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Returning to Teaching Science....Help and advice please :)

Discussion in 'Science' started by saratron, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. saratron

    saratron New commenter

    Hi all, after an 8 year hiatus (I chose to breed...twice) I am returning to Secondary Science teaching. I am a Biology specialist but have taught all three sciences to KS4 and plenty of A-Level Bio experience.

    I am so keen to return, yet I am also aware I may be hugely out of touch with all number of things. Here are some of the poignant questions keeping me awake at night this week.....

    Could anyone please spare me a few minutes of their time to explain to me how KS3 and KS4 Science is now taught? What are the courses now called, how and when are they examined, what are the major changes in the last few years that I need to be aware of? How are students graded? Is there still coursework?

    Are there many differences between what is examined and taught at independent schools and state schools?

    Are all pupils expected to stay on in education until they are 18 now?

    What are the trendy topics that I need to be aware of in interviews - obviously safeguarding, E&D are crucial but is British Values still asked about? Any other buzz words I need to be familiar with?

    I am very scared that even thought I consider myself to be a good teacher, my long career gap may really hinder me in finding a new job.

    Many thanks for any information you can provide!

    Happy New Year
  2. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Things have changed quite a bit.

    For GCSE:

    No single science is allowed. There is combined science (double science) or separate sciences (triple science).

    No coursework, assessment is 100% on exams but there are a large number of required practicals.

    No modules. All exams are taken at the end of year 11.

    For A level:

    No coursework, 100% exams.

    AS no longer counts towards the A level grade and most schools no longer do AS exams.

    The whole content is examined at the end of year 13.

    I suggest you look at the specifications on exam board websites to see the changes in content.

    I hope that helps.
  3. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    The above refers to state schools. Independent schools can do IGCSE.
  4. particlezoo

    particlezoo New commenter


    As the guys above have said a lot has changed. KS3 no longer has levels and most schools do what they want with it now. Some secondary schools now do 5 year GCSE syllabus starting in y7. The GCSE and A-level specs now have required practicals in where they are assessed in the exam so method questions etc.

    Triple Science is now graded 9-1 where 9 is the best. Combined Science has it's own grading system with starts at 9-9, 9-8, 8-8 etc all the way down to 1-1. 4 is a C in old money but most schools are obsessed with 5 as the new pass mark. Higher papers don't grade below a 4 anymore and foundation papers go up to grade 5.

    All students are expected to do some kind of employment, education or training until they are 18 now.

    Trendy topics as such are still much the same. Science teachers are getting a bit few and far between so as long as you are good in the classroom you will be able to find a job.

    Happy job hunting!
  5. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Why not approach a local school and explain you're a returning teacher and could you come into school for a day or have a chat with the HOD.
    phlogiston likes this.

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