Rathfern Primary

Science Curriculum

Science Curriculum

The science curriculum at Rathfern develops both substantive and disciplinary knowledge to build all pupils’ scientific cultural capital, empowering them to fulfil their potential as scientists of the future.

Substantive knowledge  (Schwab, 1964), is the knowledge produced by science and includes all of the ‘facts’ and theories we have discovered and accept to be ‘true’.  Substantive knowledge connected to more substantive knowledge creates understanding.

Disciplinary knowledge is understanding the process by which scientific knowledge is created – the scientific method.

Scientific knowledge (substantive), is carefully sequenced so that children build a deep understanding of key scientific concepts which they can connect within science and across the broader curriculum.

Scientific skills are taught sequentially and integrated together when children design and carry out fair tests. All scientific skills are important individually and are identified explicitly, as well as when they are integrated together in an investigation.

We recognise that our pupils come to lessons with ideas about the world around them that can often be different from accepted scientific ideas. Pupils need to develop some understanding of what these misconceptions are. Within our lessons, children begin to explore the idea that some scientific explanations can be counter-intuitive and how misconceptions or alternative frameworks arise.

Within our schemes of learning, potential misconceptions are identified and activities are suggested to enable teachers to address them.

Pupils systematically investigate the physical, chemical and biological aspects of science, thus deepening their respect for the natural world and all its phenomena and increasing their care and appreciation of it. Our curriculum approach, linked to the SDGs, supports the exploration of social justice, inequality and environmental integrity. We recognise within our curriculum, the forgotten contributions of non- European scientists in order to strengthen all our pupils’ self-efficacy. 

Probing questions encourage our pupils to make real world links, as these are pre-requisites for sustainable living, both locally and globally.


The National Curriculum for Science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future


Our Curriculum

Year 1 – Plants, Animals including Humans, Everyday Materials, Seasonal Changes

Year 2 – Plants, Animals including Humans, Uses of Everyday Materials, Living Things and their Habitats

Year 3 – Plants, Animals including Humans, Rocks, Light, Forces and Magnets

Year 4 – Animals including Humans, Living Things and their Habitats, States of Matter, Sound, Electricity

Year 5 – Animals including Humans, Living Things and their Habitats, Forces, Properties and Changes of Materials, Earth and Space

Year 6 – Animals including Humans, Living Things and their Habitats, Evolution and Inheritance, Light, Electricity.


What's Happening

Rathfern Primary School

Rathfern Road, Catford, London SE6 4NL

T: 020 8690 3759   |   F: 020 8314 0932