Improving Primary Science

Read the Education Endowment Foundation’s new Guidance Report: Improving Primary Science, which aims to support primary school science teachers and leaders in reflecting on and refining their science teaching provision.

New TDTScience video

Have a look at our new video, which summaries the TDTScience background, evidence and approach to primary science teaching.

What is TDTScience?

TDTScience is an inclusive approach to teaching primary science which has been shown to significantly improve children’s attainment and attitudes. It is based on over 20 years of educational research and pulls together a range of established good practice. It is one of the sources for the Education Endowment Foundation’s 2023 Improving Primary Science guidance report.

TDTScience focuses on the development of cognitively challenging (THINKING), practical (DOING) and interactive (TALKING) primary science lessons. Teachers enable all children to think and talk about scientific concepts through dedicated discussion times, they provide all children with a wide range of opportunities for creative investigations and problem-solving for knowledge and skills progression and they focus children’s recording (effective assessment) to prioritise time for practical science.

An interactive 4-day TDTScience training programme has been created for primary teachers to enable them to successfully implement TDTScience in their classrooms, developing creative and challenging science lessons that encourage children to use higher-order thinking skills. This course is an Education Endowment Foundation ‘promising project’.

TDTScience was co-developed by Science Oxford, who exemplify the approach throughout their programme for primary schools and young people.

Why TDTScience?

The TDTScience approach was based on original research funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust and carried out by Oxford Brookes University (OBU) in 2002-04. OBU co-developed the TDTScience training programme with Science Oxford thanks to funding from the Education Endowment Foundation for a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) of the training in 2013-15, with the research being carried out by the University of York. You can read more about the research journey of TDTScience here

The TDTScience 4-day course is interactive, practical and enjoyable and provides strategies and activity ideas that can translate immediately into classroom practice without extra expense or excessive planning. The days are spread across an academic year with gap tasks in between. The approach is suitable across the primary age-range and helps teachers to develop their existing good practice.

Our results

We've delivered 50 TDTScience courses.

For 23 different regions of England.

In 653 schools.

Supporting 1271 teachers.

Reaching 38400 pupils.

Pupils are more able to verbalise in a scientific way. They have retained more knowledge and applied skills more efficiently as they have progressed. Their acceptance of others’ ideas and the ability to change their own, as they listen to one another, especially during the Bright Ideas Time is having an impact in all areas.” 

“Now, when children see science on the daily timetable, there’s an audible buzz! The children love the experiments we have been carrying out and the fact that they are far more in control of the investigating with less emphasis on the written recording of all the aspects of the investigation.”

“I have thought more carefully about the format of each lesson. I have started to use a Higher Order Thinking activity to start every session which has been very popular with the children. I have been making sure that I only have a small amount of new information in each lesson and that we cover it in different ways … I try to teach less but in more depth. I feel much more comfortable in my science lessons and I’ve tried to use the various ways suggested to teach scientific enquiry skills; something I struggled with previously.”