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These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

CPD taster - Subject knowledge and leadership skills for new primary science leaders

This is a CPD taster created to give teachers a better understanding of what to expect when joining one of our primary science courses. Below you will find a video and a task for you to do in your own time. Once you have done the activity, book onto Subject knowledge and leadership skills for new primary science leaders (NY062).


As a leader of primary science it is important that you are confident in the subject knowledge required so you can address your misconception before you pass them on to your children. In this video Karen Brunyee introduces why subject knowledge is a priority for science leaders.

Research shows that primary teachers show a lot less confidence in their delivery of science lessons compared with their confidence in other core subjects such as maths and English. Only 29% of primary teachers, in the survey, reported feeling very confident teaching science compared with 47% teaching maths. This was also reflected in their confidence in the subject knowledge they needed to teach and their ability to answer children’s questions.

In the book, Misconceptions in Primary Science by Michael Allen, he talks about how children’s science ideas are built on previously created structures and therefore we need to discover what their current ideas about the relevant science are. If existing constructions are at odds with accepted science this can provide a shaky foundation for new concepts. While this is true with children’s learning it can also be true for adults. We often say we cannot possibly know what we don’t know! An often quoted example is that in one survey 5% of teachers believed that rain fell from holes in clouds. If we believe this, what is there stopping us passing that idea onto the children in our class? For this reason, a subject knowledge audit is a great place to start for any new science lead.

The following task is a simple true or false quiz on different aspects of the primary science curriculum. We have chosen questions that reflect common misconceptions that have been seen in the primary classroom.

Task: Misconceptions audit

  1. Go to the Subject Knowledge Quiz.
  2. After submitting your answers, check your responses.
  3. Think about your responses. Were there any that were incorrect? Can you work out why your response was incorrect? We will tell you if you were correct or not, but not the actual answer. This gives you an opportunity to find ways to research these topics.
  4. Make a note of any questions that made you question your understanding of the subject knowledge and what you can do to address this.

Next steps

Book your place on Subject knowledge and leadership skills for new primary science leaders (NY062). 

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