Q1. How are the school’s science and maths curricula developed to provide pupils with a rich and broad learning experience?
Why this is important
School governors should be aware of whether their school follows the National Curriculum, and if not, why not; they should have viewed their school’s curriculum and be aware that in a classroom, this can be broken down further into a taught curriculum.
The Department for Education states that
All maintained schools in England must teach the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum covers the minimum of what pupils should be taught and forms only one part of the school’s curriculum. The aims of the National Curriculum for maths and science can be found on the Department for Education’s website.58
Academies and free schools, although not required to follow the National Curriculum, “must teach a broad and balanced curriculum including English, maths and science”, as well as religious education.57 In a “significant minority” of schools Ofsted found that leaders were failing to ensure full coverage of the National Curriculum due to their perception that science was not a priority.59
Ideas for improvement
They should question whether the school’s curriculum offers pupils a rich and broad learning experience. This could include understanding how much time pupils spend completing hands-on activities in science (see Q3) and whether teachers are adequately resourced and in a position to deliver the full curriculum in an engaging way.
- The National Science Learning Centre provides a number of continuing professional development courses on implementing the new science National Curriculum.
- The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics provides and endorses a number of continuing professional development courses on implementing the new maths National Curriculum.
Other questions in Curriculum
- Q2. How much time is spent teaching maths and science and how frequently? Does this differ across different age groups?
- Q3. How are working scientifically and working mathematically embedded in the school’s science and maths curricula? How often do science lessons include hands-on activities?
- Q4. How are the science and maths curricula enriched? What extracurricular opportunities are available for pupils?
- Q5. How does the school aid with transitions between phases of education in regard to science and maths?