From rocket science to rocket salad: new AQA science GCSEs prepare students for all walks of life

Tuesday 9 Jun 2015

New science GCSEs from exam board AQA will focus on the importance of the subject in the workplace and everyday life – in order to make the subject more engaging and encourage students to carry on studying it.

Developed to suit all students, the courses include the three single sciences (physics, biology and chemistry), and a new combined double award that is specifically designed to engage even those students who don't see themselves as scientists.

The new set of courses, being previewed today, will also uncover the hidden science in many jobs and show students how important it is for their future careers. So while the budding nuclear physicist might be interested in the life of a star, the aspiring chef can learn the physics around tension forces using food.

Stella Paes, Head of Science at AQA, said: "Our philosophy is 'science for all'. We have a great tradition in the UK of producing world-renowned scientists, but science isn't just for scientists. Many jobs either require a good knowledge of science, or you can really improve your prospects if you have it.

"We also know that employers struggle to fill roles in STEM areas – recent research by Policy Exchange found that 52% expected to have difficulties. Some students are turned off by science and think it isn't for them, so we want to make it so exciting that more youngsters want to carry on studying it. At primary school they are really engaged, but something happens when they get older and they switch off. We want to re-ignite that spark and switch them back on to this great subject."

Lou Iles, from Weydon School in Surrey, said: "It looks exciting and engaging - changing the way you teach it can really make a difference."

The plans for the new GCSEs, which will be fully unveiled next month and submitted to the regulator Ofqual for accreditation, are available to teach from September 2016.

Entry Level Certificates and STEM Technical Awards are also being developed.