In 1989, the progressive introduction of a National Curriculum of subjects to all maintained schools in England and Wales brought compulsory science education into the primary sectors of these two countries for the first time. Such was its considered importance, science was placed alongside English and mathematics in what became known simply as ‘the core’. As a result of its elevated profile and an immense amount of hard work and effort by teachers and other professionals responding to requirements, science education provision appeared to benefit enormously. Successive revisions of the national primary science curriculum have brought about many changes, however, each impacting on the primary profession individually in different ways and as a whole. Findings from a recently completed ‘preparation to teach’ survey across several geographically distinct regions of England are presented here which contribute to our ongoing understanding of the overall status of science teaching within primary schools. Twenty years on from when the national primary science curriculum was first introduced and independently evaluated, attention is drawn to the continued progress being made at the ‘chalk‐face’ and to those factors widely perceived as continuing to inhibit delivery.