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

North-West reports

Alder Community High School, Tameside
Sale High School, Cheshire

Two Trees Sports College, Manchester

Report from Alder Community High School, Tameside

Alison Knowles writes ...

This year we've being doing GCSE Science with the Year 10s. Next year's Year 10s will also do GCSE Science while Year 11 do Additional Science or Applied Science

Students really enjoy feeling that they can make valuable contributions to lessons, and have an opinion about topical issues.

Our of a cohort of about 200 students, about 60 students have selected Additional Science for Year 11 because they hope to study science subjects at A-level.

Managing the courses

The greatest challenge has been running the new Year 10 course alongside the AQA Double Award course for Year 11.

We are fortunate to have been given support and time to plan, though we could always do with more! As a school we have been extremely fortunate to have been given support by our Senior Management Team. We initially presented our aims for the C21 courses to Governors in February 2006. From this we secured significant additional funding, and an understanding that to deliver these courses effectively we needed time as a department.

In total, to date, we have had 4 days off timetable as a whole department to plan for the GCSE Science course. In addition we have had 2 days with the Head of English to plan a strategy for delivery of the case study (writing for a purpose and using connectives). All members of the department have attended 2-day residential training sessions. Even with all this support and time we've found this first year really challenging.

We are tired but positive!

Report from Sale High School, Cheshire

Rob Jones writes ...

GCSE Science gives students the opportunity to recognise and discuss current scientific issues, and students are beginning to recognise the relevance of science to their lives.

But at times it has felt as if we were teaching maths. It's also been a challenge getting students to think for themselves as about science, and form their own opinions for the Case Study.

After a course run by the C21 team I'm feeling positive and excited about teaching Applied Science next year.

In October 2006 many staff were thinking 'What have we done?', but by January 2007 we were confident with the methodology and much more positive.

Report from Two Trees Sports College, Manchester

Howard Gee writes ...

Students are enjoying the relevance of topics in GCSE Science, though we are finding the discussion work, Case Study, and Ideas in Context exam challenging.

Next year we'll be doing Additional Science and Applied Science as well.

Those students doing Entry Level find the new course more relevant and up-to-date than what we were doing before. They enjoy the activities, and we are managing to engage some our least motivated students. They are competing for points in tests!