For situations where students will only be taking one GCSE, we would suggest that based on the experience of the teacher and what motivates the students you may wish to consider that:
- GCSE Chemistry has less specialised vocabulary than GCSE Biology and only marginally more content.
- GCSE Biology has the slightly less assessable content than GCSE Chemistry but it has more specialist vocabulary.
- GCSE Physics while it has more learning outcomes than Biology or Chemistry is more objective and rules based so may suit some students.
In order to fulfil the Department for Education's requirement at Key Stage 4 that schools provide a broad and balanced science education, students could take Entry Level Science alongside one of the separate science GCSEs.
Twenty First Century Science Suite (i.e. our Biology B, Chemistry B, ... science suite) is contextually led so directly relates to everyday application of science which may be more engaging for students.
Gateway Science Suite (our science A suite) is concept based so may be more straightforward for non-specialists to teach.
Both Gateway and Twenty First Century Science share the same set of exemplar practical science activities to cover the mandatory minimum eight practical activities. We have produced a stripped-down set of activities (more accessible to Foundation students) and these may be of some help to you. These are available from the Combined Science webpages. A supplementary practical booklet that shows the extra practical activities required for the separate sciences is also available.
In the past we always had a "kitchen science" controlled assessment and although the DfE required Apparatus and Techniques makes this less easy to apply we have tried to choose activities that can be done in any classroom for our basic practical set - we can give you more advice on this once you have decided on a course.
If a student is entered for Foundation Tier, they can achieve up to a Grade 5 which is equivalent to a top C/lower B Grade in the legacy GCSEs.
Please be aware that the rules on performance measures from the Department for Education have changed. If candidates take only one GCSE Science, this will count towards their Progress 8 score but will not count toward the EBacc APS measure for schools. Candidates need to have taken either all three separate sciences or two separate sciences and computer science or combined science for their science GCSEs to count towards the EBacc APS measure. Teachers will need to talk to their SMT about the best approach to suit the needs of the candidates.
We have produced a factsheet to provide information to help you with these decisions.
See guidance from the Department for Education on accountability measures.