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

Reports from pilot centres in Cambridgeshire and Essex

Here are some reports on the first year and subsequent years of the pilot course.

Manningtree High School
Felsted School

Sawyers Hall College

Sawston Village College

Tabor High School

Tabor High School students

Report from a pilot centre in June 2005: Manningtree High School, Essex

Students most like the ‘real life’ ideas and the ICT resources in Science. The big changes from the course we were doing before have been having more discussion of current issues and more updated course content. The ICT support and method of delivery are different too.

The greatest challenge has been the wealth of resources and new approaches to grapple with. Schools do need the ICT technology to help deliver this.

Next year students are mostly going on to do vocational courses such as child care and sports science. A few are doing A-levels, and one is thinking of A-level biology.

It’s been stimulating and rewarding as well as very hard work.

Chris Hardy


Report from a pilot centre in June 2004: Felsted School, Essex

In Core Science, Earth Science (now to be module P1) was done properly, with better reasons given and a better story than there is when it is done in geography.

In General Science, Modelling the behaviour of electric circuits was a more friendly approach to electricity than usual.

The big changes from the course we were doing are the case study, and the formal integration of ideas-about-science into teaching.

The greatest challenge has been managing the case study.

Jules Hoult

[In the Case Study, students research and present a report on an issue related to science. The presentation could be written, powerpoint, or spoken.]

Report from Sawyers Hall College, Essex (June 2004)

What students liked most about Core Science were the ideas-about-science and topics such as cloning, dinosaurs, and GM food

The big change from the course we were doing is that it's more ideas-based.

The greatest challenge has been teaching in a more opinion-based approach.

Murray Macdonald

Report from a pilot centre: Sawston Village College, Cambridgeshire, June 2005

We’re doing fine. We started Core Science with 40 average ability students, and they did better than they would otherwise have done. This year 160 out of 210 Year 11 students are doing Twenty First Century Science. In June 2005 we’ve got all the Year 10s doing Core Science, and there are four Applied Science sets and two doing General (that is, Additional) Science. Next year we may have more doing General Science.

The greatest challenge has been getting used to different teaching styles, and we’ve had to find more practicals for Core Science. We had trouble with timing in Applied Science, but this should be better next year. We also had problems with implementation of the IT, but this is now sorted. It would be good if different centres could share resources.

Terry Saunders

Report from a pilot centre in June 2005:
Tabor Science College, Essex

What students liked most about Twenty First Century Science is the reality and relevance of the science, and the different styles of delivery from staff. We are very happy to have embarked on this pilot course, and all the practising teachers’ views have been taken into account when developing it.

The resources complement the scheme very well.

The big changes from the course we were doing before have been the ideas about science aspect of the course, and much more emphasis on facilitation rather than didactic delivery. We’ve had to change our views – there does not always have to be a ‘right’ answer.

The Applied Science coursework has been a challenge, but this is being addressed for September 2006.

Students who have completed Twenty First Century Science are going on to further education, and in many cases A-level sciences of some description.

Elaine Stroud

Report from students at a pilot centre: Tabor High School, Essex

Report on the pilot course: Tabor High School pupils write ...

"I like the way it is set out, the way it explains things and video clips but I dislike the powerpoint presentations and the lack of practicals in the Core modules [ed's note: we are working on this]. I also don't like the fact there are lots of little books rather than one which would be easier to look after [ed's note: we are thinking about this too! there are varying opinions]. I also like the way that you are tested on modules just after you have learnt them.

"Good variety of things to learn. Easy to revise from for module tests. Split into sections so the books are easy to read.

"I think that the twenty-first century science is good. It explains things better than some programs and goes into it in more detail. And it puts it into a language that is easier to understand and get first time round.

"There is good information on the school intranet site and I have learnt a lot in twenty first century science.

"Good idea to do more coursework then exams - less stress. The Applied Science 'Scientific detection' course is quite good, different from what usually learnt in science, though the different types of coursework are a bit confusing.

"It is a good course because it is about science that happens now. And for each topic we get a new text which is good.

"This course is good as it is spread out into modules which you can revise for individually, so you don't have the stress of a big exam at the end.

compiled by Elaine Stroud