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Semi Specialist Science (Primary)

Module titleSemi Specialist Science (Primary)
Module codeESCM004
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Miss Harriet White (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module meets the central Government requirements in relation to the National Curriculum for Science, The Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status 2012, Ofsted, and other externally imposed requirements. The module will develop the knowledge, skills and confidence for you to teach science in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and to understand how it is taught in related phases. There is an emphasis within the module for peer support and developing you as a future subject leader in science. The module covers science in wider contexts beyond the classroom and it is hoped that you develop a longer-term view on effective teaching of science grounded in theory and practice. To take this module, you will normally need to possess an upper second class or first class Honours degree in a science or science related subjects. Good ‘A’ levels and a B profile in Mathematics, English and Science at GCSE.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module will focus on extending the breadth and depth of your understanding of science education in several directions, in order that you can develop children’s science learning in a number of ways. Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • gaining a deeper understanding of approaches to science in order to understand its place in the curriculum and ways in which it can relate to other subjects.
  • focusing on leadership in science to enable you to evaluate and select materials, organise the subject within a school, and support your colleagues’ science teaching.
  • understanding the science dimension of education for sustainable development and how it is best incorporated within other curricular innovations.
  • being able to handle controversial issues with knowledge, tact and confidence.  
  • being able to teach science creatively and being aware of gender, inclusion and social and cultural backgrounds.
  • to understand the contexts and strategies of informal learning and be able to incorporate this knowledge into your practice as a teacher.
  • to nurture your development as a reflective and autonomous professional practitioner who is able to identify strengths and areas for development in your subject knowledge and pedagogy, through evaluating current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and curriculum theory.
  •  to help you to meet the Standards required for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (2012) and thus be in a very good position to gain employment as a primary teacher able to specialise in science teaching.

Each of these strands is developed throughout the module. Peer learning and teaching is a feature of the module in terms of both sharing strengths within the science specialist group and by providing support for fellow non-specialist students.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. identify and critically evaluate educational concepts and issues related to the teaching of Science ; and engage in critical debate about current educational issues in the teaching of science drawing on evidence from theory, research and practice;
  • 2. recognise pupils’ learning needs in Science and interpret these learning needs in order to plan, teach, assess and evaluate lessons and schemes of work;
  • 3. demonstrate confident academic and pedagogic subject knowledge to teach Science in Key Stage 1 and 2;
  • 4. demonstrate secure understanding of the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum for Science;
  • 5. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the role of informal learning in children’s education development in science;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. critically evaluate the relevance of educational theory to practice;
  • 7. synthesise relevant educational literature in support of an argument;
  • 8. use appropriate technologies for data handling and writing in education;
  • 9. present data and findings in a form appropriate in educational studies;
  • 10. use research data in support of an argument in education;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. manage your own learning development;
  • 12. learn effectively and be aware of your own learning strategies;
  • 13. express ideas and opinions, with confidence and clarity, to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes;
  • 14. work productively in different kinds of teams (formal, informal, project based, committee based etc); and
  • 15. think creatively about the main features of a given problem and develop strategies for its resolution.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module introduces you to current thinking in the teaching of Science and develops students’ pedagogic and academic subject knowledge in the wider field of Science education.  Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • education theories related to good science learning and teaching;
  • practical experimentation and planning for School based learning;
  • the selection and use of science published material; using current or controversial issues in science teaching, education for sustainable development;
  • Forest school education for science teaching and also for cross-curricular links to other subjects;
  • ‘Earth Walk’ and ‘Flow Learning’ techniques;
  • the use of ICT to enhance scientific understanding, knowledge of the Early Years and KS3 curriculum


On the Primary PGCE, you will learn and reflect on the skills and knowledge required by the programme’s credit-bearing and non-credit bearing modules throughout the year. You will need to think about the modules in relation to each other. To facilitate this, the learning and teaching activities and guided independent study described below are scheduled to occur across all three terms both in the context of your university taught course and in the context of your 24 weeks of applied professional experience in schools.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities33Science Pedagogy & theory workshops; Peer Teaching and Subject Support Groups
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities8Seminar days
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities1Tutorials with academic tutor
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities9Pathway activities
Guided independent study40Reading set texts
Guided Independent Study50Wider reading
Guided Independent study22Web-based activities
Guided Independent Study35Seminar/workshop prep/follow up
Guided Independent Study12Peer-teaching activity preparation
Guided Independent Study30Learning support group preparation
Guided Independent Study60Coursework assignment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reading task: Research paper critique1,000 words1, 10, 12-13Verbal (group tutorial)
Written assignment: Literature review Using research, policy & theory to explore a question1,000 words1-2, 6-12, 14Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment: Research Based Enquiry1004,000 words1-12, 14Written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment: Research Based EnquiryWritten assignment: Research Based Enquiry (4,000 words)1-12, 14See notes below.

Re-assessment notes

If a submitted assignment is deemed to be a Fail, you will be given feedback outlining what needs to be done to bring the assignment to a pass standard and one opportunity for resubmission will be allowed.


You can choose to resubmit a failed assignment ‘in year’ (i.e. before the final PGCE Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committee (APAC) in July). The resubmission would normally be made 4 weeks after receiving feedback on the first submission. Alternatively, you may opt to go to the PGCE Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committee with the fail mark. You will then be referred to the College level Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committee who will confirm the conditions for resubmission of the work. Normally the resubmission should be by 1st September. You should discuss these options with your tutor.


Note: if you choose the second option, the award of PGCE will be delayed until the Assessment, Progression and Awarding

Committee meeting following any successful resubmission (normally held in December).


If an assignment is deemed to be a Fail, the mark obtained on resubmission will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bourn, D., Hunt, F., Blum, N., and Lawson, H. (2016) Primary education for global learning and sustainability. York: Cambridge Primary Review Trust. *


Byrne, J., Christodoulou, A., Sharp, J. (2014) Primary Science Audit and Test (Fourth Edition), Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.

Cutting, R. and Kelly, O. (2015) Creative Teaching in Primary Science : London: Sage


Cross, A. & Bowden, A. (2009) Essential Primary Science, Maidenhead: Open University Press.


 Dunn, M. & Peacock, A. (eds. 2012) Primary Science: A Guide to Teaching Practice , London: Sage Publishers.


Harlen, W. & Qualter, A. (2014) The Teaching of Science in Primary Schools (Sixth Edition ), London: David Fulton Publishers.


Hollins, M. & Whitby, V. (2001) Progression in Primary Science (Second Edition), London: David Fulton Publishers.


Jeffs,T. & Smith M.K. (2005) Informal Education- conversation, democracy and learning, Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press.


Lakin,L. (2013) Developing Independent Learning in Science, Maidenhead: Open University Press


Littledyke, M., Ross, K. and Lakin, L. (2000) Science Knowledge and Environment, London: David Fulton.


Louv, R. (2009)  Last Child in the Woods, London: Atlantic Books.


Peacock, A. (2004) Eco-literacy for Primary Schools, Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.


Peacock, G., Sharp,J., Johnsey, R., Wright, D. (2009) Primary Science, Knowledge and Understanding, Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.


Shallcross, T., Robinson, J., Pace, P., Wals, A. (Eds) (2006) Creating Sustainable Environments in our Schools. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.


Sharp, J. (ed. 2004) Developing Primary Science, Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.


Waite, S. (ed.) (2011) Children Learning Outside the Classroom : from Birth to Eleven. London: Sage.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources: see PGCE Primary Science page on ELE:  

 *CPRT website:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

PGCE Primary Science.

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

Educational & Professional Studies module (EPSM000)

Primary Professional Learning module (EDUM034)

Primary Curriculum Studies module (EDUM033)

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date