Science learning journals

Description of the innovation

The innovation was the use of learning journals during Year 6 science lessons throughout the academic year 2018–19. These were used, by the classroom teacher and specialist science teachers, to plan lessons and address misconceptions. Separate professional development (CPD) sessions delivered by a specialist science teacher were also offered to primary teachers focusing on specific Key Stage 2 (KS2) science curriculum areas and beyond.

Summary of the evaluation

Schools involved in the evaluation were eight feeder primary schools to Heathfield Community College. Our previous baseline assessments in science in Year 7 show that the prior attainment of pupils from each school varied. There is no school from which pupils achieve particularly high or low in science. All pupils in Year 6 from participating schools took part in the evaluation (where schools had Year 5 and Year 6 in the same class, only Year 6 data was used).

Four schools were control schools; four schools were intervention schools. The size of Year 6 cohorts for our feeder primaries varies. In order to ensure similar-sized intervention and control groups, the eight primaries were paired up; one small school to one large school. These four pairs of schools were randomly allocated to either the intervention group or control group (two pairs in each group).

Pupils sat two science tests, at the beginning of term 1. These tests were papers A and B from the 2012 KS2 science SATs. This formed a baseline assessment for comparison. Pupils sat the same tests at the end of term 6 and scores were compared to term 1 and between the two groups of schools.


The intervention group made more progress on the test between term 1 and term 6 than the control group. The data suggests that the intervention had little impact on pupil premium (PP) pupils and a small amount on pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) although both groups had relatively small numbers (PP 11&9; SEND 5&8). Due to absence, less data was provided in Term 6 than in Term 1 and so several pupils were not included in the data analysis. This meant in the whole sample 57 pupils were included in the intervention group and 73 in the control group.


The cost of the innovation is £22.63 per pupil (maximum).

Lead school

  • Heathfield Community College, East Sussex

Main findings

  • Effect size for pupil progress = +0.72

Download the protocol document