Q2. How much time is spent teaching maths and science and how frequently? Does this differ across different age groups?

Why this is important

In order that pupils are taught the broad and balanced curriculum required by the National Curriculum (see Q1),60 adequate time needs to be dedicated to the teaching of science and maths for all year groups. It is unrealistic to expect pupils to make sufficient progress if they do not have enough time experiencing inspirational high-quality science and maths teaching. Reduced teaching time for science was found by Ofsted to be a factor in schools where achievment was weaker.

Benchmarks

There is no statutory requirement for the number of hours for which science and maths should be taught, and the delivery of science and maths in schools will depend on unique school contexts.

However, Wellcome and a group of organisations involved in science education believe that primary schools should teach science for an average of at least the international average of two hours per week.

The Confederation of British Industry61 surveyed 200 UK primary schools in 2015: 17% of English primary schools spent 3 hours or more on science per week, 48% spent 2 hours a week, 28% spent 1 hour a week and 7% spent less than an hour.

Ideas for improvement

  • School leaders, including governors, should be monitoring the structure of the school’s current timetable for each year group and ensuring science and maths have an adequate place.
  • School leaders should have considered the strengths and weaknesses of different timetabling options to ensure the current iteration is the best for all pupils’ learning in science and maths.

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