Science is a core subject in our well-rounded curriculum and we make sure that it is practical, interesting and fun! Our aim is to teach our pupils to have an open-minded approach, to think objectively and recognise that scientific ideas are based on evidence. We firmly believe that the build-up of scientific knowledge creates a strong foundation for future enquiry. Through the study of science, our pupils learn that major scientific ideas can contribute to technological change; which has an impact on medicine, industry, business and the quality of life.
The curriculum for both KS1 & KS2 pupils is based around the QCA scheme of work and customised to give them the maximum learning opportunity – at KS2 we have recently introduced the Galore Park science programme (endorsed by the ISEB), with challenging exercises, practical activities and differentiated projects. The school has a dedicated science lab with an excellent range of equipment and scientific aids to promote high quality teaching and learning; providing more than adequate preparation for pupils as they move on to their Senior schools. From Prep 1, pupils are introduced to the British Science Association Crest awards, allowing then to participate in a range of exciting, investigative projects, incorporating aspects of biology, chemistry and physics: for example, trialling and making toothpaste; testing ‘hoodies’ and how they can impair hearing; and dabbling in forensics, deciphering fingerprints.
Every year, we participate in the National Annual Science week in March, providing topic based work for all year groups, including workshops run by STEM professionals: vets, doctors, chemists, science lecturers, astro-physicists, geologists and engineers, to name a few. Part of the week involves the ‘Climate Challenge’ where thousands of pupils from all over the UK embark on a one-day science based project to improve the planet. In 2012, Ashdell pupils were placed national runners-up in Reception and the 5-7 year categories with their concept of a ‘special person’ and ‘Funky Green Kids’ Park’ – where recycling meant more opportunities for play! During the summer term, pupils in Prep 4 spend a morning in the Schools’ Chemistry Lab at the University of Sheffield, where they have a basic introduction to chemistry – the pupils always leave the session stating that they ‘had no idea chemistry could be that fun’. We also run a Gifted & Talented programme for a small number of Prep 4 pupils, providing them with an opportunity to participate in the National STEM Leaders Award, interviewing and writing about high profile individuals from the world of STEM. In 2012, two of our pupils were placed 1st and 2nd in the WISE/UKRC awards for their interview with a leading Hand Surgeon, Dr Harper – our winning pupil, Lucy, will receive her award from HRH Princess Royal in a presentation ceremony in London later this year!