– Improvements in teaching and learning for British Science Week –
To celebrate British Science Week (5th to 14th March), Paradigm is revealing the secret to improved results and greater engagement with the subject in all their schools by bridging the culture gap between primary and secondary school.
Since Paradigm began working this way more students have been successful in science GCSE, and more high grades are being achieved. The number of students choosing to study a science subject at further education level has increased, and at every level of schooling it is noticeable that children are achieving better results and becoming more engaged in the subject.
Firstly, the Trust adapted the way science is taught throughout primary schools so it is reflective of the approach used in secondary schools. Currently teaching approach to science is varied in primaries which can cause a disconnect in the skills and knowledge attained in primary and those valued and required to learn effectively at Key Stage 3 and beyond. Science as a subject has less classroom time compared to other core subjects and there is a lack of teachers at primary stage who have a science background. Only 40% of primary science leads have a science A-level nationally. The majority of teachers with science qualifications are working at secondary level and the one or two days that teacher training spends on science fails to fill the gap. Paradigm also found the common enquiry-based learning approach to be ineffective in its current form because significant scientific knowledge needs to be in place before the correct questions can be asked, resulting in reduced comprehension.
When children reach secondary school, the focus typically shifts to teaching what the pupil needs to know to pass the GCSE, rather than exploring the full uses of science, so students can be left with a narrow comprehension of the subject that is more weighted towards succeeding in an exam than having a good understanding of science.
Paradigm Trust has worked to overcome these traditional challenges and raise student attainment levels in science by ensuring all six of its schools are working from an effective science curriculum, using consistent, evidenced-based teaching methods. This ensures there is continuity across the board, and teachers are using techniques which are proven to be effective to deliver the material.
The Trust also makes sure that children are taught the necessary scientific knowledge first, whatever the age of the child. It is only with this as their foundation that the pupil is able to get the most out of any enquiry activities, maximising their learning time and gaining a better understanding of science. This enables children to develop essential skills such as problem solving, understanding scientific texts or extrapolating accurate conclusions from results.
Paradigm continues to improve its science teaching and learning through a Trust-wide subject group that prioritises implementing ways in which children can be better prepared for the move from primary to secondary school, and how to make science effective from Nursery to Year 11.
For more information, please contact Lena O’Shea on E: email@example.com or T: 07971910843.