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Research review series: science

Take a look at Ofsted’s science research review which explores a range of research and evidence to identify factors that can influence the quality of science education in schools in England. Read the full report published 29 April 2021 here

Based on its report findings, high-quality science education may have the following features
  • The curriculum is planned to build increasingly sophisticated knowledge of the products (substantive knowledge) and practices (disciplinary knowledge) of science.
  • Disciplinary knowledge (identified in the ‘working scientifically’ sections of the national curriculum) comprises knowledge of concepts as well as procedures.
  • When pupils develop their disciplinary knowledge, they learn about the diverse ways that science generates and grows knowledge through scientific enquiry. This is not reduced to a single scientific method or taken to mean just data collection.
  • The curriculum outlines how disciplinary knowledge advances over time and teaches pupils about the similarities and differences between each science.
  • Pupils are not expected to acquire disciplinary knowledge simply as a by-product of taking part in practical activities. Disciplinary knowledge is taught.
  • Scientific processes such as observation, classification or identifying variables are always taught in relation to specific substantive knowledge. They are not seen as generalisable skills.