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

South-East reports

Horizons Community Learning Project, Hastings
Homewood School, Kent

Maplesden Noakes School, Kent

Astor of Hever School, Kent

Report from Horizons Community Learning Project, Hastings

by Jane Ripley

My students and I have really enjoyed the GCSE Science course, because it is so accessible to adult learners. I teach the course at the Horizons Project in Hollington, Hastings. This is an outreach centre for adults who have missed out on the more traditional educational routes, for a variety of reasons. We provide a creche, and staff and students are very supportive of each other.

My group all entered for the Foundation Tier, and in the first module exam in January six students out of seven of the class gained a C, with two of them getting full marks.

These are all adults with children and plenty of life issues to cope with, so I am very proud of them.

Report from Homewood School, Kent

Ian Bennett writes

We've been starting GCSE Science in Year 9, following this with GCSE Science, GCSE Additional Science, GCSE Applied Science, or a different Land & Environment course for about a third of the cohort in Year 10. In Year 11 some students will complete the Separate Sciences GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For 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. It suits the school structure and ethos, and there are so many possibilities in terms of when students take the courses and exams.

We've been having some difficulty with the organisation of exam entries: cohorts of 360 students doing three different things - lots of paperwork. We're also finding that preparation for the 'ideas in context' exam paper is challenging.

Literacy issues: coursework and exams for low ability students who are not low enough for the Entry Level course is a challenge too.

Post-16 some students will go on to AS/A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Applied Science. Others will continue with GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Land & Environment, Additional or Applied Science.

Report from Maplesden Noakes School, Kent

Amanda Waterton writes

This year we've been running GCSE Science and Applied Science in parallel, with some students doing Entry Level.

Next year we'll do Additional Science and GCSE Biology as well.

Students find the GCSE Science and Applied Science courses very accessible, and the ICT materials are good. The courses are relevant to students' everyday lives, and GCSE Science helps them understand what they hear about science in the media. However I've been finding that some lessons have too much content, and I need to pay more attention to Ideas about Science next year.

Some students will be going on to AS Biology and AS Applied Science.

Report from Astor of Hever School, Kent

Alesha Campbell writes

This year we've been doing just the GCSE Science course for most students, with some doing the Entry Level course.

Next year we are planning to start in Year 9 with Separate Sciences for the top set, and GCSE Science plus Additional Science for most of the rest.

Students particularly enjoyed the mobile phone exercise in the 'Radiation and life' module. The resources and iPack are very useful. However we are having some difficulty with getting enough of a budget for new equipment.