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Ofsted Science Subject Review

Published: 29 April 2021

Today’s launch of the Ofsted Research Review Series: Science identifies factors that can contribute to high-quality school science curriculums, assessment, pedagogy and systems. This will inform a subject report due to be published later in the year and cites our new research report on the 10 Key Issues with Children’s Learning in Primary Science in England which we have developed in collaboration with SEERIH at the University of Manchester.

“We are pleased that our recently published work has informed this review and may now have the potential to support and influence the development of science education across a wider audience,” says Clare Harvey, Chief Executive of the Trust.

This recent collaboration between SEERIH, at the University of Manchester, and The Ogden Trust led to the creation of a report that offers pertinent insights into the national context of primary science education, highlighting how far too often primary pupils’ science learning involves ‘fun activities’ that do not deepen understanding of the associated scientific concepts. By prioritising ‘wow’ moments without clear reference to any curricular goal, there is a risk that primary pupils don’t fully embrace the opportunities for meaningful science learning. A strong foundation in primary science is crucial to developing and delivering high-quality school science curriculums throughout the education system.

“Following on from our initial research, we are already working on a project to develop tools for primary schools to scrutinise and enhance their science provision,” adds Clare. “We are working to inform, empower and support primary teachers in their delivery of science and are developing mentoring and coaching to help address the issues identified,” she concludes.

10 Key Issues with Children’s Learning in Primary Science in England is authored by Dr Lynne Bianchi at The University of Manchester, Amanda Poole (The Ogden Trust) and Christina Whittaker (Science Across the City) and can be downloaded from SEERIH.

Ofsted’s Research Review can be found on the government website.

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