Report summary

Is primary science teaching improving?

We've interviewed teachers and science leaders from more than 700 schools to assess the state of UK primary science education. And we've looked at whether Explorify(opens in a new tab) – a free resource of engaging, creative science activities – has supported better primary science teaching.

What’s inside

  • facts and figures on UK primary science education between 2017 and 2020 – from how science is taught, to what educators think of it

Who this is for

  • UK policy makers
  • UK primary school educators, including head teachers, science leaders and class teachers
  • anyone interested in primary science education in the UK  

Key findings 

The state of primary science education

There has been some positive change in how primary science is led and taught across the UK since we published our State of the nation report in 2017.

  • 61% of science leaders have a meaningful amount of time set aside by their school to lead science, in addition to planning their own lessons. 
  • 57% of science leaders have had external continuing professional development for a day or more in the past year to help them lead or develop science in their school.
  • 9% of teachers have no support in school for science (30% in 2017).
  • 53% of classes in year groups 1-6 are taught science for two hours or more a week (45% in 2017).

The impact of Explorify

  • 86% of UK primary schools are registered to use Explorify. 
  • 93% of teachers ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that Explorify has led to them encouraging pupils to take part in class discussions about science more frequently.
  • 80% of teachers ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that Explorify has increased pupils’ science knowledge.
  • When asked about pupil engagement, most interviewees noted an improvement in their special educational needs and disability (SEND), English as an additional language (EAL), and less-confident pupils.
  • 37% of teachers ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that using Explorify has led them to search for, or undertake, professional development to teach science.

Downloads 

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