Running the courses
It is possible to run the various Twenty First Century Science courses in the following ways:
- Series - GCSE Science in Year 10 and an Additional Science in Year 11;
- Parallel - starting both GCSE Science and an Additional Science in Year 10 and running them both over two years. The 'Alternating' model is a variant on this.
Running the GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science courses ‘in parallel’ (or ‘alternating’) in Years 10 and 11 may lead to a more varied and better balanced science programme for students than doing the two GCSEs ‘in series’. Schools teaching modules of the Additional science courses in parallel (or alternating) with GCSE Science may be better able to engage students who are intending to do both GCSEs.
Many schools new to Twenty First Century Science choose to teach GCSE Science alone in Year 10. There are obviously reasons for choosing to begin just one new course in the first year. Some schools have since changed their curriculum plan from 'series' to 'parallel' in response to concerns from teachers, parents and students.
Download a fuller discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of these curriculum models with a sample of the alternating approach (a variant on the parallel model).
To cater adequately for Triple Science it is likely that the parallel or alternating model will be better.
In the 2006 course a range of equivalent modules are offered from which teachers or students pick three. 'Life care', 'Materials and performance' and 'Scientific detection' are suitable for the start of the course. At this point the emphasis is likely to be on developing competence in a range of standard procedures, backed up with procedural understanding and with concepts of valid measurement.
In the 2011 course there are eight topics which are all compulsory.
Some centres choose to start the course with an induction programme, providing their students with a 'toolkit' of knowledge, understanding and skills with standard procedures of measurement likely to crop up in all modules.
Internal assessment of skills in the first module might focus on standard procedures. The second module may be used for the work-related report, with a suitability test in the third module.