Our new specification for combined science provision, the Gateway Science Suite, identifies the activities and experiences learners will come across in everyday life, and links these to scientific ideas and their implications for society. It provides the opportunity to acquire the scientific skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for life as a citizen.
Julia Mason, Leader of Science, Teign School shares her experiences below.
Based in Kingsteignton, a small town to the north of Newton Abbot in Devon, Teign School is part of Education South West. There are approximately 1200 students on the roll at Teign School aged from 11-18, and the Science Department is one of the highest performing departments both within the school and locally. The school has received a national award for its work in developing the Rural Dimension through its Science Specialism.
The school has been using the OCR Gateway Science Suite since it was introduced in 2006.
Our students have consistently achieved good results with OCR Gateway Science courses…” Julia Mason, Leader of Science, Teign School
Julia Mason, the Leader of Science at the school, said, "Each time there is a new specification it creates challenges and most often this relates to the lack of time given to prepare for the changes. On this occasion this has been particularly difficult as accreditation was so late."
The school decided to continue to teach OCR Gateway Science courses when the new specifications were introduced. There were a number of reasons for this: Julia said, “Our students have consistently achieved good results with OCR Gateway Science courses, we have received excellent support from OCR and other local schools through the Cluster Network and we have found the specification clear on what we should be teaching.
Julia also added, “We believe the new specifications and assessment model will allow us to make decisions on exam entry later in the course hence keeping options open for more students to take Triple Science.”
In 2016, Year 11 cohort student entries at Teign School were 200 GCSE Science, 170 GCSE Additional Science, 60 GCSE Further Additional Science and 31 GCSE Environmental and Land-Based Science.
Julia commented,“We have stayed with OCR specifications because historically our experience has been good and we have built up contacts with the Science Team who provide the support we need.”
The school has found that the Practical Activity Groups for the Gateway Science Suite feature many experiments they include in their teaching already. Julia said, "The provision of three different styles of activity, bench chemistry, micro-scale chemistry and kitchen chemistry, is an excellent way of making these activities accessible in a range of situations.”
They like the fact that there is a wide range of resources and support materials available on our website and, as the KS4 Programme of Study means the content of all specifications is very similar, a range of publishers’ resources can be used. They’ve chosen to use the OUP text books in school and provide online access for students via Kerboodle.
They have found the curriculum planning documents, which include suggested teaching hours and an outline scheme of work, particularly useful as the units vary significantly in length. Julia said,“These documents form the basis of our long term planning. We are also intending to use the end of topic quizzes and end of Year 10 test to assess student progress. Useful materials are continually being added to the website.”
For other centres considering offering OCR's GCSE Sciences, Julia’s advice, to help get started, is to “contact other schools through the Cluster Network to find out more about the courses and to share ideas and resources.”
If you would like further information on how our Gateway Science Suite can help your learners, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Twitter @OCR_Science or call our Customer Contact Centre on 01223 553998.