Ofsted Subject Reports 2000-01: Primary Science

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This report from Ofsted is one of a series that were published annually in association with the Annual Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector. The report gives the main findings of Ofsted concerning the state of science education for students aged from 3-11.

The evidence base, which the report is based upon, includes data gathered through the Section 10 inspection of Schools, which involved science specific inspectors gathering evidence and writing subject specific sections of the report.

The evidence base also included data from subject specific inspection of a sample of primary schools.

The 2000-01 report gives a range of findings including:

*Attainment at Key Stage One has improved slightly. Data from teacher assessment show that nine out of ten students reached the national expectation. The upward trend in attainment at Key Stage Two continued, with nearly nine out of ten students achieving the expectation in both national tests and teacher assessment.

*Science teaching has improved; it is good in six out of ten schools and is now unsatisfactory in fewer than one in 25.

*Good attention is paid to developing students' understanding of scientific terminology, and science frequently features in non-fiction literacy work. Nevertheless teachers' expectations of students' use of basic skills in science remain too low.

*Assessment often remains a weaker aspect of teaching. A large majority of schools now substantially follow the Department for Education and Skills/Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (DfES/QCA) scheme of work.

*There has been a reduction in the time given to science, and in particular there are insufficient extended periods of time necessary for investigative work. However, some schools are finding constructive ways to increase both the time available for science and the variety of work.

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