Market Drayton Infant & Nursery School

‘An excellent, happy school, where we enjoy learning’


Science Learning Pathway

Progression from Nursery to Year 6

The following information is extracts from the science curriculum policy.

Curriculum Intent

The breadth of our science curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:

  1.  To provide appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
  2. To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’;
  3. To provide a coherent, structured, science curriculum that leads to sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable.


Curriculum Breadth

The breadth of the curriculum links in with the programmes of study, the ‘topics’ we have chosen, so that the teacher has clarity about what to cover. Breadth helps to give the key background knowledge within subjects that students need for inference and understanding and the knowledge to do well, this is ‘cultural capital’.  In Key Stage 1, there is a separate programme of study for Year 1 and 2.  As part of the local curriculum and to keep the idea of ‘possibilities’ the school offers a broader science curriculum than the national curriculum.


Science ‘Big Ideas’

Year 1


Hard Materials

Soft Materials



Earth and Space

Year 2



Changing Materials



Ourselves Compared to Other Animals



Within each of the science ‘Big Ideas’ (topics) scientific enquiry is built in to it in order to develop investigative skills AND the scientific concept being studied.



Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:

  1. Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  2. Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
  3. Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.


Foundation stage

We teach science in the Foundation Stage as an integral part of the topic work covered in the year.  We relate the scientific aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged nought to five.  Science makes a significant contribution to the objective in the ELGs of developing a child’s knowledge of the world, e.g. through investigating what floats and what sinks when placed in water.



The impact of the curriculum is that by the end of each year, the vast majority of the pupils have sustained mastery of the content, that is, they remember it all and are fluent in it.  Some pupils have a greater depth understanding.  We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.