Science in Primary Schools
This publication takes the form of a discussion paper published by the Department for Education and Science. It presents the views of the Science Committee of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. These views are organised into the following areas: science and the curriculum; continuity and progress; development of scientific ideas; children’s work in science; organisation and staffing; the role of the headteacher.
The publication predates the National Curriculum. The fact that the discussion paper was published by the Department of Education and Science signalled to schools and school leadership that they should consider and review their provision for science education. Many of the principles set out in the publication were later very influential in the introduction of the National Curriculum. The implications for schools were:
The headteacher and the staff need to consider:
• the nature of science and its requirements for effective learning
• the pattern of the whole curriculum and what should be the role and place of science within it
• the organisation of the school, particularly in relation to the expertise of individual teachers and to the role of the science consultant or designated science teacher
• how to evaluate from time to time the effect and effectiveness of science in the curriculum
• how to ensure steady progression in the skills and processes of science
• the constraints imposed by the building and physical resources within the school
• what human and physical resources are available outside the school and how best to utilise them.
The teachers need to consider:
• what processes and what content is appropriate for them to teach and for the children to learn, and the balance content and process
• how to ensure a sensible progression in any area of content
• how best to organise their classrooms
• their own roles, their attitudes and knowledge
• their own in-service needs and the amount of help and support available.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors were crown-appointed officers, located within the Department of Education and Science, who reported to the Secretary of State on standards of education and related areas. Under the Education (Schools) Act 1992, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) was created. HMI became part of Ofsted and would supervise the inspection of each state-funded school in the country, and would publish its reports instead of reporting to the Secretary of State.
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