The Science Subject Leader is Mr Harvey

Subject Pupil Ambassadors for Science are Rosie and Jim.

Curriculum Drivers

Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth and our ambition for our children to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

They are derived from an exploration of our children’s backgrounds, within our locality, underpinned by our beliefs about high quality education and our values, rooted in the Mission of the Church. They are used to ensure we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities, applicable to them. The fundamental principles of education, within all subject areas, at St Joseph’s are:

  1. Growth: Pupils aspire to be the best and grow to achieve their dreams.
  2. Diversity: Our pupils recognise the diverse world in which we live, in turn broadening their horizons.

Threshold Concepts in Science

These are the ‘big ideas’ that shape our children’s thinking within each subject. The same threshold concepts will be explored in every year group and the children will gradually increase their understanding of them.

Exploring a concept will never be complete; our children will continue to explore them for as long as they study the subject, within different contexts, to ensure this learning has tangibility and meaning.

Working scientifically


  • Work scientifically

This concept involves learning the methodologies of the discipline of science.



  • Understand plants

This concept involves becoming familiar with different types of plants, their structure and reproduction.

  • Understand animals and humans

This concept involves becoming familiar with different types of animals, humans and the life processes they share.

  • Investigate living things

This concept involves becoming familiar with a wider range of living things, including insects and understanding life processes.

  • Understand evolution and inheritance

This concept involves understanding that organisms come into existence, adapt, change and evolve and become extinct.



  • Investigate materials

This concept involves becoming familiar with a range of materials, their properties, uses and how they may be altered or changed.



  • Understand movement, forces and magnets

This concept involves understanding what causes motion.

  • Understand the Earth’s movement in space

This concept involves understanding what causes seasonal changes, day and night.

  • Investigate light and seeing

This concept involves understanding how light and reflection affect sight.

  • Investigate sound and hearing

This concept involves understanding how sound is produced, how it travels and how it is heard.

  • Understand electrical circuits

This concept involves understanding circuits and their role in electrical applications.


Essential Characteristics of Science

Each child will develop the following characteristics, during their time at St Joseph’s, when exploring the Threshold Concepts:

  • The ability to think independently and raise questions about working scientifically and the knowledge and skills that it brings.
  • Confidence and competence in the full range of practical skills, taking the initiative in, for example, planning and carrying out scientific investigations.
  • Excellent scientific knowledge and understanding which is demonstrated in written and verbal explanations, solving challenging problems and reporting scientific findings.
  • High levels of originality, imagination or innovation in the application of skills.
  • The ability to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts, including fieldwork.
  • A passion for science and its application in past, present and future technologies.

Breadth of Study

The overview below provides a breadth of study which meets the requirements of the National Curriculum:

Kay Stage 1 Key Stage 2
Working scientifically Across all year groups scientific knowledge and skills should be learned by working scientifically. (This is documented in the Essentials for progress section.)
Biology Plants
• Identify, classify and describe their basic structure.
• Observe and describe growth and conditions for growth.
• Look at the suitability of environments and at food chains.
Animals and humans
• Identify, classify and observe.
• Look at growth, basic needs, exercise, food and hygiene.
All living things*
• Investigate differences.
• Look at the function of parts of flowering plants, requirements of growth, water
transportation in plants, life cycles and seed dispersal.
Evolution and inheritance
• Look at resemblance in offspring.
• Look at changes in animals over time.
• Look at adaptation to environments.
• Look at differences in offspring.
• Look at adaptation and evolution.
• Look at changes to the human skeleton over time.
Animals and humans
• Look at nutrition, transportation of water and nutrients in the body, and the muscle and
skeleton system of humans and animals.
• Look at the digestive system in humans.
• Look at teeth.
• Look at the human circulatory system.
All living things
• Identify and name plants and animals
• Look at classification keys.
• Look at the life cycle of animals and plants.
• Look at classification of plants, animals and micro-organisms.
• Look at reproduction in plants and animals, and human growth and changes.
• Look at the effect of diet, exercise and drugs.
Chemistry Materials
• Identify, name, describe, classify, compare properties and
• Look at the practical uses of everyday materials.
Rocks and fossils
• Compare and group rocks and describe the formation of fossils.
States of matter
• Look at solids, liquids and gases, changes of state, evaporation, condensation and the water cycle.
• Examine the properties of materials using various tests.
• Look at solubility and recovering dissolved substances.
• Separate mixtures.
• Examine changes to materials that create new materials that are usually not reversible.
Physics Light*
• Look at sources and reflections.
• Look at sources.
• Look at appliances and circuits.
• Describe basic movements.
Earth and space
• Observe seasonal changes.
• Look at sources, seeing, reflections and shadows.
• Explain how light appears to travel in straight lines and how this affects seeing and shadows.
• Look at sources, vibration, volume and pitch.
• Look at appliances, circuits, lamps, switches, insulators and conductors.
• Look at circuits, the effect of the voltage in cells and the resistance and conductivity of materials.
Forces and magnets
• Look at contact and distant forces, attraction and repulsion, comparing and grouping materials.
• Look at poles, attraction and repulsion.
• Look at the effect of gravity and drag forces.
• Look at transference of forces in gears, pulleys, levers and springs.
Earth and space• Look at the movement of the Earth and the Moon

  • Explain day and night
Note: * Items marked * are not statutory.



Because the Threshold Concepts are repeated in every year group, it is important that the children progress in their understanding of them. Therefore, ‘Milestones’ are used, which contain a range of descriptors which give more detail to be discovered within the concept. Over a two year period (for example, Years 1 and 2), the children will become more and more familiar with these details by exploring them in a breadth of contexts. Milestones form part of our internal Medium Term Plans.

Useful Curriculum Links:

Reach out Reporter

BBC Bitesize

STEM Learning

Primary science teaching trust

WOW Science

Science with a bit of awesome- YouTube videos

Nasa – Games, latest news about the satellite launches, photos from the space and interviews of astronauts

Activities for the garden

Fun learning activities for different aspects of Science

30 ways to go wild with Science at home