A suite of GCSE science courses developed in partnership with the University of York

Midlands reports

Iqra School, Oxford
Gosford Hill School, Oxfordshire
Wycombe High School, Buckinghamshire

The Marches School, Shropshire

Report from Iqra School, Oxford

Dr P. Chaure writes

We've been starting GCSE Science in Year 9, following this with GCSE Science in Year 10 and GCSE Additional Science in Year 11. Some students have also choosen Separate Science Biology GCSE. For those students taking only one GCSE in science, GCSE Science is the perfect course. It is engaging and relevant, and students can relate to it.
We find the whole package so flexible and interesting to teach and learn. It suits the school structure and Islamic ethos, and we have valuable disucussions and debates. There are so many possibilities in terms of when students take the courses and exams. Examination entries have been easy and managable, due to Interchange.

We managed to complete GCSE Science Case studies in Year 10, Practical Data analysis will be completed along with GCSE Additional Science Coursework in Year 11.

Overall course is great hit in our school, with 81% A*-C results. Pupils are engaged and eager to learn. These are few of the comments I got from my pupils, which makes my teaching worthwhile.

Miss, now I really like Science, I know what I am doing and when ever I see my mum's washing-up cupboard, I can tell her what are those chemicals and what they do.

Nowadays I watch the news and understand what they are saying, I can tell my parents my views about different issues, such as IVF, global warming,cancer research, things like these.

Post-16 some students will go on to AS/A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Additional or Applied Science.

Report from Gosford Hill School, Oxfordshire

Head of Science Helen Reynolds writes ...

I am really, really enjoying teaching the new GCSE science specifications. It has been a breath of fresh air to be teaching my students the skills and content that will be of use to them in their everyday lives.

Throughout the year it has be a joy to see that students do in class in GCSE Science the kinds of topics that they see in the media: climate change, drug testing, Litvinenko. Students can understand that it is probably a useful strategy to approach media stories as just that, stories, until shown to be otherwise by the evidence presented. They show a healthy level of skepticism. They come into school having watched a programme such as the Panorama Wi-Fi with a list of reasons why the views may not be representative of the evidence available. But not just that. They are interested in how you could get data that would enable you to make a judgement.

Skill development

Central to students’ ability to understand that science in the media is not necessarily presented in a helpful (or accurate) way is an understanding of what correlation and cause actually mean, how risk and benefit have a bearing on pretty much every aspect of the technological world in which they live, and how ideas arise from evidence.

I was reminded of the first of these when I pointed out to my class that there was a correlation between the people who always did their homework and high marks on the tests. George promptly pointed out that correlation isn't necessarily cause! Great stuff.

All students can access the debates in class, albeit at different levels, and this makes it very satisfying. I have been delighted to see that my bottom set can get a handle on the mobile phone issue because they understand what these mysterious wave things might be doing to their brain.

Student and teacher interest

More to the point, it has been great fun. We have whole hours where I haven't asked any questions because students are asking them. It has been so interesting to plan these lessons - and it is even interesting marking homework, to see the level of understanding not only of the science but of the wider issues.

When students are still there at the end of the lesson asking questions then something is going right.

Report from Wycombe High School, Buckinghamshire

Jane Wheeler writes

This year we've been doing GCSE Science with our year 10s, and plan that year 11s should do Additional Science next year.

In GCSE Science, the pupils have particularly valued the animations and other interactive material, and the interesting topics in the news. I am constantly impressed by pupils talking with correct terminology and understanding. But I've been adding more practical work to the GCSE Science course.

Post-16 we hope to continue to attract about 150 biologists, 120 chemists, and more than 30 physics.

Report from The Marches School

Report from the Marches School & Technology College, Shropshire, June 2007

Anthony Snowden reports on the GCSE Science course ...

This year we have been running the GCSE Science course and Entry Level. Next year we plan to run the same courses for year 10, and Additional Science and Additional Applied Science for Year 11.

The year 10s have valued the relevance of the GCSE Science course, the opportunity for pupil input, and the transferable skills they've learnt.

Staff have valued the new ideas and found the GCSE Science course stimulating to teach.

We're finding some of the coursework challenging, tweaking activities so as to make them into good data tasks.

About a 30% of our pupils will go on to A-level, and about 50 out of 160 will go on to Science A-levels.

Quote from a parents' evening last term

"You have made life at home more difficult - my daughter now knows how to construct an effective argument!"