Although primary science is not part of the primary Standard Assessment Tests, there are national curriculum requirements and age-related expectations for pupils to achieve; science progression and knowledge has to be assessed and evaluated.
Moderation meetings to review and evaluate science work are a valuable tool in this assessment process – they can be carried out within a school but should also take place across schools within a local region to gather broader knowledge and experience.
Working with other teachers, within and between schools, to moderate science work makes a vital contribution to the development of science teaching and learning. It also provides useful CPD, support and encouragement to colleagues through the sharing of ideas and best practice.
Regular moderation opportunities give teachers greater confidence in planning for the necessary learning outcomes and ensuring consistency in the quality of primary science provision for all children. The meetings can provide a useful summary of what is being achieved, but also reveal areas where further development may be needed.
The moderation process can give teachers a broader understanding of requirements across the year groups and the progression that is needed; moderation across schools can help build consistency in learning and expectations in a region, which helps with the transition to KS3 and secondary school science.
An ongoing legacy of the Ogden Leamington Spa and Bidford Primary Partnerships is a continuation of their shared moderation meetings. Jane Catto, lead for the Leamington Spa Partnership, explains more: “Our Summer moderation meeting has become a fantastic opportunity to reassure each other that we are doing a great job leading science in our schools. It’s where I pick up lots of creative ideas for science lessons to share with my colleagues, and take back a useful document to show coverage of all the National Curriculum statements.
“The first year I attended I was embarrassed about the lack of science learning that could be found in our exercise books – which contained all subjects apart from maths,” says Jane. “But it gave me a great opportunity to bargain with my SLT to give science a weekly, morning slot of quality teaching time and separate exercise books. The books are now of a much higher standard and reflect the super science learning the teachers confidently deliver. It was definitely worth me going through that first moderation experience!”
The Trust has now produced a How to guide for leading a primary science moderation meeting, together with moderation sheets for each year group which highlight the subject knowledge required and the necessary working scientifically skills that have to be evidenced. These documents provide an easy to use checklist that can easily be shared with senior leadership.