Ofsted publishes first in a series of subject reviews

Ofsted has published the first review in a new series looking at what makes for a high-quality education in different subjects across the curriculum.

The first review focuses on science. It explores a range of research and evidence to identify factors that can influence the quality of science education in schools in England. It also highlights some of the barriers that prevent their implementation.

The review recognises that there is no one way of achieving a high-quality science education. Rather, it considers a number of key principles that can play a central role in shaping the quality of school science.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said: "I’m really pleased to publish our science subject review today. This is the first in a series of subject reviews we will publish over the coming months, which will inform our thinking about what makes a high-quality subject education in schools.

"The science research review was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but its publication is timely. As part of education recovery, schools will need to think carefully about what content to prioritise and how best to teach it.

"We hope that the principles identified in this review will be helpful as science subject leaders plan and adapt their curriculums."

In the review, Ofsted identified a number of principles that literature suggests can contribute to high-quality science education. These principles include the importance of planning the science curriculum so that pupils build knowledge of key concepts and the relationships between them over many years; this prevents pupils from seeing science as a list of isolated facts.

It highlights the importance of pupils remembering long-term the content that has been taught; this is because building domain-specific knowledge leads to expertise.

Starting curriculum planning right from the early years by introducing pupils to wide-ranging vocabulary to describe the natural world is also recommended.

Ofsted's next step in this project will be to look at how science is being taught in schools and will publish a report in spring 2022.

Read the full review here.

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