Curriculum 2014 – overview of the draft Science programme of study

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By Gillian RavenscroftScience coordinator

Take a look at some of the curriculum changes included in the draft science programme of study.

2014 National Curriculum logo

At first sight, the draft primary science curriculum (available to download from the Department for Education website) appears significantly different to what state schools have been following in one form or another since the Education Act of 1996. Gone are the four attainment targets and accompanying level descriptors and in their place are linear programmes of study for each year group, set out in a table alongside non-statutory notes and guidance. Look closer however, and much of the content and advice will be familiar.

While specific topics have now been allocated to every year group, the accompanying guidance allows for a degree of flexibility (not dissimilar to the old QCA format) where schools may retain an element of autonomy over the appropriate introduction or delay of particular aspects of learning. Nonetheless, the intention is to include a strong emphasis on scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding within the programmes of study. The expectation, through what the Secretary of State describes as ‘a relentless focus’, is to ensure that all children have a firm grasp of curriculum content by the end of each key block of learning.


‘Working scientifically’

The teaching of practical scientific methods, processes and skills is outlined in the ‘Working Scientifically’ sections which appear at the beginning of each year’s Programme of Study block. Similar to the old Sc1 ‘Scientific Enquiry’ skills, the intention is that these are embedded in all topic content and not taught as a separate strand. Whilst the format of the new draft curriculum has changed, much of the content should be familiar.

Key Stage 1
  • In Key Stage 1, this begins with asking and suggesting answers to simple questions through observing, identifying, classifying and performing basic tasks.
  • By Year 2, children are expected to gather and record data, using simple measurements and equipment such as egg timers.
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