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‘Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how and the why of everything in our experience.’ Rachel Carson

At St. Bernadette’s, we aim to instil in our pupils a sense of awe, wonder and curiosity about the world, whilst enabling them to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of science through the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

As with all subjects, our curriculum design interrelates different strands of knowledge:

Substantive knowledge represents the science content that is taught in each year group. In planning, this knowledge is the content we want pupils to know and remember including topic specific vocabulary. During the course of their science topics, we share significant amounts of substantive knowledge with pupils. As such, National Curriculum programmes of study are broken down into smaller building blocks of knowledge and are sequenced logically across year groups.

Science is organised using themes that underlie a scientific way of investigating. They are the key ideas involved in framing the unique contribution of science as a subject discipline. By using the following subject specific ‘themes’ we have a means of identifying, with pupils, what it means to think scientifically:


  • The universe follows unbreakable rules that are all about forces, matter and energy.
  • Forces are different kinds of pushes and pulls that act on all the matter that is in the universe. Matter is all the stuff, or mass, in the universe.
  • Energy, which cannot be created or destroyed, comes in many different forms and tends to move away from objects that have lots of it.


  • All matter (stuff) in the universe is made up of tiny building blocks.
  • The arrangement, movement and type of the building blocks of matter and the forces that hold them together or push them apart explain all the properties of matter (e.g. hot/cold, soft/hard, light/heavy,
  • Matter can change if the arrangement of these building blocks changes.


  • Living things are special collections of matter that make copies of themselves, use energy and grow.
  • Living things on Earth come in a huge variety of different forms that are all related because they all came from the same starting point 4.5 billion years ago.
  • The different kinds of life, animals, plants and microorganisms, have evolved over millions of generations into different forms in order to survive in the environments in which they live.

Disciplinary knowledge represents the skills of a scientist. This knowledge is drawn from the National Curriculum programmes of study and is organised into categories of knowledge and mapped in a vertically integrated progression which ensures opportunities for pupils to build, revisit and deepen their knowledge and understanding.

Assessment in Science should be based on more than just knowing facts. We assess the pupils’ ability to apply their knowledge through our clearly defined outcomes at the end of each unit of learning. This provides information on the children’s ability to use and apply new knowledge in a subject specific context.