How Snap Science can support you in delivering primary science

As you may be aware, Ofsted published a research review into high-quality science education. It has generated discussion between primary science educators, introduced some new terminology and stimulated reflection on current practice. Ofsted also draws upon its research review when it inspects schools. For all these reasons, it is important that subject leaders are aware of what the review says and have reflected upon their own practice.

Here, Jane Turner, series editor of Snap Science, helps you to engage with the key messages from the review, reflect upon them and shows how using the Snap Science framework can meet the key aims of the report and provide a high-quality science education.

Key messages from the report

The Snap Science approach

Suggestions for Snap Science users

  • A high-quality science education is rooted in an authentic understanding of what science is.
  • Snap Science has a clear intent: for teachers to deliver a science curriculum which embodies a concept of science as:
  • a body of knowledge which can explain the world around us
  • an approach to building that knowledge
  • as well as an awareness of the value and application of science.
  • Think about how science is talked about in your school.
  • Do teachers talk about the concepts you want children to learn as well as the nature of science?
  • How do you ensure that children recognise the importance of science to their lives now and in the future?
  • Expertise in science requires pupils to build at least two forms, or categories, of knowledge.
    • The first is ‘substantive’ knowledge, which is knowledge of the products of science, such as models, laws and theories.
    • The second category is ‘disciplinary’ knowledge, which is knowledge of the practices of science.
  • Substantive knowledge is explicit in Snap Science with learning intentions and success criteria to meet all National Curriculum objectives. Support for teachers’ subject knowledge is provided in clear module introductions.
  • Disciplinary knowledge is taught systematically, with learning intentions and success criteria covering all Working Scientifically objectives, including different types of enquiry, how and when to use different apparatus and techniques, how to analyse and present data and an understanding of how explanations are developed from evidence.
  • Make sure that all teachers read the Snap Science module introductions and asks if there is anything they do not understand.
  • What further support can you provide for teachers’ subject knowledge?
  • Encourage everyone to look at the progressive success criteria for Working Scientifically skills in the Snap introduction to build their understanding of disciplinary knowledge.
  • Make sure that children know how to use a piece of equipment before they use it in an investigation.
  • High-quality science curriculums are coherent and progressive.


  • Snap Science uses the National Curriculum as its starting point, organising the knowledge within it in a sensible progression and identifying the best way to teach different concepts and skills. It is knowledge-led, not activity-led.  The lessons have been carefully sequenced within modules to ensure that children build their scientific knowledge in a systematic and conceptually appropriate way. Each lesson is designed to explore, value and build on children’s prior knowledge so that misconceptions can be addressed, and secure understanding developed. The sequence of science knowledge throughout the resource as a whole, as well as in each module and lesson, is clear and accurate.
  • Look at your long-term plan for science; how have you organised the Snap Science modules? How do they fit in with other subjects? Does children’s learning link meaningfully?
  • Have you looked at the Planning guidance for single and mixed ages classes on Collins Connect?
  • There must be sufficient curriculum time to teach the science curriculum, including time for practice and consolidation.
  • Snap Science is a comprehensive resource. It supports up to 2 hours of science teaching a week with practice and consolidation built in.
  • Check that teachers are giving enough curriculum time to science each week.
  • Are teachers using the review and reflect part of each Snap Science lesson to give children opportunity to consolidate what they have learnt?
  • Practical resources are important.
  • Practical work is a very important element of most of the Snap Science lessons.
  • Encourage teachers to use the equipment lists at the beginning of each module to check all teachers have the resources they need.
  • Check the long-term plan to ensure that not everyone will need the same equipment at the same time.
  • Have you thought about training children as science technicians to manage getting the right equipment to classrooms and putting it back in the right place?
  • Teachers and pupils should be clear on the purpose of assessment, with clarity about what is being assessed. Systems should be in place to support teachers to make accurate decisions when assessing pupils’ work.
  • Success criteria are used throughout Snap Science to support children’s self-assessment. Each lesson also includes guidance for teacher assessment, indicating where teachers will find evidence of achievement of the learning intention and what that achievement will look like, in the things that children say, do, write or draw.
  • Set up a staff meeting to share how teachers are using the ‘evidence of learning’ section of Snap Science lessons. Ask teachers to bring children’s work or records of what they said and moderate these against the expectations listed for each lesson.
  • Are teachers using the Snapshots?  How are these helping them make assessment decisions about children’s learning?
  • How are teachers tracking progress?

For further guidance on the Ofsted Research Review see this response for primary schools written by experts from the Primary Science Quality Mark, Association for Science Education and the University of Manchester.

By Jane Turner

Jane Turner has been a primary school teacher, science outreach leader manager, LA consultant, CPD leader, and curriculum developer. Jane co-founded and is currently the Director of the Primary Science Quality Mark award scheme as well as working as Science Curriculum Advisor to the DfE Standards and Testing Agency. She is the series editor of Snap Science, the #1 primary science programme in the UK.

You might also be interested in: Planning and implementing an effective primary science curriculum

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