decided to focus on a project which would provide our school with an opportunity to implement a programme which focused on reading fluency and pace as this was a key priority for our school. Research shows that many pupils find it difficult to finish the end of Key Stage 2 reading tests in the permitted time. Therefore as part of the project, I decided to implement the speed readers programme which aims to develop reading skills and resilience when working within time limits. It is presented in the form of a points-based game, using exciting and stimulating texts that cover a wide range of interesting topics that develop reading speed skills, skimming and scanning skills as well as comprehension skills."