Ofsted Subject Reports 1999-00: 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 1999-2000 report gives a range of findings including:

• Science has improved significantly in over four schools in ten since their previous inspection. Attainment in science has continued to follow the encouraging upward trend of recent years. A large majority of students (85 per cent) now achieve the expected standard by the end of Key Stage Two.

• Standards in scientific enquiry are becoming even more variable than previously. Higher attaining students are still not given sufficiently challenging investigative work.

• Science teaching is good in well over half of schools, but remains unsatisfactory in one in twenty.

• Standards are beginning to benefit from improvements in students’ literacy and numeracy.

• Science remains firmly in place in the curriculum of most schools. National Curriculum content is covered and pupils are thoroughly prepared for national tests.

• Standards in primary science have risen steadily over recent years and national test results show further improvement this year. The emphasis placed on improving literacy and numeracy has had a substantial effect on the way in which science is organised and
taught.

• Planning has continued to improve and most schools now have adequate schemes of work for each school year. These often take account of the DfEE/QCA scheme of work.

• Teachers’ knowledge of National Curriculum science and its demands has also improved considerably over recent years.

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