Research School Network: Unlocking the Potential of Primary Science: Insights from the New EEF Guidance Report Katherine Peck, Curriculum Lead from Little Sutton Primary School, reflects on the NEW Primary Science Guidance Report.

Unlocking the Potential of Primary Science: Insights from the New EEF Guidance Report

Katherine Peck, Curriculum Lead from Little Sutton Primary School, reflects on the NEW Primary Science Guidance Report.

As curriculum lead in a primary school I was very excited to learn that the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) are releasing a new guidance report, to further enhance the quality of primary science teaching. This blog aims to share the recommendations provided in this report, provide exemplification of how we achieve some of them in my school and explore how they can unlock the potential of primary science education.

Encouraging Scientific Vocabulary and Communication

Developing scientific vocabulary and communication skills is essential for students to articulate their understanding of scientific concepts. Recommendation one and two explain that teachers should explicitly teach subject-specific vocabulary and encourage students to use scientific language in their discussions and written work. In my school we make the vocabulary we want the children to learn explicit and refer to it through out lessons. We also provide the children with opportunities for group work, presentations, and debates to foster effective communication skills and collaboration among students.

Emphasis on Practical Experiences

Recommendation 3 of the report stresses the importance of providing primary students with practical hands-on experiences in science. It suggests that teachers should prioritise activities that actively engage students, allowing them to explore and investigate scientific concepts through experiments and real-life applications. Practical experiences not only make learning enjoyable but also improve conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills. We have worked with the PSTT and the Ogden Trust who have supported us to enhance the practical science opportunities we can offer to our pupils. We also give our pupils hands-on experiences in a range of ways, for example, children hatch eggs in their classroom and also see caterpillars turn into butterflies, which they then release!

Making Science Relevant and Real-World

The EEF report emphasises the need to make science education relevant and relatable to students’ lives. Teachers are encouraged to integrate real-world examples, current events, and local contexts into their science lessons. This approach helps students connect scientific ideas to their everyday experiences, making learning more meaningful and engaging. We take our pupils on a number of science educational visits to give them real hands-on experience. For example, we take our Y4 pupils to carry out a habitat and river study and our Y2 pupils visit our local park to carry out science observations. Our Reception and Y1 pupils use our school grounds, including our wooded area, and our local area to explore and investigate their science topics.

Quality Feedback and Assessment

Feedback plays a crucial role in promoting student progress and identifying areas for improvement. Recommendation 5 of the report suggests that providing timely and constructive feedback to students can enhance their understanding of scientific concepts and encourage self-reflection. Teachers, in my school, use a variety of assessment methods, such as formative and summative assessments, to evaluate student learning effectively and use that information to inform their future lessons.

Effective Teacher Professional Development

Recommendation 6 of the report highlights the significance of continuous professional development for primary science teachers. It recommends that educators should be encouraged to participate in training programs, workshops, and collaborative learning opportunities to enhance their subject knowledge and pedagogical skills. By keeping themselves updated with the latest research and innovative teaching strategies, teachers can provide a more enriching science education experience for their students. We have used the free Reach Out CPD resources which has supported the teachers in my school to teach the primary science curriculum with confidence. Meeting once a half term with all of the Science leads in our trust is an invaluable supportive mechanism for sharing of good practice. We lead an Ogden Trust partnership of local schools. We have also had the opportunity to receive high-quality training and support from STEM organisations and universities.


The new EEF guidance report for primary science education provides valuable insights and recommendations to enhance teaching and learning experiences in this crucial subject. By implementing the recommendations outlined in the report, teachers can unlock the potential of primary science and inspire young minds to explore and understand the wonders of the scientific world. I have found it really useful to reflect on my school’s science curriculum and I am looking forward to using the new ideas and resources in this report to enhance the quality of our provision. 

With a strong foundation in primary science education, students are better equipped to pursue further scientific inquiry and contribute to the advancements of our society.

You can read the NEW Primary Science Guide here.

Katherine Peck, Curriculum Lead at Little Sutton Primary School.

You can read the NEW Primary Science Guide here.

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