Launch: CALM Response to Curriculum recovery

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Launch New resources produced for Stoke-on-Trent in consultation with Stoke science teachers KS2 and KS3 to address learning gaps

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School shut down in spring and summer 2020 has interrupted children’s science education. Entire topics will have been missed in some year groups, and key steps in conceptual and skills development missed in all. There have been plenty of ‘science learning activities’ on offer during shut down, and schools may have sent science work to be completed at home, but overall there will be no consistency in the science curriculum with which children have engaged. This will have an impact on transition for all children between phases in primary education at the end of academic year 2021: KS1 to LKS2, LKS2 to UKS2 and UKS2 to secondary (KS3), with an anticipated bigger impact on children from disadvantaged contexts where science capital is likely to be lower, and there may have been fewer opportunities to engage with science during shut down.

In order that children can make a successful transition between phases, when schools return – in whatever format of return- all teachers will need to adjust science curriculum planning in 2020-22 to take account of the gaps in children’s learning and the reduced time to ‘fit everything in’. The pressure will be on teachers to cram missed content into an already crowded timetable which is likely to lead to an over reliance on low level knowledge transmission and recall teaching activities. This means learning in science will not meet expectations at transition as children will not have built up secure understanding, developed their process knowledge or had the chance to apply their learning. There will be an urgent need for expert guidance to identify key learning in the science curriculum, and areas of knowledge and skills that can be safely omitted as they will be returned later, and to develop manageable medium-term plans for 2020-22 that ensure coverage and progression.

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